‘5-star delivery' as part of the customer experience
Simacan helps its clients to realise a '5 star delivery experience'. That is the contribution we can make to the supply chain with our platform. After all, it is common knowledge by now that recipients (consumers and businesses) are making more and more demands on delivery.
By René Bruijne – Director Business Strategy Europe & Innovation at Simacan
We listen carefully to your customers, so you know what is important to them at checkout. Low or no additional costs, punctual and agreed delivery, neat (durable) packaging and a friendly, attentive delivery person. Many logistics service providers see this and intend to take the customer experience to a higher level for their client (often a webshop). Unfortunately, however, this vision is still lacking among many shippers of A-brands.
Investment in marketing and customer experience
There are retailers who still see low transport costs as a saving and do not think about how the customer experiences this way of delivery. For me, it is incomprehensible that A-brands make high investments in marketing and the "virtual" product experience, but invest little in the delivery of their goods. They often look for a carrier with the lowest price, but how and when the order is delivered is actually irrelevant.
In practice, I see that drivers, who have to deliver A-brand goods, have little flexibility to pay more or less attention (time) to the delivery moment. And this while the delivery moment has now become the most important customer contact moment and with smart algorithms we can predict how long the delivery moment might take based on the customer profile, the type of order and the time of delivery. This flexibility will result in more attention for the customer at the time of delivery. This should appeal to A-brands, given that they also invest heavily in marketing and/or customer experience of their brand. As the flexibility of the deliverer increases, this will result in more attention for the customer at the time of delivery, which in turn will be marketing-wise beneficial for the A-brands that deliver the goods. A point of attention for the marketing departments of the large A-brands that have a lot of activity in e-commerce!
Customer experience during order delivery
A customer who places an expensive order with an A-brand has expectations about how he or she will receive it. That is not so strange, is it? A bit of service should be a matter of course. Unfortunately, reality is often different.
Ask your friends about their experiences of a delivery and we will all hear the same stories: the customer is poorly or not at all informed about the exact time of delivery; there is no possibility to adjust delivery times or destination; the parcel is delivered by hurried delivery staff; the retailer uses poor or unsustainable packaging; there are horrendous return processes; and so on.
Customer contact moment at delivery
Previously, the aforementioned A-brands regularly trained their shop personnel in the area of customer experience. The customer contact moment was extremely important and shops invested in the transformation to an 'experience centre', including snacks and drinks. Everything to make the contact for the customer an unforgettable experience. Now, delivery is the most common and not to be underestimated customer contact moment and all studies show that recipients experience the delivery of their order as 'one of the most important elements' when ordering online.
The delivery person has become the face of the A-brands. Therefore, it is high time to train these drivers to become ambassadors of the selling party. And, most importantly, give them the time and space they need for a quality delivery! No more standardised '2-minute deliveries', but deliveries based on the needs of the customer.
When I talk about the customer experience and the importance of a quality delivery, I often hear counter-arguments like: this cannot be planned, it increases costs, the customer is not prepared to pay for it and more outdated comments. Of course, this service increases costs if you look only at the out-of-pocket flows and the customer who is not prepared to pay extra. On the other hand, if the delivery time is bad, customers switch to another online retailer that does "everything for a smile" and are prepared to pay a little more for this.
Trip planning with the help of data from Simacan
The 'cannot be planned' argument is out of date as far as I am concerned. Based on historical data of the delivery address, in combination with the product to be delivered and current data (traffic information, weather conditions, road works, etc.), we are perfectly capable of making a 'spot on' prediction of the exact time of delivery. What's more, using the data in the Simacan Control Tower, you have the possibility to flawlessly plan and adjust your transports 'pre-trip', 'on-trip' and 'post-trip', aimed at an ultimate customer experience: our '5 star delivery experience'.
Should unexpected events occur during the journey to your customer, for example a flat tyre, honest and transparent communication with the customer and offering good alternatives is more of a sales opportunity than a disruption in the process. The online tooling to organise this is readily available, so even that is no longer an argument for not being able to go for a '5 star delivery experience'. It is all a matter of organisation, application and an opportunity for carriers to jump into this gap in the market.