In today's digital age, your customers have grown accustomed to streamlined communication capabilities, such as real-time GPS tracking of their orders and SMS-enabled customer interactions. Fortunately, you can enhance the last-mile customer experience without breaking the bank or overhauling your tech stack. It all boils down to enabling seamless and consistent communication to close the loop in the order lifecycle. This article explores the top communication trends that will help you exceed expectations, deliver exceptional customer service, and boost lifetime customer value.
Trend 1: Enhanced Transparency and Real-time Updates
Large delivery windows and a lack of real-time communication have never been ideal for customers or technicians. When customers can't plan their day due to uncertainty, it leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. Research by Descartes reveals that most consumers who have a poor delivery experience take negative actions, from losing trust in the business or carrier to avoiding them altogether. Similarly, for drivers and operations, limited communication increases failed delivery rates and escalates call center activity.
Effective communication before, during, and after deliveries or service appointments is crucial. Providing customers with regular updates on their order status, including estimated delivery times and any specific requirements, ensures they are better prepared. This reduces the need for extensive customer service calls and minimizes the likelihood of misunderstandings.
While expecting drivers to text every customer manually isn't practical, automation comes to the rescue. Utilize reminder and in-progress notifications, which can be automated through SMS, email, push notifications, or landlines and triggered when a driver is en route. Many routing and scheduling providers offer real-time tracking maps, allowing customers to track their driver's location and prepare accordingly. Increased transparency and real-time updates reduce stress, boost first-time access rates, and enhance the overall last-mile customer experience.
Trend 2: Two-way Chat
For many customers, reaching out to a driver or support representative over the phone can be cumbersome. When they need to communicate, they expect immediate access. Being directed to a call center or an unclear email address usually results in delayed or unresolved issues.
Customers want the flexibility to adjust their preferences and access delivery information on their preferred platform: phone, text, or a web-based portal.
Forward-thinking teams enable two-way and group chat options, allowing customers to communicate changes or essential information as needed. A customer engagement software provider can swiftly integrate chat solutions, compatible with existing routing and telematics solutions.
Two-way communication reduces the burden on support staff and ensures drivers have all the necessary details for a successful appointment or delivery. Direct communication also reduces the load on call centers, as customers can convey critical information like gate codes or directions. Incorporating group chat options by involving support staff ensures that messages are not missed by drivers.
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Best Practices for Last Mile Delivery
Company size has nothing to do with the ability to transform home/last mile delivery performance—it all starts with a different perspective and vision to turn delivery into a competitive weapon. Technology is an incredibly important enabler of world class delivery performance. Every best-in-class delivery company has 3 things in common. Download our Last Mile Delivery Best Practices eBook to see how you match up.
Trend 3: Self-Service
Calling customer support often conjures feelings of frustration, long wait times, and navigating through complex menus for consumers. Instead, customers seek self-service options that empower them to make changes to deliveries or appointments independently.
By implementing digital self-service options such as a web-based customer portal, you provide customers with autonomy. This can improve KPIs like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Effort Score (CES). Many companies witness improved first-time delivery rates, reduced call volumes, and lower operational costs as a result.
Trend 4: Post-Delivery Engagement
The customer experience shouldn't end with the delivery. Customers expect post-delivery interactions, but Descartes' research reveals that 55% of respondents do not send post-delivery surveys, and only 20% send surveys immediately after a delivery.
Encourage customers to provide feedback immediately after the driver leaves. This can lead to more honest and accurate responses. Timely feedback enables you to rectify mistakes, issue refunds, or offer apologies, significantly impacting long-term loyalty and lifetime customer value.
Implement geo-triggered feedback requests that are automatically sent as soon as a driver completes a delivery. If negative feedback is received, your customer service team can promptly address the issue. Additionally, consider providing an option for customers to opt-out of receiving follow-up calls if they prefer not to offer feedback.
Incorporating Communication Trends into Your Customer Experience
In an era where customer expectations for seamless communication are at an all-time high, adapting to these trends is not just an option; it's a necessity. To excel in the competitive landscape, service and delivery providers must prioritize transparency, convenience, and post-delivery engagement. By embracing real-time updates, two-way communication, self-service options, and proactive post-delivery interactions, you can foster lasting customer relationships, enhance satisfaction, and drive up lifetime customer value.
The key lies in harnessing your existing technology to create a customer-centric ecosystem that empowers both your team and your customers. As you navigate these communication trends, keep in mind that a happy and well-informed customer base is the foundation of success in today's rapidly changing business environment.