Of all the aspects involved in a supply chain network, final mile customer service is one of the most critical.
Disruptions within the final leg of delivery are often the most frustrating for customers. Shippers find the last stage in shipment from Point A to Point B to be among the most problematic. And the issue is only growing more scrutinized as e-commerce expands.
As highlighted by Logistics Management, “e-commerce represents 10% of online sales and is a major growth engine for many brands. As e-commerce grows and brands must spend more effort on retaining those hard-won customers, the ‘last mile customer experience’ has become critically important.”
The pressure on strong last mile exception management has increased even more. It is important to know how technology capabilities can strengthen exception management in your final mile customer service.
Final Mile Logistics tech: “Experience First”
Strong delivery experience management makes it easier for retailers to define how customers view their experience. It also highlights which areas are working well and which areas need improvement.
Experience management tactics gives retailers visibility and insights to collect and analyze real-world data correctly. And it allows them to take action on issues that arise within the final-mile delivery.
Addressing delivery expectations and resolving delivery problems in real-time makes it easier to collaborate and to focus on recurring supply chain network issues. Ultimately, technology optimization can strengthen final-mile exception management when it involves the following:
1. Automated Alerts and Push Notifications for Customer Communication
Automated alerts and instant push notifications are designed to facilitate and enhance communication.
Meanwhile, leveraging automation in the communication process increases accountability and improves awareness throughout the supply chain. Communicating with team members, 3PL partners, and customers via alerts triggered by real-time events can help you tackle challenges as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Dynamic Final Mile Rerouting and Faster Response to Disruptions and Deviations
The ability to react quickly to changing conditions while shipments are in transit can help managers avoid disruptions and deviations.
Dynamic rerouting and optimized response capabilities enable streamlined shipments across every mode, even in volatile situations. This is particularly useful when managing growing parcel shipment complexity and the numerous stops associated with the final mile, including when exceptions occur.
3. Data Sharing and Collaboration Between Team Members and Third Parties
Enabling team members with easy access to data and information through a TMS as the single entry for transportation data helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working from current and accurate data. For instance, if a customer is unavailable for delivery and setup of goods, data sharing can ensure everyone knows that another delivery attempt will be needed. Plans can be crafted accordingly.
4. Electronic Documentation and Recordkeeping for Faster Sharing and Access
Electronic filing and recordkeeping eliminates the need for cumbersome and unsecure paper for the BOL, POD, freight invoicing, and accounting.
The ability to generate, collect, and share electronic documents helps to expedite transaction processing. It ensures a smooth and timely delivery with minimal issues during last-mile handoffs.
Additionally, electronic documents help delivery drivers maintain all paperwork when exceptions occur, such as a shipment refusal due to damage.
5. Autonomous Logistics and Supply Chain Network Management
Improving final-mile delivery success and reducing disruptions to shipment ETAs often involves automated systems and solid management practices.
The use of machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) can help enhance shipping efficiency to improve all delivery phases. From inventory and warehouse management to capacity procurement and delivery confirmation, autonomous management is a current trend that will continue to gain momentum.
Protecting Your Final Mile Customer Service
Customers need and demand a fast and easy delivery experience. The stakes will continue to rise if delivery deadlines and promises cannot be met.
According to a survey report from PWC, “In the U.S., even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience. 32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience.”
Do your final mile logistics processes retain your customers or send them walking away?