My previous post at MyCustomer explored the concept of people as channels. The feedback was positive as the message that in this enlightened all channel age the human component was being forgotten despite its importance.
This article will build upon that theme and explore the physical delivery of goods as part of a multichannel customer experience. The content has been largely inspired by a conversation with Paul Francis, head of ecommerce at Domino's Pizza, and my own recent experiences as a consumer.
Just as there are multiple routes to purchase goods there is an array of methods for actually receiving the purchased item. These methods include digital download, in-store collection (click and collect), collection from lockers (Amazon Lockers), collection from third party stores (Collect+), delivery to an address by a third party courier (Royal Mail, Parcelforce), or branded first party delivery (Domino's). Those with an eye on the future may also be considering automation as a route to deliver packages via drones - a feat that Domino's pulled off before Amazon (the Domicopter).
Regardless of method there is a unique moment of truth when we come into real contact with the product and potentially the person who delivers it. This moment creates is of critical importance in the customer experience. It certainly should not be forgotten or simply thrown to the cheapest supplier.
Delivery: The moment of truth
"I have now received 7 emails regarding my order for a pair of trousers, the latest says my trousers will arrive between 10:14am and 11:14am and the delivery driver's name is Keith. I am now in complete meltdown as to the etiquette of greeting a delivery driver whose name I know."
- From BritishProblems on Reddit
We each possess five senses; touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. The moment that a product reaches the consumer these senses are going to kick in:
- Touch: The quality of the packaging, the ease of getting into it and then the feel of the product
- Smell: The smell of the product (and possibly the smell of the delivery driver)
- Taste: Only applicable for food or drink based goods is the taste - however there has been a trend by retailers such as Wiggle to drop in a bag of Haribo with their orders
- Sight: The design of the product, packaging and delivery method be it through a courier or in a store
- Sound: Finally there is the consideration of sound in the delivery experience which may include music in store, the words that the delivery driver says or the quality of the sound from the device
With today's focus and investment on building digital channels and experiences, experience architects need to be wary of throwing the crucial delivery element to the cheapest commodity broker.
The key part here is that the retailer needs to effectively control the stock buying, marketing, sales, service and delivery aspects of the supply chain and ensure that each component measures up to customer expectations. All of your investment in complex apps, intelligent multichannel marketing and web platforms will count for nothing if the received goods are not of adequate quality, the delivery driver is rude, or the packaging requires a chainsaw to open.
Case study: Domino's Pizza
As a retail brand Domino's does an incredible job of controlling the entire supply chain despite through a network of some 800 franchised outlets.
They transact through mobile and tablet apps, over the web, by phone and in person at their bricks and mortar outlets. Product manufacturing and delivery is distributed across their store network when 100s of thousands of orders are manufactured, packaged and pushed out the door in 30 minutes of the order being placed.
In terms of the 5 senses, Domino's end product needs to smell appetising, taste good, be warm to touch and look desirable. By its nature pizza is a discretionary purchase. Therefore service and quality need to be spot on every time or future orders will quickly find their way to the array of other takeaway outlets in every town and city.
Paul Francis of Domino's gave me some insight into Domino's desire to be an omnichannel retailer. For him, omnichannel is about delivering the same customer experience via any channel the customer chooses. The ordered pizza needs to taste, look and smell the same whether it was ordered online, through an app or instore. Similarly the product needs to be consistent whether it is collected in-store or delivered by one of Domino's drivers.
This consistency requires a focus on customer targets across marketing, technology and operations. Marketing needs to deliver vouchers that customers want and can use across any channel they choose. Domino's digital platform needs to be able to scale to handle massive peaks in demand. Operationally the supply chain needs to be slick across manufacturing, delivery and service.
A further challenge is the franchise network of stores who can run different menus and promotions at any time. Offering available products whilst applying the most relevant promotion requires a complete integration of point of sale and online systems.
One of the common challenges I see in achieving this level of customer orientation is the lack of coordination created by competing business silos. These sometimes are formed across channels - store vs online revenue - or even business functions battling issues out - IT vs Marketing.
At Domino's they all pull together around a key set of targets and goals that the entire organisation is behind.
Does it ever go wrong? Of course it does. With a distributed supply chain, fully customisable menu and huge order volume, there are going to be some issues. However Domino's work hard to say sorry and make amends - they want each customer's next order.
For those wondering if all this hard work creating an integrated customer experience is worth it, consider Domino's earned media. They give free pizza to commuters affected by the tube strike, rescue people from the brink of suicide and recently helped a couple say I do (I dough) with a Domino's themed wedding. When was the last time someone featured your brand at their wedding day?
Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad shares the love with his Domino's pizza delivery man
Building integrated customer experiences
It should be no surprise that Paul's description of Domino's workings matches the findings from research CACI did into integrated customer experience.
Our research with 900 marketers found that there were 7 key differences between organisations - like Domino's - that are delivering an integrated customer experience from those failing to bring it all together.
The integrated customer experience report found that leading organisations had a clear strategy that was supported by senior management. This strategy was then executed across all channels by cross functional teams with a single vision for success.
The crucial point is that if you fail to deliver the product in a way that meets the customer's expectations it won't matter how optimised your checkout process is or how flash your mobile app is. A vision of the ideal customer experience is needed that marketing, technology, sales and operations can get behind and relentlessly deliver.
CACI's full report is available as a free download: The 7 Habits of Companies Delivering Highly Integrated Customer Experiences.
David Sealey is Head of Digital Consulting at CACI an Integrated Marketing Agency. David is also an avid writer on digital strategy across marketing and customer experience.
Previous posts by David on MyCustomer include:
- From Beginner to Digirati: How to evolve your brand's digital vision
- People are channels too: How staff deliver omnichannel experience
For more on David Sealey you can follow his blog at www.thesealeys.co.uk.