A B2B or B2C customer goes through several steps as part of a decision to order an item. Once that order has been made, the customer can feel at the mercy of the carrier. To reassure the customer, businesses have responded by using real-time delivery tools to inform, alert, and notify the customer of the timing of the delivery. Lastly, these same tools can document the delivery through photos. In addition, metrics can be included in the notice and a survey or email asking for feedback on the delivery can be included.
Over half of consumers say free or discounted shipping is an important factor in their purchase decision and give it the same emphasis as price. They also use previous experiences to guide decisions on shipping. Shippers have become aware of this and have made shipping prices an upsell option on many products and consider delivery satisfaction as part of their brand image. Consider Amazon’s Prime option.
Companies offer customers next-day, 2-day, or 3-day delivery options and use real-time delivery tools to track and give notification of delivery times to fulfill these promises. This helps the customer feel more powerful in the transaction and makes them more likely to repeat business. When a package isn’t delivered when expected, it hurts their impression of the company and influences their decision when making the next order.
Recent research indicates a three-hour delivery window gives customers more flexibility, allows for better planning, and reduces stress. Delivery apps have enabled decreasing delivery windows, allowed companies to implement real-time delivery, and empowered the higher customer expectations. It is interesting to note this expectation is not limited to B2C deliveries, but B2B customers have come to expect the same level of customer satisfaction as when they’re making personal purchases.
Companies have made on-time deliveries a high priority. Also, real-time notification of estimated delivery times helps the customer plan when to be available to receive the delivery or pick it up. Lastly, these tools can inform the customer once the delivery is made. Photos of the package can be included to document the delivery address and where it is, such as on the porch or in the garage.
Communicating customer expectations and making good on those promises drives customer retention and sales growth. These same real-time delivery tools that allow a higher level of performance can be used to send a thank you or follow up notice. This can include performance data, encouraging them to reorder. Metrics such as nearness to estimated delivery time, frequency and accuracy of pre-delivery notices, and documentation of delivery can all be sent to the customer or provided in an online dashboard, reinforcing the sense of high-quality service and hopefully bringing it to mind when they reorder. Such reminders can be strategically timed, such as a day or two before a regular customer is planning a new order.