5 tips to delight on-demand delivery customers
The need for delivery on demand is, at heart, a customer-driven trend. Modern consumers have come to expect a very particular kind of experience, and they see no reason why retailers, food delivery organisations, grocers, and others should not be able to get their orders to their doorsteps in a matter of minutes. Obviously, this puts a huge amount of pressure on businesses to adapt their delivery capabilities to meet demand.
Luckily, last mile routing and planning technology has continued to evolve alongside customer expectations in recent years. New technologies such as improved AI to smarter and more scalable SaaS platforms are making it more feasible than ever to delight customers with rapid delivery turnaround times. There are several best practices businesses can adopt for ensuring experiences that will drive repeat business while keeping costs manageable. Here are my favourites.
Define what successful deliveries look like
Every business, and thus every delivery use case, is different. You will be making various turnaround time promises, working with a variety of fleets and drivers (owned vs contract, e.g.), and spending divergent amounts of time on site loading and delivering the order depending on your business. That is why it is so important to leverage technology that gives you the ability to customise your delivery parameters as needed to fit your specific delivery strategy.
This is not just about customisation. When you are able to define what successful rapid deliveries actually look like for your business, you put yourself in a much better position to set, meet, and exceed both internal and external expectations.
Automate, automate, automate
One of the reasons that rapid delivery turnarounds have not scaled particularly well before now is that they require too much rapid calculation to be easily managed by hand. Success depends on finding the right driver for any job that comes in, as soon as it comes in; then confirming their availability, despatching them with an efficient route to the pickup and drop-off points, contacting the customer with an update, and confirming the successful delivery.
Doing this by hand at a high volume would require a small army of despatchers. That is why automating early and often is so crucial to getting this complex process right. When your delivery management system automatically finds drivers, routes them, and notifies customers, you can focus on the higher-level tasks that keep the whole operation running smoothly from a holistic perspective.
Provide “good“ visibility to customers
One of the hallmarks of on demand deliveries is the tracking experience popularised by Uber Eats and similar food delivery services, in which customers see their delivery drivers’ movements in real time and with constantly updating ETAs. But when the delivery is running late, that level of visibility often ends up making the situation more frustrating.
Offering this level of visibility to your customers is still a best practice, but businesses should strive to consistently offer visibility into deliveries that are actually working. When you are able to accurately predict delivery times from the outset, and when your delivery plans actually account for all of the factors that impact delivery times, you can give customers the good kind of visibility: i.e., reassurance that everything is going to plan, and they can await their rapid delivery order with confidence.
Document your deliveries thoroughly
The exact detail of your documentation is going to depend a lot on what you are delivering, and to whom. Most people do not want to have to sign for a pizza delivery. At the same time, the ability to capture pictures, notes, and signatures as needed can be a big help when it comes to ensuring your deliveries are effectively documented. Ideally, your drivers would be empowered with a mobile application that enables them to capture whatever form of delivery documentation best fits your business case and then automatically uploads those pictures, notes, signatures, etc. to your centralised delivery management system.
Connect with customers
Like I said at the beginning of this piece, on demand deliveries are ultimately a customer-led phenomenon, which is precisely why it is so important to put customer engagement front and centre throughout the entire process. This can take a few forms:
- Giving customers dynamic delivery time slot options
- Sending notifications and updates through the customer’s preferred communication method throughout the delivery process (e.g., text or email)
- Two-way communication during the delivery such that you and your team can spot and address issues in real time
- Delivery surveys to track customer satisfaction and enable continuous improvement over timeWhen you can really make the customer feel like they are in the know and can reach out with questions or issues as needed, you increase trust and ultimately help craft delightful delivery experiences. When the deliveries themselves are also going smoothly and adhering to best practices, you can outpace the competition with great on demand deliveries.
When you can really make the customer feel like they are in the know and can reach out with questions or issues as needed, you increase trust and ultimately help craft delightful delivery experiences. When the deliveries themselves are also going smoothly and adhering to best practices, you can outpace the competition with great on demand deliveries
Alex Buckley is general manager of EMEA and Asia Pacific operations at DispatchTrack. Alex is a CX industry expert with more than 25 years of e-commerce, SaaS, and software experience. Prior to DispatchTrack, he served as the Chief Customer Officer and Strategic Advisor for Customer Service Action. He has held a variety of executive roles at...