Right now, Amazon is the gold standard for extra services in last mile delivery. With 24-hour and same-day delivery options, real-time tracking of parcels and value-added services, Amazon has demonstrated exactly how last mile deliveries should be done. Judging by their growing customer base, they are certainly doing things right. Amazon Prime has an overly successful retention rate which is currently at 98%, unheard of until now.
Using Amazon as a model, we can break down the extra services in last mile delivery that enhance the customer experience. We will look at what works, how to do it right and what the future has in store. When it comes to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, extra services in last mile delivery could be the tipping point in a company’s favour over its competitors. Last mile delivery is no longer just about meeting customer demands but going over and beyond what is expected to deliver a little bit extra.
Extra services that make a difference
Faster deliveries: 24-hour and same-day deliveries are getting more and more common. Though not always possible for smaller e-commerce companies, many of the larger companies are finding ways to increase their delivery speed. Some of these methods include:
- Buying their own fleet of delivery vehicles so that they have complete control over how long delivery will take.
- Buying warehouses within major cities so that products can be stored closer to their targets. Keeping products closer to the customers greatly decreases the delivery time.
- Making use of the Gig economy and using on-demand delivery services for shorter distances within cities. Mobile apps and GPS have made it possible to keep track of these delivery services making them more reliable and accountable.
Real-time tracking: GPS and mobile apps have opened the way for customers to constantly be aware of where their packages are. Regular updates via messaging or emails are useful, but tracking allows customers to know exactly where their parcel is. Having the number of the delivery person also helps when there are delays, or special instructions need to be conveyed. Providing customers with tracking information improves service experience because customers can feel more in control of their deliveries.
White glove services: A value-added service to last mile delivery is white glove services. These are the services with an extra layer of care added to them. The service is what ensures that packages are delivered only when the customer is home so that they are not left on the doorstep unattended. White glove services are what make sure that perishable items reach within the prescribed time limit, and items like medicines and foodstuffs are kept at the right temperature.
From the Amazon Prime example, is has been found that customers are willing to pay premium rates for certain services than choose the free option. When customers pay extra, they expect to get their money’s worth in services. Those companies that can deliver a little more to the retail experience come out winners.
Smart technology: Smart technology is an integral part of white glove services. Not only does the delivery service ensure the extra care of packages but customers can also actively check the state of the items. Sensors can now be placed inside packages so that clients can check the temperature of the contents and make sure that it is being maintained. Along with monitoring the delivery items, smart technologies can also be used to monitor weather conditions and plan the deliveries accordingly. If perishable goods need to be delivered on a particularly hot day, extra care can be taken to ensure that they are kept cool and fresh.
Predictive services: Predictive services come into play at the very end of last mile delivery. At the point of customer interaction, the delivery person can double-up as a salesperson and promote products a customer might need based on their previous purchases. This requires that the delivery person has the items with them when making the delivery.
The extra services discussed here have been proven to improve the customer experience.