What CX trends will shape deliveries in 2023?
2023 hasn’t even begun yet and it’s already being defined by the cost-of-living surge. Many consumers are paying much more than they expect for food, energy, and other essentials, meaning that more and more buying decisions are coming down to price.
These realities are having a big impact across the UK, and last mile delivery operations aren’t immune. How will the cost-of-living crisis and other factors shape trends in customer delivery expectations in the next year? Here are a few of my predictions:
The C-suite will take a new interest in customer delivery experience
The past few years have shown how important the delivery experience can be for customers across the board, and corporate leadership teams are beginning to take note. Supply chain decisions that used to happen in warehouses will get made in boardrooms. With luck, delivery management teams can leverage these new levels of interest into a serious competitive advantage in the market.
Optimisation will become mission critical
Delivery organisations are experiencing rising prices of their own, not least in fuel and human resources. At the same time, customers are increasingly expecting high-touch delivery experiences and consistent on-time performance. This means getting the absolute most out of your resources is more important than ever.
Route optimisation will become an essential way for delivery organisations to reduce fuel costs and cut out late deliveries. At the same time, enabling smarter delivery tracking to empower better exception management and flexibility, as well as automated customer communications for showing your brand in the best possible light, will be critical.
Delivery organisations will re-evaluate their technology stacks
To achieve the kinds of optimisation we discussed above in 2023 and beyond, businesses are going to have to arm themselves with technology that can actually make smarter capacity usage, last mile visibility, and robust customer engagement possible. Legacy technology and on-premise deployments aren’t going to cut it going forward. Neither are redundant technology stacks that have too many moving parts and potential data and decision-making silos.
Of course, cost will be a big factor. That’s why, this year, we foresee a lot of delivery organisations making big decisions when it comes to finding ways to streamline their delivery technology with an eye towards empowering cost savings and cost optimisations.
Actions on sustainability will speak louder than words
Studies have already begun to show that sustainability is an important topic for delivery customers. There’s real evidence to suggest that some buyers will make purchasing decisions based on carbon footprint, and many consumers will opt for more eco-friendly delivery options if given the choice by the vendor.
From a customer experience perspective, the time has come for more eco-friendly delivery options to become the norm. Likewise, we expect to see a lot more businesses showing off tangible results from their decarbonisation efforts. For those that do, it will be easier to win new customers—to say nothing of moving towards less carbon-intensive deliveries.
Drivers will be empowered to act as brand ambassadors
This trend has taken shape somewhat in 2022, but in 2023 it stands to become a more common practice. As the driver shortage worsens and recruiting drivers becomes more difficult, we expect more businesses to transition towards reframing driver roles as “brand ambassador” positions. No matter what you call them, the personnel making the deliveries are often the most significant in-person interaction a customer will have with your brand—and we believe 2023 is the year brands will recognise this by giving them the resources they need to be able to provide great jobsite service.
This might mean enabling drivers to manage returns on customers' doorsteps, giving them instructional forms for handling installations, helping them to seamlessly document all the hard work they’re doing, and enabling them to send updates to customers with the push of a button. Whatever it looks like, it can help boost customer satisfaction while making drivers' lives better.
AI will help last mile organisations focus on delivery accuracy
No matter how much the delivery market changes, some things will stay the same year in and year out: customers want their orders to show up on time—even when everything from the supply chain crisis to the driver shortage to increased costs seems to conspire against making that easy. That’s why one of the key themes for 2023 is going to be delivery accuracy and the tools and technologies (like AI and machine learning) that make that possible, at scale.
There’s no doubt that 2023 is going to come with its share of challenges. But as with so many delivery challenges, one of the most effective ways to cope is with a laser-focus on your customers. By staying on top of these trends in the coming year, you’re setting yourself up to do just that.
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...