Dude, Where’s My Order? The Secret to Avoiding Losses in Retail's Last Mile
There are many reasons an online order may fail to be completed, from bad weather to back-ordered product. And there’s always the chance the package ended up on your neighbor’s doorstep instead of yours. Whatever the reason, when a customer fails to receive their order, the cost adds up fast. The yearly cost of failed deliveries in the retail industry alone is $1.98 billion.
Failed deliveries are costly, but the numbers are even more staggering when customer service fails to solve the problem. Eighty percent of customers believe that the experience they have in interacting with the company is just as important as the products or services that they receive. The cost of customers switching providers due to poor service is a whopping $1.6 trillion. That means it’s not enough to create and ship a fantastic line of artisanal deer yogurt — it also has to arrive on time, and with plenty of notice.
“Where’s my order?” is the trillion dollar question you never want your customers to ask. The good news is that there’s no need to feel discouraged. Transparency with delivery drivers and customers doesn’t have to be a challenge and businesses today can create Amazon.com-style customer experiences without the Amazon size budget.
Here are three easy-to-use solutions to navigate this last-mile customer communication.
Send Personalized Updates
“Omnichannel” continues to accelerate from industry buzzword to operational requirement for businesses. Consumers today expect businesses to reach them in the channels they prefer. To keep customers in the loop with order confirmations and proactive updates, businesses of all sizes can take advantage of communications platforms to reach customers via a wide range of channels, including SMS, WhatsApp, WeChat, Messenger, Telegram, Line, email and voice calls. What’s more is that conversations can be captured across all channels and combined into one seamless thread. That means that if a customer calls in, but later wants to move to a messaging channel or vice versa, all the context of previous conversations is captured in a single thread. By combining all conversation threads, businesses are able to build rich customer profiles to deliver the ultimate customer experience, which includes ensuring customers are well informed on delivery status along the way.
Offer Alternative Delivery Options
We’ve likely all experienced the dreaded sticky note on our door that informs us that we’ve missed our delivery. Tracking a package at that point can feel like an impossible task, and for consumers today, waiting around for a package is grounds for moving on to another vendor. With communications platforms available today, businesses can put customers in control by enabling them to provide alternate delivery times via any messaging channel the customer prefers. There's no need to sit around waiting for the doorbell to ring and or wait on hold to track the whereabouts of a package.
Provide Real-Time Status Checks
Many of us have experienced the anxiety of not knowing. From waiting on a delayed flight to waiting on a package that seems like it will never arrive, waiting is something consumers today simply won’t put up with for long. Frequent updates along with delivery location tracking in real time eases customer angst and lets them get on about their day while their package is in route.
More than 50 percent of support queries for delivery companies relate to the location of a package and changes to the delivery. By adopting a proactive approach in sending personalized updates, businesses can save time and money while also making a positive impression on customers. The prioritization of transparency with delivery and logistics isn’t an optional business strategy; it’s critical to creating and retaining your customer base. Fortunately, the solutions are plentiful and varied, and at the end of the day, it’s just about picking the one that suits your business best.
Roberto Marzo is head of business strategy and demand generation at MessageBird, a cloud communications platform that connects enterprises to their global customers.