For years, e-commerce giants and leading parcel carriers have provided end customers with real-time visibility. SMS notifications are the norm, and it’s often possible to track the driver’s arrival on a map.  

Today, we expect the same experience from any business where goods and people are on the move: Customers are not content with minimal communication and a five-hour arrival window.  

Luckily, businesses can leverage readily available information to provide customers with last-mile transparency. 

Descartes uses order details and location data to power the end-to-end customer experience for field service and delivery. Customers benefit from automated notifications, last mile tracking, and interactive two-way chat while they wait for their service. Simple satisfaction surveys help customers to leave actionable feedback about their experience.  

Engaging with the customer throughout the order lifecycle improves the customer experience, increases fleet productivity, and reduces contact center costs. Here’s how order notifications and final mile tracking can enhance your service offering. 

How Does Order Tracking Work?

Order tracking is a customer engagement tool that works with your routing and mobile technology to provide a better experience for end-customers. 

Customers benefit from automatic SMS notifications at key points in the order lifecycle, can track their driver’s arrival in real time, and can easily rate their service experience

Notifications are triggered based on the driver’s location or job status updates, so there’s no need to overwhelm drivers or overhaul your tech stack.  

Customer Notifications 

Prior to a service appointment or delivery, customers receive automatic notifications via SMS or email. Messages can include order details and an estimated arrival window. When the driver is en route, the message includes a narrow ETA based on the vehicle’s location.   

For instance, your business might opt to send a message when the order is created, when the route is scheduled, when the driver is on their way, and when the driver is about to arrive. On completion of the order, a further message can direct the customer to a satisfaction survey.  

Web-Based Order Tracking Portal  

Order tracking notifications include a link to a web-based customer portal where customers can track their driver’s arrival, view appointment details, and communicate with the driver - all without downloading an app or making a phone call.  

Order Details 

Within the browser-based portal, customers can view important information about their order and the driver. Details might also include a “pizza tracker” style progress bar showing the order status and what happens next. 

Tracking Map 

Once the driver is en route, the customer can track their position on the map and view a real-time ETA. Where there are many orders in the same area, it’s possible to show customers their place in the queue (i.e. “Stops before you: 4”). 

Contact Options 

The customer portal provides customers with contact details or links to contact your business. In addition, customers can use the two-way chat function to share important information with the driver or contact center. 


Immediately after the appointment, the customer receives a link to a quick and simple satisfaction survey. Negative ratings are shared with your team in real time to assist with feedback resolution.  


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.

Benefits of Real-Time Order Tracking

Exceed Customer Expectations 

Real-time visibility is the standard for food deliveries and rideshares, and customers expect comparable services from other sectors. 

Notifications give customers confidence that their order is progressing. In addition, they can plan their day and are readily available for their delivery or service. As soon as the order is complete, customers are able to provide feedback that truly reflects their experience.  

Increase First-Time Access 

Delivery tracking notifications improve fleet efficiency by reducing missed appointments, since well-informed customers are more likely to be present and prepared. 

Increased first-time access is a win-win result. Customers are satisfied that their goods or services were delivered on time, while your business benefits from reduced fuel consumption and increased driver productivity.   

Reduce Call Center Volumes 

Customers want to know who is coming and when they will arrive. The customer portal pre-empts these questions so that customers don’t resort to calling your support team.  

In addition, there’s no need to phone every customer to ask for feedback, as the process is automated.  

Reduced call volumes help advisors to focus on customers who really need a human conversation.  

How to Incorporate Order Tracking

Order tracking is the cornerstone of an effective last mile customer engagement strategy.  By repurposing order details and geolocation data, you can add value to your service and empower customers throughout the order lifecycle.  

Descartes helps businesses to enhance their dispatching and tracking technology with customer-facing solutions such as notifications, real-time maps, interactive chat, and actionable feedback.  

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