Final Mile Logistics: Creating A Smooth Customer Experience
In the world of final mile logistics, customer satisfaction is king. Online sales are driven more and more by star ratings. While the product may be great, the final mile delivery experience can drag a business down. When a bad delivery occurs, customers will be left with a bad taste in their mouth. The key to establishing a successful final mile logistics plan lies in understanding what customers expect.
With that information in mind, shippers need to figure out how to meet those expectations. Unfortunately, this tends to be easier said than done. In terms of final mile carrier selection, shippers need to realize that every provider has its strengths and weaknesses. When researching white glove couriers and residential delivery service providers, always keep your customer at the forefront of discussions.
What Your Customer Wants
To establish a successful final mile logistics strategy, put yourself in the place of your customers. Focus on finding companies that can meet the following criteria.
Reasonable Delivery Windows
Residential shipments are very different than business-to-business delivery services. Residential customers are often more limited on time. Customers that schedule a white glove furniture delivery may have to take time off from work. Unfortunately, not everyone can be as flexible when it comes to taking a full day off to wait for a delivery.
To that point, find service providers that can offer narrow delivery windows. Three hours should be the max at most for a delivery window. If the service provider is efficient in their routing, they will be able to meet this threshold. In turn, your customer will have a good idea of how they can plan their day around the delivery.
Online Shipment Status Visibility
With online tracking, status updates are very important. Even if your final mile logistics service provider always does a great job and is always on time, a lack of online visibility can make customers nervous. There’s a sense of security knowing that a shipment is in transit and on time. It lets them know they are not waiting around for a delivery that may not happen.
A Quick & Painless Experience
Residential deliveries are a delicate experience. Customers are letting strangers into their homes. Most customers will have zero issue with having a delivery team in their house. Some, however, will secretly be waiting for it to be over with.
A home is a personal place for the owner unlike an office or business. It has to be respected. Delivery teams need to be courteous. They also have to be quick and careful. For most products, the entire delivery shouldn’t last more than 25 minutes.
What Is Needed For A Smooth Delivery
Understanding the customer’s needs is the first step. Meeting these final mile logistics needs also requires help on their part. Getting them to help doesn’t have to feel forced. Effective planning can be a passive way to solicit their help.
Clear Communication Channels
Customers need to know who the point of contact is. If it is your customer service team or the delivery company, the contact needs to be made very clear. Problems can arise when a customer has to reschedule but they contact the wrong party. They may even fail to contact anyone because they don’t have a phone number or email address available. Work with your service provider to determine who is in charge of communication.
Ensure that the contact information is given to the customer ahead of the delivery. This will reduce confusion between your team, the service providers and the customer.
Accurate Contact Information
The biggest pitfall for final mile logistics often rests with the customer’s contact information. Drivers will generally call the customer 15 or so minutes ahead of the delivery. This will give them time to prepare. It also lets the driver know that they will be there. Additionally, it allows the service provider or driver to notify the customer of potential delays.
Tips For Delivery Preparation
A final step that is often overlooked is simply preparing your customer for the delivery. Not everyone is familiar with having large products or freight delivered to their home. What may seem like common sense to a freight clerk may be foreign to a customer. Leading up to the delivery, provide customers with some helpful tips. These can be sent by email, shared on a company’s website or over the phone. Here are a few tips that customers should be aware of:
- Ensure the entry way is clear of debris
- Keep pets in a closed room during the delivery
- Clear clutter and have space available in the room of choice
- Secure area rugs so delivery teams don’t slip
We hope you find these tips valuable as you build out your final mile logistics strategy!