Published Wednesday 12th June 2019

In the modern world of business, the final delivery can often be a customer’s only physical interaction with a company or brand. That last transition is one of the most critical parts of a product’s supply chain and can make a considerable difference regarding customer loyalty. According to multiple surveys, delivery remains the biggest reason why online shoppers abandon their orders. It is also one of the biggest reasons a consumer chooses one provider over the next.

In too many cases, delivery groups have been focused on efficiency to the point that customer satisfaction has become a second thought. However, many of those technologies delivering streamlined internal services can also be utilised to improve the customer experience. These technologies will not only lead to more satisfied consumers but, ultimately, improved loyalty and increased sales.

Customer Satisfaction in the Modern Age

The evolution of e-commerce has had an undeniable impact across the business landscape. Its effects can be felt across many industries and in a range of internal and external procedures. Perhaps its biggest impact, however, is seen in the world of consumer satisfaction. All businesses, regardless of industry, are now expected to be fast, agile and personalised to each consumer’s requirements.

Recent changes in this regard are led by Amazon, one of the biggest online retailers in the world. Widely-reported as ‘The Amazon Effect’, the standards being set by the multinational business are quickly becoming norms for the industry. This expectation means that all companies, regardless of size and capabilities, must produce similar standards or risk losing their valuable consumer base.

Price Versus Convenience in Online Delivery

The Amazon Effect has impacted many areas of e-commerce, such as price sensitivity and product competitiveness. However, it has also had a considerable impact on online delivery standards. Amazon’s free delivery option is still fast enough to satisfy most consumers, while next and same-day options mean that they have covered all boxes.

For many other e-retailers, offering free delivery can be too expensive, drastically reducing margins with little return. On the other hand, not offering advanced delivery options can lead to fewer sales, as the research mentioned at the beginning of this article points out. However, many companies are now discovering the middle ground between convenience and price competitiveness.

Using Technology to Improve Customer Satisfaction

Often, businesses that try to match Amazon on both ends of the spectrum will struggle to do both. The middle ground represents an area where customer satisfaction can still be achieved while maintaining control over costs and product margins. In this area, technology can play a huge role.

There are many ways that new technologies are being utilised to create more efficient supply chains. From how the Internet of Things will create pull-based supply chains, to AI-driven supply chain transformations, much has been documented about the potential impacts of modern initiatives. However, these same technologies can be utilised to create a noticeable improvement in customer satisfaction.

The biggest transition being made by many major delivery and depot organisations is their customer engagement. It is vital, now more than ever, that customers are aware of the progress of their deliveries to the most accurate degree possible. Moreover, customers must be able to contact the deliverer at any time through their preferred medium, while also having the ability to transform their experience at a moment’s notice. Often, this takes the form of changing delivery times or locations swiftly and easily, but it can also refer to the handling of complaints and queries with just as much personalisation and efficiency.

Many delivery companies are already investing in improving their customer engagement. In May, Royal Mail announced £1.8 billion worth of investment over five years, aimed at improving customer service. These investments include the implementation of next day parcel delivery, picking up customer returns from their homes and in-flight delivery redirection. These options, previously seen as additional benefits, will become the standard very quickly. Therefore, businesses need to start evaluating their current distribution methods or risk being left behind by an evolving industry.

At Expense Reduction Analysts, we’ve been working with major UK companies for many years on refining their procurement strategies. In distribution our experts have vast experience supporting business improve customer experience, supply chain processes and reduce distribution costs across a wide range of industries. If you are interested in discussing what our expert insight could do for your business, why not speak to our distribution team today?