The last mile — the delivery handoff from seller to end customer — is the stage in the supply chain that has the most impact on the customer experience. It’s the final impression of the buying journey which directly influences customer satisfaction and loyalty. Today, this link is more crucial than ever, as the continuing boom in e-commerce fuels ever-greater expectations of frictionless delivery.
Businesses across industries, such as portable moving and storage providers, face mounting pressure to delight customers with timely, accurate deliveries. In response, they’re looking for ways to execute more efficient last-mile service. Innovative branded communication, which allows a seller to display its name, logo and reason for calling on a recipient’s mobile device, is one way to help businesses optimize last-mile delivery.
As consumer expectations of seamless delivery continue to rise, the last mile remains the most challenging link in the supply chain. In research released by SOTI, 59% of transportation and logistics companies in the US said last-mile delivery is the most inefficient process in the entire journey. It’s also an expensive link in the supply chain. Some reports estimate that the last leg of product delivery accounts for 53% of total shipping costs. Furthermore, these costs increase with each rescheduled or missed delivery. Efficiency and cost are two primary reasons that companies are looking to deploy innovative technologies like branded calling, to enhance connections with customers and improve the last-mile delivery process.
Difficult as it is to execute, last-mile delivery can boost the bottom line if done effectively. According to research by Capgemini, it can go a long way toward attracting and retaining customers. The study found that when consumers are satisfied with a company’s delivery services, 74% will increase spend with a business, and 82% will share their positive delivery experience with friends and family. Conversely, 48% of dissatisfied customers would stop purchasing from a poor-performing retailer.
Companies can’t afford to trip up on last-mile delivery with customer satisfaction and loyalty on the line. Even so, this link is fraught with late deliveries, rescheduling and missed delivery windows. According to a DispatchTrack report, 58% of big and bulky deliveries are rescheduled — two or more times for more than half of them.
Delivery snafus not only negatively impact brand reputation; they significantly eat into the bottom line. A failed delivery can cost a major retailer anywhere from $100 to $300 per attempt.
While companies attempt to call customers to ensure that last-mile delivery goes smoothly, many of these calls go unanswered. That’s mainly due to consumers being conditioned to ignore calls from numbers they don’t recognize, due to rampant scam and spam calls. In 2021 alone, US consumers received around 110 billion scam calls, resulting in 88 million scam victims and an estimated $44.2 billion in losses. What’s more, a seller’s phone number can be incorrectly categorized as spam based on carriers’ reliance on outdated third-party data.
Branded communication injects trust back into the phone call, giving consumers the confidence to answer their phones when they know who’s calling and why. That’s critical, in light of a recent survey revealing that 60% of people reported missing a call from a retail brand or store because they didn’t recognize the number. The research also revealed that missed calls can be costly to companies, with 64% of those surveyed saying they would consider switching brands to a business that could properly identify themselves on the incoming call screen.
Making the phone call an integral part of the customer’s last-mile delivery experience aligns with consumers’ communication preferences. Research has found that over 55% of people prefer a phone call for urgent issues such as late or missing deliveries, incorrect items, or a driver needing directions.
Branded communication technology takes the friction out of the phone call and last-mile delivery, increasing answer rates and improving customer satisfaction. Companies spend less time and effort attempting to reach customers to relay crucial information.
Today, improving the customer experience means improving last-mile delivery. Communication and customer service go hand-in-hand. As a result, companies are turning into smart technology options like branded communication to improve the ability to connect with customers and optimize last-mile delivery efficiency.
David Morgan is senior vice president of sales at First Orion.