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The Importance of Having a Good Delivery Experience

The Importance of Having a Good Delivery Experience

If you’re in the business of selling furniture and appliances, you already know that it can be a challenge to get the product from the warehouse to your customer’s house in one piece. If something breaks, it will cost you time and money, and your customer won’t be happy about it!

The phone is going to ring, you will argue with your delivery partners… and the customer service…and the customer…we know. 

However, when customers have a positive delivery experience with you, they’re more likely to come back to buy from you again in the future and even recommend you to their friends. But what can you do to ensure that every customer has a good delivery experience? 

Here are some tips to help improve your delivery process.

What makes for a good delivery?

 

COMMUNICATION

For a delivery experience to be truly great, your customer needs to be informed and kept in the loop at all times. They don’t want to wait at home all day only to learn that their delivery is pushed to the next day. Part of a great customer experience is being able, to be honest with your customers and provide them with regular updates on where their delivery is. Empowering your customers by giving them all the information they need will go a long way. Should a problem arise, they would be informed.

So how can you ensure that all your customers are kept updated? 

With great technology of course!

If chosen well, your route management software should put less strain on your drivers (meaning less thinking) and fewer missed deliveries (meaning more satisfied customers). The upshot? Better logistics = better customer service = happier customers = more sales in the long run!

The tricky part of it all though is dealing with your third-party delivery partner and you need to understand that, in the end, they are the face of your company.

So how to choose the right delivery partner?

One of the many reasons for a customer to choose a store over another is the complete experience. Your delivery partners play a big role in delivering that experience. 

Many furniture and appliances retailers choose to outsource their delivery and install teams but the most important thing to consider is choosing a partner that will give your customer’s an experience that fits your brand image.

Be very clear about what you want from your delivery partner and how they should deliver their service. Avoid long-term commitments and conduct regular performance checks.

But, do you really have time to do all of this…

How technology is saving the day

With the proper tools, it’s possible for companies to monitor and improve the delivery experience on a daily basis. Clear processes are required in any organization in order for you to expect any results, especially when dealing with third parties. As mentioned, the chosen delivery partner is the last person that your customers will interact with.

Our platform is packed with features enabling you to put in place these processes that your delivery team will be required to follow. Some features can even protect your company against customer damage claims due to your third party.  Every step of the delivery journey is logged in your customer’s profile, such as; the customer signature at handover for acceptance of the product and missing items, pictures of the product’s condition after it was delivered, pictures of the house before the delivery, and many more. This enables you to have all information at hand for an immediate response.

Another key feature is giving your customer an immersive experience while waiting for their delivery. Customize the automated SMS and tracking page with your colors and logo!

In the end, you can choose to give your customer’s the chance to rate the experience they had with your delivery team, this way you can always improve. This is also great to give the customer the chance to talk with your team and be heard rather than jumping on social networks.

 

Helpful tips for better route planning

Helpful tips for better route planning

If you’re serious about last-mile deliveries, you really need a dedicated route planning app that’s designed with the needs of logistics operations in mind. 

Route planning is essential to the success of any business. The better your routes are planned out, the more productive your delivery team will be and the more satisfied your customers will be with your service. 

Here are some helpful tips to help you create better route plans and increase productivity in your organization.

Group your Destinations

One of the first and easiest ways to optimize your route planning is by grouping your destinations together. Grouping locations that are near to each other will make the route much more efficient.

It’s easy, place all your order on a map such as Google Map or our platform Gomove. Notice which delivery destinations are close to each other and try to assign each group to a different delivery team if you have multiple trucks. If not, it would be best to have a day of the week dedicated to the northern part of the city and another day dedicated to the southern part. In that way, drivers will be delivering orders to nearby locations rather than driving back and forth from one side of town to the other.

Stick to your commitments

You should aim to deliver in the promised time and if there is an emergency you should inform your customer as soon as possible. A customer waiting at home in the dark will be angry and call all day. Your reputation is at stake here.

Over-booking is easily the most common reason why deliveries need to be re-scheduled. For proper planning and to make sure everyone is being delivered on time, you need to know how long it usually takes to deliver a customer and how long, on average, an installation is if you offer this service. 

You also need to know if the items you are planning to send will all fit in the truck! Although this can be done manually with an experienced dispatcher, anyone can do it with the proper delivery management platform. In the industry, this is called capacity management and will allow you to fill all your trucks to capacity and therefore be more efficient.

Finally, never forget to schedule some extra buffer time into your delivery schedule just in case something goes wrong.

Keep control over your delivery team

Drivers are, most of the time, 3rd party partners. Don’t let them decide on how the route will be done. It’s your business and your customers. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you have no control over people that represent your brand! Keeping control of your drivers and communicating the changes to them can be done via our platform.  

Again, communication is key to your success. If your delivery team is not aware of the initial plan or if there are last-minute changes to the route, they should be informed rapidly. From experience, we know how difficult it can be to deal with third-party, and the better the process establish between your company and them is, the better the results will be.

Understanding your city

You know your city, you know the busy area, you know the busy bridges. Build your routes the same way you would plan your own commute trip. Sometimes starting your deliveries in the borough further from downtown and away from the morning traffic can increase your efficiency by 30% easily.

An understanding of your city’s streets and urban geography can be an invaluable part of building routes that minimize traffic and maximize efficiency. A route management software is perfect to get a better view of choke points and popular intersections. It helps you to identify where there might be delays and increase travel time and allow you to modify delivery routes on the fly! Even subtle changes can make big differences, saving drivers at least one hour per day in increased productivity and saving big on gas!

Key points

  1. Route planning is essential to the success of any business. 
  2. Group your destinations together
  3. Stick to your commitments
  4. Keep control over your delivery team
  5. Build your routes the same way you would plan your own commute trip.

Now that you’re an expert in last-mile delivery logistics, give yourself the gift of efficiency.

If you wish to learn more about our turn-key solution. Try us out, it’s free!

Tips for Order Preparation And Avoid Common Mistakes

Tips for Order Preparation And Avoid Common Mistakes

Some mistakes in furniture delivery are not due to the delivery team but rather by the planning itself during the preparation stage. Lots of unnecessary costs could be easily avoided simply by following a simple process.

So, how do you prepare your orders? 

Any business needs the right tools to make the job easier and more efficient. For businesses that deal with orders and shipping, they have to ensure that their orders are properly filled and sorted in order to prevent errors when they are shipped to customers. These tips will help you prepare your customer’s orders efficiently and without errors so that you can provide top-notch service.

The right software can make all the difference

Using a paper list to find items in your warehouse and preparing your routes is one way, but there’s better. 

Picture an all-in-one integrated solution looking not only at optimizing the delivery routes but is also helping with preparing the orders of your customers. It is not uncommon to forget an item in your customer’s order, either by the preparation team or the delivery team. If this rings a bell, you’ll probably want to invest in an integrated solution. 

A software suite like Gomove can help your team during the route/order preparation phase by providing simple preparation checklists of all the items in a customer’s order and it can even create the custom shipping labels you need. You can first create one or many routes with the various route planning functionalities and then work on the preparation of your orders. This way, you are overseeing both the order preparation phase and the delivery phase. Each checklist is shared with the warehouse manager and logged into the software.

As a business owner, you need to make sure that each order is prepared accurately and on time. Investing in a software will help reduce mistakes and reduce your return rate.

Identify properly each item and box

This step is absolutely crucial. A customer’s order can be composed of one or many items. Although it’s easy in the warehouse to see which item belongs to which customer due to having space, inside of a truck it is not that clear.

For that reason, you need to properly identify each item either by writing directly on the box or by printing labels and sticking them on the items. That way your driver will be sure to deliver each item to your customers without missing one.

Another quick tip is to write the number of boxes in each order. For example, if an order has 4 boxes, they should all be labeled with the following; 1 of 4, then the next box 2 of 4, etc. Your driver will be sure not to lose track and know when one order ends and another begins. This step could also go hand in hand with a barcode scanner, which can easily scan and identify each item by using dedicated our software and put it on a digital checklist that your truck driver will take advantage of during the delivery process.

Is it actually possible to deliver in time what you’ve planned?

Over-booking is easily the most common reason why deliveries needs to be re-schedule. Delivering furniture as opposed to delivering small boxes is not the same, it takes so much more time and space in a truck. Rather than delivering 100 small boxes in a day, you may end up delivering the furniture of 10 customers? On top of that, if your company offers installation services, that extra time needs to be taken into consideration.

For proper planning and to make sure everyone is being delivered on time, you need to know how long it usually takes to deliver a customer and how long, on average, an installation is. You also need to know if the items you are planning to send will all fit in the truck! Although this can be done manually with an experienced dispatcher, anyone can do it with Gomove. 

Finally, never forget to schedule some extra buffer time into your delivery schedule just in case something goes wrong. Better safe than sorry as they say…

Plan twice, deliver once!

I hope these tips help you with proper planning as they helped me. These are methods that have worked well for our clients and if applied will bring efficiency to your order preparation process!

Do any of these tips work for your company? What other tips do you have on order preparation that might help others? Share in a comment below.

Try the full Gomove suite for free and start crushing your competition!

Reducing your returns and their cost

Reducing your returns and their cost

 

Product returns are expensive and disruptive. Making sure you’re prepared to handle returns effectively will save you lot’s of money down the road. 

Returns are sometimes referred to as reverse logistics. It is the process by which an end-user returns an item for any number of reasons. Once the item has been returned, depending on the product and the situation, you must decide whether to repair or refurbish it, resell it at a discount rate, or destroy it. You must also decide what type of action to take with your customers, such as offering a refund or exchange, a store credit, or product repair. 

Lastly, you need to know why it happened and what was the cause of it. Here are some tips to help you reduce your product returns and manage them if they do occur.

Understand the problem

Returns will cost you money and possibly even your customers, so it’s important to understand why your products are being returned. Just over 10% of total sales will be returned. Returns are the new normal and central to customer experience. But they don’t have to be a plague.

Some of the returns could likely be reduced or completely eliminated through better processes. Here are some tips to reduce them;

  • Inspect the products before the delivery
  • Inspect the packaging of the product to ensure safe delivery
  • Make sure the labeling of your products is accurate and clear
  • Ensure your customers are at home for the delivery, to avoid re-scheduling
  • Train your delivery team to spot defects on products during the loading
  • Hold accountable your delivery team for any damage during delivery

 

Then, there are the returns that you can’t control. For example, when a buyer purchases a product but then has a change of heart through.

For these returns, there isn’t much you can do, but you could reduce the window of time a customer has to return the item. Some studies show that the longer a customer has a product, the more of an attachment they form with it—meaning they’ll be less likely to return it. This is called the endowment effect.

 

Understand the cost of returns

Returns are extremely costly in terms of the bottom line but also for your customer loyalty. Maintaining customer satisfaction with a good return policy is important, and customers love when a business offers free returns.

 

 

Why is it so costly?

From the time spent dealing and understanding the situation with the customer, to the time and money spent managing the refurbishment or repair of the product, to the cost incurred by the delivery team going back a second time to your customer to return the product and then go back again to deliver the new/repaired product, to the discount/store credits offered to your customers. The costs keeps on pilling up!

Studies show that a majority of customers won’t purchase from your store if you charge them return shipping fees, so a store credit or a discount could be a better solution considering all the cost involved in returning a product. However, if you choose to make customers pay for the shipping back, you will get fewer returns as a lot of people don’t want to deal with it. This may deter some customers from becoming repeat buyers, but will also save you a lot of money.

 

Create Your Return Policy

A clear and transparent return policy is a key component of delivering a great customer experience. We often see companies add returns as an afterthought, but it should be thought right from the start. You need a return policy that’s clearly communicated in your marketing and on your website. It should address things like shipping, damaged products, replacement costs, etc.

 

 

It should also be included on any partner sites you sell on or with your delivery partners. You could also enclose a hard copy with the product when shipping. Allowing the customer to see how long they have to return items helps avoid aggravation in the future by allowing them to understand our return policies.

 

Broken or Damaged Items

This is inevitable, as it will happen. Hopefully, you have a good supplier of products and a good shipping partner who delivers your products quickly without any damage to your customers.

When customers contact you to say they received a damaged item, I recommend that you ask them to send a picture of it as well as the packaging to figure out the problem. The problem could be that the product was damaged during the shipment between your supplier and your store or it could have been damaged by your delivery team during the customer’s delivery.

If you want to learn more on how to deal with damaged items and how to avoid those mistakes, we’ve covered in-depth these topics in our article Can you trust your third-party delivery partner?

 

How tech can help you reduce your cost

As you’re trying to keep returns under control as you grow, make sure you’re organized.

Before I say anything else, make sure you find product returns management software. With the right software, it’ll be easy to track your returns and reduce them over time. Gomove is not only a delivery management software, but it can also manage your returns.

 

 

For those just starting out, a product returns management software contains all the customers’ information and for each return, it will create a unique reference number allowing to keep track of everything. 

Gomove is not only designed for the delivery process but also manages returns effectively. Each week, our software generates a report informing you on the number of returns, their estimated costs, the main reasons for the returns, and most importantly which products are causing these returns.

Transparency in the delivery process should also be afforded to the returns management process. If customers want to know the status of their return or exchange, make sure that your chosen software provides them visibility by providing tracking information. You can also set up automatic and customizable alerts via our text messaging to keep them informed during their return journey.

Returns are the new norm

If you ever find yourself dealing with returns and exchanges, remember that this isn’t something exclusive to your company. It’s a bummer, but we’ve all been there. Make sure to allow a little time and sketch out your policies and processes.

In the event that one of your products becomes a hit and you receive a deluge of orders, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead. Let us know your pain points when it comes to dealing with returns by reaching out to our experts!

Our software suite is more than complete because, not long ago, we were in your situation and decided to act on our pain points! We decided to build a business around this.