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Why your customers really are the power behind your business

Whether we like it or not, Covid has changed the way people shop. Today’s consumer has been thrown into the digital age not by choice but by necessity. With the limited access to retail stores due to “on again, off again” lockdown measures, consumers have been forced to adopt new shopping habits and source products online. 

Where previously customers would move through stores collecting the items desired and walk out again items in hand, they now sit around and wait for their order to be delivered. Instead of ‘buy now, pay later’ the customer experience of online shopping is better described from their viewpoint as pay now and receive later! This forced practice of delayed gratification has quite possibly become the cause of much angst among many inexperienced online shoppers. The recent 13th Annual Zebra Shopper Vision Study found that the number one customer delivery preference when shopping online was for an at home delivery of their order. As a result, this leads to one of the most commonly asked questions from online customers which is “Where is my delivery?”.

When you consider consumer behaviour, it takes trust and experience to become comfortable with shopping online especially if you are new to it. After all you do not necessarily have contact with any real person during the shopping and ordering process and may not have ordered from this company online before. There is a sense of risk involved in that. There is no relationship established which can make the customer somewhat suspicious. When running an online store, it is so important to keep the customer informed and connected at every touch point of the process in order to maximise the customer experience and ultimately build trust and repeat business. This requires not only confirmation of their order but also full disclosure of the delivery timeline. This in itself can be incredibly difficult to manage and communicate if you are not operating an innovative and intelligent delivery management software. 

So here is a question for you…’Can you truly offer an exceptional customer experience if you are not running an effective and efficient delivery management software system?’ I would say that it is rather unlikely but let’s take a further look.

Running a manual or a spreadsheet delivery data system can be time consuming, arduous and susceptible to human error. However, working with a proven effective algorithm as part of a delivery management software can ensure up to 100-per-cent accuracy with fully integrated and automated efficient route planning at your fingertips saving both time and money.

Sharing delivery information with the customer is also time consuming when you update one by one and send each email manually throughout the delivery process. The issue with relying on this process to be managed by staff, leaves it open to sharing incorrect information or worse still sending delivery information to the customer after the order has been received. When working with a proven and effective DMS, the customer updates are immediate, in real time and there is no delay in the sharing of all movements of their order at every touch point from dispatch to delivery.

What about if you outsource your deliveries to a third party carrier? How much control can you really have over the customer experience if you have no control over the delivery process? Now this is a really tricky one and is a sore point for customers who want real time information regarding their deliveries but cannot get real time answers. With staff chasing freight carriers for updates or constantly refreshing a tracking link that does not update more than once daily, this can be incredibly frustrating for the customer. It can feel like their delivery is “out there” but there is absolutely no certainty of its exact whereabouts at any one time. 

Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, they are not interested in how a company chooses to manage their deliveries, they are only concerned about the whereabouts of their order. Sending the enquiry to your third party carrier, or holding them responsible for the lack of information no longer goes down well with customers. If you are offering online shopping, you need to be on top of the full experience and offer full transparency on all delivery touch points in real time to your customers. 

Another really challenging spanner in the works is the relatively new requirement for contactless delivery. Without the right software integration, how does one maintain accurate data as proof of delivery without a customer signature and where is this information stored for easy access for all in the future? Requiring an image of the delivery is great, having the driver take that image is also possible but where then does that image go? How do you find it and then send it to the correct customer in the shortest time possible? Manually, this just seems impossible. Considering that most large freight carriers still operate on manual POD’s, how do they cope with keeping a record of these new digital requirements and then ensure the information is shared with both the customer and your organisation too?

Ultimately you may be asking why is all this important, isn’t it more about the product than the last mile delivery experience? Here is another way to think about it, if everyone else is not focusing on the customer experience and you are, how much more of a competitive advantage would that bring to your business? Just take a look at Amazon who has mastered the fast delivery and order tracking which is available to access via logging in from the customer’s own account on their website. Not to mention the speed of response and delivery transparency that makes it so easy to deal with them and build trust. This can be partly attributed to why their business has skyrocketed in profits, even before the pandemic began. 

Interestingly what was also discovered in the recent survey by Zebra Shopper Vision was that customer satisfaction has dipped for both in-store and online shopping experiences year on year. Customers are overall no longer so happy with the delivery timing and delivery cost. This presents a golden opportunity for those businesses who have the ability to pivot and seize the opportunities this presents. 

In today’s retail market customer service ratings are everything and customers are becoming increasingly aware of the power they have to make or break businesses with their online ratings. You see the marketing engine of organisations continues to lose credibility because everyone always says that “their product is the best”, so now independent customer reviews are the only reviews people seem to really trust.

With this in mind, can you afford not to give your customers what they want? Especially if they have the power to not only take their business elsewhere but to give you negative ratings which have the potential to lose new business and place doubt in the mind of existing customers? The truth is, the customer was always king but they did not have a way to voice their views publicly until now. If you are not exceeding your customers expectations, how long do you think you will be able to maintain your business growth?

So how do you maximise your companies ability to not only meet but exceed customer expectations in this competitive digital world? You need a delivery management system that is so intuitive that it not only functions with simplicity and efficiency, it is ready and waiting to scale your business with you by already planning for all avenues of growth be it full delivery transparency with your customers in real time, effectively managing your own fleet and outsourcing additional deliveries to the marketplace to scale without risk or enabling full delivery transparency and real time data from your third party carriers. Can such a delivery management system with all this capability really exist? Yes it does and it all starts and ends with SubTrux.

SubTrux is a revolutionary real-time Delivery Management System that gives businesses the ability to take control of their complex delivery needs, create a genuine competitive advantage and realise their full potential. If you are looking for a better delivery experience for you and your customers, simply request for a free trial: https://bit.ly/3dgHLDP