Delivery Tracking and Customer Communication are Key to Keeping Your Competitive Edge
August 20, 2020
As a consumer, you want to know when your package is going to arrive. But have you considered how crucial delivery status communication is in your own business?
Most big consumer-facing brands have upped their game in terms of customer communication in recent years. Amazon sends customers emails with direct links to delivery tracking sites, and you can track your Uber car’s progress toward you in real time. In late 2019, we saw the introduction of a new Google package-tracking feature that enables shipping companies to show people the status of their packages right in the search results, without having to hunt around individual sites.
That means what used to be called “Amazonization” is spreading well beyond Amazon, and beyond speed-of-delivery expectations. Retailers are under greater pressure than ever to do better in terms of delivery tracking and customer communication.
In B2B, the challenge is even greater – far too many companies still offer only a rough ETA without any updates. That’s not cutting it for B2B customers, whose executives wonder why they can’t get the same level of communication that they experience with their personal purchases. This deficit is one of the main reasons a customer experience futurist observed in a recent Forbes article that B2B companies have an average customer experience score of less than 50%, far lower than the 65%–85% for B2C companies.
No matter whether you are a B2C or B2B operation, customer communication during delivery is set to be one of the key competitive differentiators in the future. It’s time to get on board or be left behind.
Time for a reality check
Even if you do already offer some form of delivery visibility to your customers, the trend exemplified by the Google announcement should prompt you to take another look to ensure you’re making it easy for them to access the most useful information available. That means deploying advanced delivery tracking software.
From our experience, customers want three things when it comes to delivery tracking:
- Accurate ETA information
- Timely updates
- Easy access to the data (so they don’t have to turn to Google!)
It’s crucial to have the right technology to achieve this, such as an advanced electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) solution that includes smart, intuitive customer communication functionality out of the box. Using an ePOD system to manage your customer delivery communications ensures that ETA updates are accurate because they are based on real-time data from the field.
With this technology, you can configure a variety of automatic communications via SMS or email to suit the needs of your operation and, vitally, your customer. For example, you can send out a message the evening before delivery, to give an initial delivery window for the next day. Then, on the day of delivery, you can send an updated ETA and even a message to let the customer know when the driver is 10, 20 or 30 minutes away.
The best systems are highly configurable, leaving you to decide what the text or email says, what information you choose to share and when. Most importantly, after the initial setup, your staff do not have to do a thing. The system will automatically send out the relevant communications at the right times.
Another great feature of more sophisticated ePOD systems is the ability to send customers a delivery tracking link, allowing them to monitor where the driver is in real time. This can be linked from your own branded web page or from one of the communications described above to ensure your customer can easily access it.
When the customer clicks on the link, they will see a map with two icons — one at the customer’s delivery location and one for the delivery vehicle. A range of information can also be displayed, such as the driver’s name, the specific ETA or window and the number of deliveries the driver needs to complete before this delivery.
All messages, whether by text or email, can be personalized, including the sender’s name, so that it looks like it comes from your company (not the ePOD system provider). The delivery tracking link can also be branded to suit your company.
Delivery tracking is a must-have, not a nice-to-have
With an electronic proof of delivery system such as Aptean’s Paragon fleXipod, both you and your customers benefit in other ways from accurate, timely and frequent communication. Your customer can better manage staffing and stock levels due to precise delivery estimates. Meanwhile, you receive fewer inbound calls and increase first-time delivery success. It really is a win-win.
There’s no question there’s an appetite for this functionality. Analyzing a single month’s delivery data on our fleXipod system, we found that, of deliveries where a tracking link was sent to the customer, 53% of customers tracked the driver and made an average of eight views to the tracking site, per delivery.
It’s only a matter of time before all customers receiving deliveries express the same demands as those in a purely B2C space. A recent report by Convey, a supply chain visibility company, cites communication as one of three essential “Cs” in improving the customer experience. In fact, 93% of shoppers surveyed reported that they want to stay informed and receive proactive updates from retailers about their shipments. The report concludes that detailed tracking and exception notifications should now be added to the list of delivery table stakes — right up there with free and fast shipping options. So delivery tracking and customer communication is not just a nice-to-have anymore — it’s a must have.
The point of these customer communication capabilities in fleXipod is to automate the entire function so your office-based staff don’t have to spend the time (and money) dealing with incoming “where’s my delivery?” inquiries and chasing down drivers in the field. Providing proactive communication about impending deliveries really helps increase customer confidence in a business and its brand. You save money and greatly enhance customer satisfaction, driving sales and beating the competition.
Contact Aptean Paragon today to find out more about how you can delight your customers and gain a competitive edge with advanced delivery tracking software.