Last mile delivery is the least efficient leg of the delivery journey, according to Taara Sing (5 Ways to Streamline Last Mile Logistics). With customer experience (CX), the stakes are high. And so are the expenses—fuel, time, and labor, to name a few.
In fact, last mile delivery expenses account for 28% of the delivery cost, according to Industry Today
So how do you make Last Mile operations profitable? Routing and delivery technology can help, but you also have to apply strategic systems and common-sense SOPs to get the job done. Here are some insider tips for last mile routing success from the Last Mile experts at FIDELITONE.
#1: Know Your Routing Notes
Getting your driver to an address is not always enough, because most customers have routing notes that can make or break driver efficiency. Those instructions could be anything from which device to use to let the customer know you’re here to how to access the service elevator or who to speak with. Or it may be a specific time window or special assistance the customer requires.
Routing technology will not necessarily take these factors into account when building routes, so it’s important to review all of these delivery requirements up front. And it’s top priority. Not only are efficiency and profitability on the line—so is the customer relationship. Your attention to routing notes can make the difference between a delighted customer and an angry one.
The solution? Cultivate a strong relationship with the scheduling team. A steady flow of communication will prevent time-consuming disappointments on all sides.
#2 Know the Product
Under the cardboard, every product is different. Delivery teams are brand ambassadors for the products they deliver. Some essential things to know are:
- The size of the product being delivered
- The return or exchange policy associated with it
- What the pieces are (For example, there could be an adjustable base with a mattress or accessories to a piece of fitness equipment.)
- Time required for assembly
These factors play into how you fill the truck, too. It’s important that every truck be full—but not too full. Loading a truck requires an understanding of product weight, maneuverability, and fragility as well. Great delivery teams know their products and make smart decisions about how to stack and place products within the truck.
Some teams try to learn their products through website visits and phone calls. However, a simple way to get to know products is to visit stores where they’re sold. Seeing is understanding.
Also consider whether you want to prep for delivery or deliver in the box and unpackage products in the home. There are pros and cons to each for both cost containment and customer experience.
#3 Communicate with Delivery Teams
The best customer and product intelligence loses its steam if it’s not shared. So talk with your delivery teams about special requests, routing details, and promises made. After building delivery routes, invest the time to talk through the route and requests. Check for clarity and any questions. Communication should be thorough, positioning teams to execute routes successfully.
Of course, communication doesn’t end when teams leave the dock. Be ready and responsive as questions or problems arise throughout the day. Prompt, effective assistance translates directly into customers’ opinions and earned loyalty. Time is of the essence.
Building strong relationships with delivery teams is the cornerstone of success. Take the time to get to know the people involved; listen attentively to questions and concerns. Communication and collaborative problem-solving make for happy teams, and that’s contagious. Happy teams lead to happy customers. Happy customers lead to more customers.
Profitable Last Mile
Increasing numbers of consumers are buying online and turning to companies like yours to wow them with extraordinary service and quick turnarounds. “Furniture and appliances are among the fastest-growing segments of e-commerce,” according to an industry executive quoted in the JOC article, Facing low demand and new rules, truckers pile into last-mile logistics.
The business is there, and implementation requires resources, such as time, talent, experience, and technology. Thoughtful attention to delivery routing fuels efficient last mile processes and great customer experiences. It’s never one-and-done. Instead, it’s an ongoing process.
Want to maximize your profit and earn customer loyalty? It makes sense to invest in your routing capabilities, tools, and processes—or leverage a partner who can do that for you so you can focus on what you do best. Discover FIDELITONE’s Last Mile Delivery services, or call 800.475.0917 to speak with a Last Mile expert.