A perfect product “requires caring, friendly people to deliver it,” according to Micah Solomon writing in Forbes. Organization and timeliness matter, too. From the cab to the box, a professional impression is key to building a positive customer experience in last mile delivery.
Cristian, who operates a last mile carrier business in Avenel, NJ, believes a successful approach starts with respect – “respect for employees, respect for customers, and respect customers’ property.”
That respect is manifested through a host of details. It’s all about the truck, the product, the team, and professional courtesies. To begin with, first impressions are the strongest impressions. Solomon in Forbes explains it this way, “If a business blows it when it comes to first impressions, it may never get a chance to proceed any further with the customer.” He adds, “The final moments with a customer are of great importance as well.”
Take a closer look at some best practices that create a win-win for FIDELITONE—and for last mile carrier partners.
Last Mile Carrier Truck
In truth, the customer is likely to see the truck before they even meet the driver. To partner with FIDELITONE as a last mile carrier, a company must have a white box truck with a lift gate, among other requirements. (See Start and Grow Your Carrier Business for details.) Think of that truck as if it were going out for prom night. Is it impeccably clean? Cristian washes his truck weekly and scrubs the wheels for a perfect appearance. Are the lights working? No fluids leaking? Are you following common courtesies, like not parking in the driveway?
Says Cristian, before starting out, “I check the truck. I confirm the tires look good and lights and gauges are working. Then I fuel up. A clean and properly operating vehicle is important for the customer and will help keep you in compliance with DOT regulations.”
To ensure timely deliveries and manage the costs of your business, pay careful attention to preventive maintenance (PM) and keep accurate records. J.J. Keller & Associates offers a detailed PM schedule for fleet operators. A systematic approach to PM can prevent breakdowns, unexpected repair costs, and violations. It helps your team stay safe and on time.
Keep your truck equipped with the tools for the job, advises Cristian, and organize tools and supplies neatly. “I keep blankets, shrink wrap, tape, gloves, dolly, and my back support belt against the wall. In my cab, I rely on my mobile app, GPS, and my helper.” Cristian even keeps a step ladder in the truck for assembling bunk beds.
Protecting the product you’re delivering is crucial to the customer experience. “Some furniture we deliver blanket-wrapped, and some we keep in the box,” says Cristian. Wrapping happens from the bottom up. “All merchandise is organized by stop. The last stop is loaded in the truck first—and first stop last. We load heavy items on the bottom and light items above, always being aware of fragile items and glass.”Also, “All merchandise is strapped to the wall of the truck so it’s secure during transit,” says Cristian. “Heavy items may be double-strapped.” It’s important to be sure any product in movement is protected, whether that be on the truck or on the way into the home.
A strong team operates on the motto, “Look good. Feel good. Do good.” Grooming is essential, as is professional dress. Cristian’s team wears a black undershirt, black pants, black shoes, and black socks. “After load out, I inspect each person’s appearance,” says Cristian. “We put on our uniform shirt and brush our pants or shorts to ensure they are clean before starting deliveries. We have multiple shirts, depending on the season. An all-leather belt with a metal-free buckle is important so we don’t scratch furniture. At the end of the day, I ask the team what they are wearing tomorrow so we will all be ready to look professional every day.”
For a customer receiving a home delivery, the driver is the brand, explains KMI Learning. “Drivers typically spend more time with customers than sales people,” they note, so they are often viewed as the face of the brand. A bad experience can harm online reviews and future sales—not only with this customer, but with others, too, as people share their experiences. Conversely, a great experience can earn customer loyalty and propel future sales.
That’s good for your carrier business, too. Cristian finds, “The more you make customers feel comfortable, the happier they will be. And they may ask you back for their next delivery.” Practices Cristian recommends:
- Remember you are a guest in the customer’s home. Introduce yourself and your team.
- Use “sir” or “ma’am”
- Smile. Talk to customers. Make them feel comfortable.
- Inform customers of the process.
- If you need to move a piece of furniture—ask first.
- Thank customers and ask if they need anything else before you leave.
Other tips to protect the customer’s home: Protect the floor with blankets before moving; put on booties just before entering the home; wear white gloves; avoid pushing or dragging the merchandise. Take trash with you, leaving the customer’s home as perfect as it was before you arrived.
Cristian’s team makes use of a mobile app for last mile delivery. Not only does it set the stage with clear, timely communications to manage customer expectations, he says, “It’s important for installation instructions, to photograph completed installations, and for signature capture on the POD.”
Earning Customer Loyalty
In reality, according to Cover Wallet, “Consumers are expecting more and more from delivery services as the mentality has shifted from a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to a ‘do-it-for-me’ one.”
Cristian feels there’s a simple bottom line to earning customer loyalty: “Never give up—on a delivery or your goals. And do the right thing.” There’s pride in being a last mile carrier partner, Cristian feels. “The business to business last mile carrier partnership with FIDELITONE has been great. They were the first company I contracted with after starting my own business.”
If your company has the service attitude and professional approach required to create an awesome customer experience, you could be a fit for partnering with FIDELITONE in last mile delivery. With opportunities available across the country and the ability to work locally, your own last mile carrier business can benefit and grow. “It’s a professional relationship,” says Cristian. Want to learn more? We look forward to hearing from you!