In recent years, expectations for customer service have significantly shifted. More than ever, consumers desire digital-first experiences. When it comes to last mile delivery and field service, that means progress updates, real-time ETA tracking, and transparency throughout the order lifecycle. 

E-commerce giants, fast-food delivery, and rideshare apps have provided real-time customer engagement for years, pushing businesses in other sectors to raise the bar. 

So why exactly is real-time communication so important to customers? Here, we’ll look at the five top reasons. Then, we’ll cover how you can meet customer expectations without overhauling your tech stack. 

Why is Real-time Customer Engagement so Popular? 

Here are some of the key reasons why customers love last mile tracking and communications: 

1. Transparency Builds Trust 

When you can increase transparency and reduce friction, it not only elevates the customer experience; it also builds trust.  

Providing real-time communication with ETA updates and notifications shows customers you’re listening to what they want.  And when you meet their arrival time expectations, you demonstrate that you’re credible and dependable.  

Building that trust and positive association with your brand leads to sustained customer loyalty: 85% of consumers say they’ll buy from a retailer again if they can track their purchases throughout the delivery process. 

2. Progress Updates Reduce Stress

Not knowing whether a package or service technician is going to show up in two minutes or two hours is stressful — and pre-parcel anxiety is more common than you think.  

By providing an increasingly narrow time window as the appointment approaches, coupled with an accurate ETA once the driver is on their way, you can help customers to plan their day. 

3. Customers are Used to Operational Transparency  

As we’ve seen, many of us are used to real-time customer engagement from ecommerce and food delivery businesses. These everyday interactions have impacted customer expectations. 

Customers know that real-time updates and tracking are possible, and will demand a similar experience from any business that involves moving goods or services. 

In fact, research has found that 55% of consumers buy online and have orders delivered to their homes, up two percent YOY, with convenience cited as the top reason for the increase. 

To satisfy customers and foster loyalty, it’s crucial to align with these expectations.  

4. Notifications and Tracking Help Avoid Missed Deliveries  

Real-time ETAs are important for customers and operatives alike. For customers, it means they can easily adjust their routine around the delivery or service, and ensure they’ll be home to answer the door.  

For drivers, it means they won’t have to wait around or risk a missed appointment or failed delivery.  

5. There’s No Need to Call Customer Service  

Businesses tell us that a huge percentage of inbound callers want to know “Where’s my driver?”  

SMS notifications and ETA tracking allow customers to self-serve vital information, so there’s no need for them to wait on hold. 

Last mile tracking is win-win, as your business will benefit from reduced inbound and outbound calls. In this way, service representatives can focus on customers who really need a human conversation. 


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.

Customer Engagement on Your Terms

It’s clear that customers greatly benefit from real-time communication and order updates. Luckily, today’s technology makes it possible for field service and delivery providers to seize the opportunity and reduce operational costs in the process. 

With Descartes’ customer engagement solution, you can meet — and exceed — customer expectations. We use geolocation technology and communication workflows to build a customer journey that suits your business needs.  

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