February 16, 2017

Retailers call for better customer service in last-mile delivery

Survey shows need for improved customer communication, delivery rerouting, data sharing on in-transit shipments.

By DC Velocity Staff

Retailers are calling for better customer experience of last-mile parcel delivery, but their current technologies are not addressing that need, a survey released Tuesday shows.

More than 83 percent of retailers confirmed that customer experience–or CX—is a companywide goal, and nearly 56 percent said that CX measurement is key to their operational decisions, the survey showed. Despite the importance of customer experience in final-mile delivery, that goal is not making a sufficient impact on supply chain performance and decision-making, according to the study, "Redefining Final Mile Delivery in the Age of the Customer."

The survey of 200 retail supply chain professionals was commissioned by logistics software firm Convey and conducted by supply chain and logistics business intelligence event management company eyefortransport Ltd. (EFT).

The survey showed that retailers feel that current technologies are not addressing their CX needs, with just three percent saying their current systems "fully support efforts to improve the customer experience" and more than 66 percent reporting that their existing systems do nothing to improve CX.

One hurdle to solving the problem is that the desire to improve CX is often at odds with traditional operational metrics such as cost savings, the survey found. More than 50 percent said reducing costs and improving margins is still crucial, with another 28 percent saying it is very important.

The solution lies in integrating CX data into delivery operations, the survey found. Nearly 72 percent said it was crucial or very important to improve access to data for in-transit shipments across consumer service, operations, and logistics teams.

Likewise, 70 percent confirmed it is either crucial or very important to improve "bidirectional communication" with consumers regarding their delivery expectations, package tracking, and resolution of delivery options. And another 70 percent agreed that "the ability to take dynamic and proactive action on in-transit issues (i.e., rerouting or expediting shipments, communicating efficiently with carriers)," is crucial or very important.

"Based on what we've heard from clients and others, the future of delivery is less likely to look like flying drones and more like the service you'd expect from a great concierge," Convey CEO Rob Taylor said in a release. "Making this a reality means thinking from the outside-in about what customers want and building that into your business processes–so the more transparent, proactive and flexible your supply chain is, the better the experience will be."

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