When parcel delivery falters at the final hurdle, it has the potential to deter shoppers from returning to your online store – no matter how positive the experience, up to that point, may have been. And you can bet that, in turn, delivery problems will result in headaches, of various kinds, for your eCommerce support team.
Experience matters, and a whopping 72.5% of poor deliveries result in a customer being less likely to recommend a particular retailer. For many customers, you only have one chance to get it right, as research indicates that 22.5% of consumers simply stop shopping with that retailer. So, the odds are well and truly against you if the delivery experience you offer does not match up.
It also usually means that eCommerce support teams have a narrow window of time to have a positive impact on the customer. This is especially true during the notoriously tricky stage of the process – last mile delivery.
So, let’s look at some of the ways retailers can ensure that eCommerce support in the last mile runs well.
Limited access to real-time tracking information
WISMO (where is my order?) queries account for 30% of all incoming eCommerce support tickets (live chat, social media, emails, phone calls). This obviously takes up a huge amount of time and can cause frustration for both customers and support agents when the tracking information that’s available isn’t conclusive.
Order tracking throughout the entire customer journey
By utilising a delivery management platform, WISMO queries can be significantly reduced as order tracking is available throughout the entire customer journey. Through APIs feeding real-time tracking information into a single platform, retailers can be proactive by providing shipping updates to customers in emails, as well as on specific pages on your online store (user accounts, track my order pages, etc.)
Most importantly, real-time tracking information means that when WISMO queries come through, customer service teams can give answers on the spot, rather than having to follow up with customers because they have to check in with the carrier that is delivering the order. Resolving queries quickly makes for a better customer experience (and happier support agents!)
Dealing with fragmented data from multiple carriers
It has never been more important for retailers to stay true to their word when it comes to delivery timelines. It’s one thing to promise next-day delivery and have packages delayed in transit. It’s another kettle of fish when those products happen to be time-sensitive or perishable – meaning that if something goes awry during the last mile, eCommerce support teams don’t just have to deal with irate customers, but also the financial fallout of restarting orders.
Rule-based carrier selection
The best solution for ensuring that customer support is maintained in the last mile is to partner with carriers that can guarantee deliveries within agreed timeframes. This often involves working with more than one carrier at a time. However, doing this manually means that customer support teams have to decipher fragmented information, rather than having it feed into one centralised location.
Take Butternut Box, for example. The subscription-based meal service for dog owners needed to ensure that their products could consistently be delivered the next day because they had to arrive to customers frozen. Working with multiple carriers through the Scurri platform, Butternut Box could set rules to optimise carrier selection for each order that is placed on their online store.
Their support team has access to all of the information they need regarding the whereabouts of all orders as carrier and customer systems work together. This makes it far easier to deal with WISMO queries and spot any potential delivery delays.
Read the full Butternut Box customer story here.
Courier outages and downtime
What could be worse than an eCommerce support team having incomplete or fragmented information on the location of packages during the last mile? Having no information at all! Service outages are extremely common for all carriers, and when they happen, it can put an extreme amount of pressure on support teams who are trying to resolve customer queries.
Even when a retailer has a full team of in-house developers that work on maintaining or rebuilding connections with carriers, it means that there are fewer resources to deal with all of the other potential issues that a brand could be experiencing at any given time – which again has a knock-on effect on the customer support team.
Plug into existing carrier APIs
When retailers plug into existing APIs through a delivery management platform, it means that connectivity with multiple carriers is maintained by the delivery platform provider. This frees up in-house developers to focus on more strategic tasks.
It also helps in making them more available to assist the customer support team with specific queries whenever necessary. Connectivity is consistently maintained, and when any outages occur, customer service teams are quickly tipped off, so that they can prepare for a rise in enquiries. As Niall Paterson, Director of Engineering, Butternut Box, puts it;
Last mile customer service can make or break the overall brand experience for shoppers. Excellent customer support in the last mile of delivery requires speedy resolution, and the best way that retailers can ensure this is by equipping teams with technology that not only prevents a lot of WISMO queries in the first instance but also enables them to act fast when tickets do come through.