“I CAN SEE FOR MILES and MILES”
“I can see for miles and miles” recorded by The Who in the 60s perfectly describes a crucial aspiration of retailers today.
It couldn’t be more true for last-mile delivery managers and end customers alike: All we want is to see for miles. Visibility into last-mile delivery at every step, in every touchpoint, is key to earning customer loyalty and ensuring business success.
Let’s review three of the most impactful visibility points in the delivery journey:
- Inbound receipt of merchandise at the delivery hub
- Delivery scheduling and tracking
- Post-delivery follow-up
There are many players and multiple data points along this journey. Knowing exactly where merchandise and associated last-mile delivery orders stand can streamline an operation, accelerate service speed, save costs, and delight customers.
The supply chain processes are not identical in each business, so it’s important to examine the specifics of every retail business, its internal and customer-facing processes, its product line (e.g., furniture, mattresses, office equipment, fitness equipment), its desired SLAs, and more.
Regardless of the details, though, the bottom line is always the same: On every measure, visibility leads to success.
INBOUND RECEIPT OF MERCHANDISE AT THE LAST-MILE DELIVERY HUB
Step 1 is the customer order. This sales order may be transmitted immediately to the last-mile delivery hub, or it may be bundled with the next step: inbound shipping notification. An inbound shipping notification connects the retailer to the last-mile hub.
This visibility for last-mile delivery warehouse operations keeps delivery processes smooth, fast, and efficient. When the hub knows the merchandise is on its way, the delivery is scheduled with the end customer more quickly. For operations, it provides the most possible lead time; it facilitates organizing work, staffing, delivery routes, and more. Real-time visibility into incoming shipments to your last-mile warehouse improves routing efficiency.
This is a leg of the journey that many retailers find cloudy. And it’s not always about how long the shipment will take to arrive at the hub; it’s first and foremost about knowing what to expect and when. For the customer, too, early contact enabled by visibility at this step makes a wait of any length, long or short, feel more comfortable. The customer knows they’re being taken care of.
DELIVERY SCHEDULING AND TRACKING
Another set of processes kicks in after the merchandise arrives at the last-mile warehouse. With self-scheduling technology in place, the customer’s voice joins the experience as an active participant. Self-scheduling allows customers, who are often juggling multiple demands in daily life, to select delivery dates or times and stay in control. Visibility helps you manage customer expectations while reinforcing the relationship with your brand.
Utilizing visibility within your last-mile delivery warehouse, your customers could be notified the moment that their order is eligible to be scheduled for delivery. For many big and bulky luxury items, a web-based self-scheduling solution is almost a requirement to achieve customer satisfaction. Automated reminders and updates continue to provide the customer with visibility while delivery is en route.
Customers want to forgo the uncertainty of missed phone calls and inconvenient delivery dates. Achieving visibility into last-mile delivery orders is an opportunity to integrate a self-scheduling and customer communications solution that earns customer loyalty.
As a retailer, it’s important to be able to view the status of every delivery. Data collected upon completion of the last-mile delivery connects the last-mile hub back to the retailer. Operations can measure delivery success and alignment with SLAs. Customer service staff are equipped to respond to any inquiry in real-time.
What’s more, staff can immediately address any exceptions. Examples would be rescheduling because the customer wasn’t home, or arranging in-home repair for concealed or unexpected damage to the merchandise.
Customer-facing technology can also automate obtaining valuable customer feedback. Visibility into post-delivery satisfaction provides valuable information to your customer service team and fuels a continuous improvement process.
THE VALUE OF LAST-MILE VISIBILITY COULDN’T BE MORE PARAMOUNT
Visibility through the customer journey earns loyalty. A strong understanding of service levels, high-touch customer service, and consistent customer communication all come into play. In today’s tech-forward world, last-mile delivery visibility is what elevates each of these components to create seamless, high-quality delivery experiences.
Visibility empowers fast scheduling of last-mile deliveries, greater efficiencies, and smoother operations.
FIDELITONE builds specialized data integrations to infuse your supply chain and marketing channels with high-value data points. FIDELITONE’s specialized service and Partner Portal offer right-fit last mile solutions that earn customer loyalty. Contact us online or call 800.475.0917 and ask about last-mile visibility solutions.
Related Article: 6 Ways You Know it’s Time to Outsource Last-Mile Delivery