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In a recent study, Gartner found that the true cost of last mile delivery accounts for an average of 53% of the total cost of shipping and 41% of the total supply chain cost. In addition, the “where-is-my-order” (WISMO) accounts for 50% of customer service inquiries and 67% of customers indicated that if a delivery is delayed and they are not notified they are much less likely to do any repeat business.
The Amazon effect has fundamentally changed the face of last mile delivery. Cutting costs by not offering true, real-time, customer-facing delivery updates and tracking is essential. If you manage your own delivery with an owned fleet or use a commercial carrier, you simply have to offer this as a service.
Create a personalized and branded delivery tracking page that offers your customer the ability to click a web page rather than make that “WISMO” call.
Use carrier APIs to consolidate all the delivery status updates to the customer. It’s almost a certainty that you deliver your orders using more than one mode of last mile delivery transport, but that should not matter to your customers. All modern carriers (at least the ones you should be dealing with) offer simple and standard APIs to track orders and update delivery status. Connect to them all and feed the data into your tracking page (see point 1).
Proactively send SMS or emails to update your customers on delivery status — especially if there is any delay. Missing a last mile delivery is a fact of life, but not telling your customer about it when you know you will miss it is a lost opportunity to save the situation.
Communicating last mile delivery tracking status updates and offering a tracking page is only half the battle (points 1 and 3). You should offer a very simple way for your customer to connect back to you if a problem arises at their end. Having a simple ‘I will not be in’ or ‘can we reschedule’ button in your communication with the customer means that you can reschedule the delivery rather than make an expensive trip. Secondly, offering a feedback button ensures that you are constantly remaining in touch with your customer and that can help you solve systemic problems with your delivery network.
Finally, and most importantly, give your customer the opportunity to book a delivery time that suits them. This might be at an additional charge, but it is the area that I am seeing the most growth in recently. Customers taking control over their last mile delivery can also give you the opportunity to promote delivery times when you have a vehicle in the area as a ‘green’ option for the customer.
Consider these five keys to last mile delivery tracking as a path to satisfied customers and operational greatness. Truly competing in last mile delivery today means so much more than just getting a package from point A to point B. It can be done. But first, it’s essential to recognize and understand the industry is in a new playing field. Leaders need to explore and invest in timely, agile and relevant solutions to meet customer expectations.