In eCommerce, last mile delivery is often the most make or break component of the entire customer experience. Customer emotion is at its peak when anticipating the arrival of an order. When things don’t go as expected, customer service teams have to manage the fallout. But your support team may not have the resources they need to resolve the customer’s last mile delivery queries.
This is because there is a third-party involved in the last mile that holds most of the cards – the carrier. And if there is a missing link between the carrier and the customer service team, it can cause frustration amongst shoppers, and also within the team itself.
Here, we look at the three most common challenges that customer service teams experience with last mile delivery, and how to overcome them.
1. Limited visibility
30% of all customer service queries fall into the WISMO (where is my order) category. If limited tracking data is available to customer support teams, it increases the time it takes to respond to WISMO requests. This often happens when carriers themselves send tracking updates to customers, rather than those coming directly from the retailer.
Real-time information is vital. It helps support teams give up to date, accurate information about the location of their parcels. It’s simply not enough to say that a package has been dispatched, or is on board a last mile delivery vehicle. 47% of consumers expect an estimated day or time of day for their deliveries.
In order for this to happen, carrier and customer service systems need to be synchronised. If not, support teams are left out of the loop and have to manually track down orders. This involves checking carrier systems, and making numerous phone calls, which is time consuming and can irritate customers.
For customer experience to remain consistent throughout the last mile delivery process, it’s vital to ensure that support teams and customers have more visibility of orders.
2. Missed or delayed timelines
Once a parcel is on board a delivery vehicle, it is largely outside of the retailer’s control. Last mile delivery is notorious for throwing up curveballs. Traffic, bad weather, vehicle breakdowns, are all situations that can occur frequently. They put retailers in a position where they might not be able to honour their delivery commitments.
When delays like this happen, it can send an influx of customer queries and complaints to customer support teams. That’s why it’s so important to have clear contingency plans in place to give agents the tools to address unforeseen situations.
Brands need to clearly state that delivery timelines may be affected due to circumstances outside of their control. This is done in the delivery/returns section of their online stores, as well as in any customer communications. While support teams can reassure customers that they are doing everything possible, they also have a solid disclaimer they can make reference to.
Discover how gifting brand Biscuiteers implemented Scurri to ensure its promise of 7-days-a-week delivery could be kept here.
3. Customer support issues
There are multiple customer-related issues that can wreak havoc on a support team during the last mile delivery process. Incomplete or inaccurate addresses can result in delivery delays or failures. If a customer isn’t available to accept their order, the parcel can ultimately be returned to the retailer.
There’s no way to completely eradicate customer-related issues. However, retailers can significantly lessen the load on support teams by doing two things. Being proactive with tracking notifications, and working with carriers that take actionable steps to avoid failed deliveries, is a start.
For example, carriers can offer customers the option to change their delivery date, or drop off location, when notifications are sent. Or the courier can use proactive communication, like sending a text message to let a customer know they’ve dropped their parcel at the doorstep. These little things can help customer service teams resolve potential issues much faster.
Going the extra mile
Most of the challenges that customer service teams face during the last mile boil down to miscommunication. With multiple parties involved, it’s more difficult. Support agents need to be confident that any information they share with customers is accurate, up to date, and creates a positive experience with the brand.
Remember, 77% of negative online reviews stem from bad delivery experiences, while 84% of a company’s existing customers say they won’t return to the brand after one poor delivery experience.
Customer service teams do have the opportunity to turn potentially negative experiences into positive ones. But (and it’s a big but) they need to have the right tools to do so. With a delivery management platform, retailers can connect customer service and carrier systems together.
Through a single platform, customer service teams are empowered to keep customers informed of the progress of their orders throughout every step of the journey – including the last mile.
Want to find out how Scurri can make your customers and support team happier? Book an initial consultation today.