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The future of the ‘Last Mile’

The future of the ‘Last Mile’



Exciting challenges ahead

As the rise of e-commerce continues, more customers than ever are experiencing online delivery. 21st century customers not only expect a fast and convenient service, they also want to feel in complete control of their order.

After completing their transaction, online customers may need to change their delivery location. This is a key challenge that retailers and their delivery partners must address by adapting their services to meet this demand, and to provide an integrated service that ensures customers remain engaged and use us again in future.

Delivering great customer experiences

Delivering a great customer experience begins with ensuring transparency is maintained throughout the order and delivery process and customers are kept well-informed on the status of their delivery.

We have moved far beyond the days of tracking and customer messaging being considered an innovative solution. These are now core elements which customers expect as a minimum to underpin their delivery experience.

We see that customers regularly track their order at regular intervals until the point of delivery – whether to their homes or their chosen CollectPlus store. This tells us that customers find the reassurance we provide incredibly helpful.

Establishing transparency is a great way to overcome challenging delivery experiences, and the recent unpredictable weather conditions are a perfect example of this. When significant areas across the UK were effectively cut off the map by the ‘Beast from the East’, Yodel ensured that our customers were kept informed of any delays, and that our drivers continued to deliver parcels to customers with the same consistency and quality as usual. As a result, customer satisfaction reached an all-time high.

Keeping up with customers

Yodel is innovating right the way through our service pipeline, from ordering and checkout, to delivery and returns. We are consistently offering customers a choice throughout their shopping experience, allowing customers to change or confirm important aspects of their delivery as and when necessary.

These “inflight” options are the new normal for delivery and returns services and will ensure that customer satisfaction remains on an upward trajectory.

Thinking end-to-end

Time and time again we see a desire across the industry to look at the delivery experience in silos, however evaluating our service proposition in silos can have limited impact. Instead, all players in the industry must analyse the complete customer journey from end-to-end in order to deliver tangible improvements.

At CollectPlus, we embed “mystery shopping” within our DNA. This allows us to think and to shop in the shoes of customers, and is the core to understanding and improving the end-to-end customer experience. In a similar vein, the Yodel team have developed a great capability in end to end customer journey mapping which supports retailers’ aims in terms of great end to end experiences.

Listening to customers

We are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage with our customers, and one way we’ve adopted this at Yodel is through our unique ‘Have Your Say’ customer feedback survey, through which over 7,000 daily customers share their thoughts directly with our insights team.

It is a constant source of feedback that we can turn into insight. Insight that we can use internally to drive consistency and operational improvements, and externally by sharing key learnings with our retail partners.

With thousands of customer feedback touch points every day, across all our brands and services, I find that we have access to data that makes a difference. In fact, the first metric we review every morning is no longer – “right-first-time” or “delivered-on-time”.  The first and most important metric is Customer Satisfaction – this CPI – Critical (not just Key) Performance Indicator – drives our business.

What does the future hold?

Looking ahead, the logistics sector needs to pay close attention to home delivery to ensure it remains a viable choice for consumers. I think the answer lies in innovating with customers in mind to provide them the choice and convenience that they need. As a result, customers’ will be able to choose where and when they would like their orders delivered. Focusing on operational flexibility and technology will enable us to provide customers with what they are looking for and what they really need.

We all have a growing responsibility to ensure that we are supporting retailers and ultimately inspiring customer confidence for their future deliveries – wherever they might be. We are collaborating for customers across our business and within our retail partnerships.

*This feature is in our SHD Logistics April app issue. Read the full issue here.

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