Last-mile deliveries are a growing need for small business owners across the country. Retail giants like Amazon exponentially increase customer expectations.
But your business can compete. With the right shipping strategy, you can profit in the age of instant gratification.
Check out these 10 hacks to keep the pace of innovation for last-mile deliveries.
10 Strategies for Last-Mile Deliveries
The rush to beat competitors can leave the quality of last-mile delivery services lacking. Here are ten ways to offer a great customer experience when your drivers are scrambling to beat the clock.
10. Update Routes
Siri doesn’t know everything. Always double check delivery routes to make sure you have the most efficient delivery system.
A few minutes off a driver’s route to each stop can make all the difference at the end of the workday.
9. Sort by Destination
Not all packages in your arsenal need to be sorted using the same labels. Separate local deliveries from long-distance deliveries using special bar codes.
The loading process will be much faster when you know exactly where each package gets loaded. Larger logistics companies have complex systems for tracking packages as they come in that you can mimic with a simple ‘local’ and ‘nonlocal’ sorting method.
8. Scan, then Load
This may seem obvious but always scan packages before loading. Repeat delivery routes and customers can make warehousing staff overconfident.
Scan every item even if the same delivery comes in every week. Proper tracking is what sets amateur delivery services apart from the pros.
Share the tracking information with both the driver and customers to keep your delivery system transparent.
7. Get Better Visibility
Tracking packages should be available in real-time when possible. This is the beauty of making sure all packages are scanned.
High delivery visibility means customers know where the driver is and how soon to expect packages to arrive. Major pizza delivery chains like Pizza Hut have mastered this system by allowing you to see your order from the preparation to your front door.
6. Be Available to Chat
Upgrade your visibility by being available to chat with customers. Allow text alerts when possible to communicate with customers with no access to email.
A text alert can supplement the vehicle tracking system or replace it. Avoid text alert systems that don’t allow you to communicate with the driver.
If one-way communication is your only option, include a mobile phone number for the driver in case customers need to connect. Quick notes with last-minute delivery instructions give customers more options in how their product or service is received.
5. Turn Drivers Into Salesmen
The famous fast food phrase “you want fries with that?” can now apply to last-mile deliveries. While a food delivery driver might not actually have fries, soft drinks, chips, and other sides can be made available as an upsell for your business.
Beyond food delivery, consumer packaged goods like paper towels and toilet paper also offer the chance for more sales. Allow drivers to communicate add-on opportunities through text to speed up the transaction.
4. Add Installation
Another way to add revenue to last-mile deliveries is by including white-glove services like product installation. Moving heavy items into the home is also an easy revenue booster.
Be sure to price these items so that they account for the delayed delivery schedule. It might also be beneficial to schedule potential white-glove deliveries as a final stop to ensure all other customers receive items on time.
3. Train the Team
Train your drivers to be professional in residential neighborhoods. Homeowners Associations can help or hurt the delivery process depending on how drivers respect their neighborhoods.
Encourage experienced drivers to share best practices on things like parking, interacting with pets and customer privacy. Drivers should always wear uniforms.
Uniforms both market your business and help build trust with your customers.
2. Focus on Safety
Driver safety can’t be stressed enough. Hold regular safety meetings for drivers especially during peak shipping seasons.
The rush of the holidays combined with the loss of afternoon daylight can be a hotbed for car accidents. Listen to driver comments and complaints about issues they face so you can work towards immediate solutions.
Receiving customer alerts, navigation instructions, and other distractions can create unnecessary anxiety in the delivery team as they drive. These distractions are unavoidable but each can be managed with a solid system for checking communication along the route.
Drivers are the backbone of your business. Make sure they feel safe and supported while out on the road.
1. Get Feedback
They say you can’t please everyone, but every business owner knows that even trying can mean big rewards. Mishaps will happen but responding with next-level customer service sets you apart from competitors.
In a feedback-centered world, customers expect their opinions to be heard. Get ahead of the curve by prompting customers to leave feedback.
Always offer to follow up with an email or phone call to unhappy customers. Never let a driver handle a customer conflict directly.
Require that any driver on the team report customer needs to management so that they can be handled immediately. The positive reviews you receive become a powerful online marketing tool for recruiting new business to your company.
How Fast is Fast?
Customers have a range of expectations in delivery times. It’s important to have a wide range of fulfillment options available for last-mile deliveries.
Same day and one-day deliveries put you on par with major online retailers. The key is understanding the price you need to set to profit on these express services.
For more information on last-mile delivery options, please check out our services.