Restoring customer “faith” in last mile delivery

 

Restoring customer "faith" in last mile delivery

August 3, 2018

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By Keith Lewin

Have you ever ordered something online, only to be let down when delivery time came? You’re not alone. 

As an online shopper, you place a great deal of faith in the company you’re ordering from, no matter the product.

When you place that order, you feel excited. More than that, you are in control. In fact, science shows us that “the choices inherent in shopping may restore personal content over one’s environment and reduce residual sadness”. 

“In a 2015 survey called Digital Dopamine, 76 percent of people in the US, 72 percent in the UK, 73 percent in Brazil, and 82 percent in China said they’re more excited when their online purchases arrive in the mail than when they buy things in store,” says writer Camille Acker.

It’s only natural then that being let down on that very last mile compromises the entire customer experience. 

It’s a lot hanging on one guy in a van. And it’s a story I’ve heard time and again; The customer experience is excellent. Yet it all drains away if the last mile delivery process lets everyone down.

But it’s not a challenge without a solution. For brands and companies, it all comes down to managing consumer expectations - then meeting them. Especially during the last mile delivery moments.

A rare few excel at this. 

While many would place Amazon at the top of the list for delivering on customer expectations, one UK brand truly setting the standard in last mile is AO.com (formerly Appliances Online). 

Place an order with AO.com and you’ll receive a note like this: “We will deliver your order on Wednesday 7th August between 8am and 10am. Is that ok?” Cleverly, this is a brand that is already asking you - as the customer - for endorsement with those last three words. Is that okay?

Going back to Amazon’s parcel delivery service for a second, whilst they’re good, they’re not ALWAYS good. I’ve been let down by Amazon a few times lately and boy it feels like a real let down. I’m not used to Amazon getting it wrong and when they do (okay, rarely) it feels big; it feels personal; they’ve forgotten who I am; I thought we were getting along fine; I thought I was a good customer; what have I done wrong?

Yes, it feels personal. Perhaps we’re all only as good as our last and most recent delivery?  

Domino’s obviously think so. They have raised the customer experience standard, giving complete production and delivery transparency through its app, from the moment a customer places an order to the moment it arrives on their doorstep. This high standard of last mile delivery care is arguably the result of a company that’s long set its sights on the supply chain. 

Beyond all this, the reason that brands like AO.com and Domino’s Pizza are setting the bar so high is their ability to deliver with precision on their promise. Despite obstacles encountered within busy urban areas.

After all, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend setting customer expectations, communicating delivery slots and improving your service offerings - if the delivery ain’t there on time, it ain’t there. 

In the coming years, delivery precision is only going to increase as brands come to recognise that the only way to keep the faith intact is to make good on the last mile. Getting to the intended final destination the first time around.

Want to join the last mile conversation? Become a member of The Last Mile Consortium Group on LinkedIn today.

 
Nicole Lyons