Getting your message through: Using real-time data to deliver first time, every time

Simon Brennan
Author: Simon Brennan
Simon Brennan has more than 14 years’ experience in the customer engagement sector, working with a wide variety of companies from tech start-ups to FTSE100 organisations. He is an expert in improving corporate customer communication, using technology to supercharge internal processes and deliver increased sales. Simon has a strong track record of successfully delivering cross-channel communication solutions for Engage Hub's corporate customer base, across multiple divisions within an organisation.

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We’ve all seen it: “Order by 10pm for delivery tomorrow”. These days, customers hardly need to leave the house to get their shopping, unless they want to – anything they order will turn up, either to their doorstep or another location of their own choosing, at a time they specify.

This desire for immediacy and convenience, and the competitiveness of the market, continually driving down costs, places retailers and their logistics partners under greater pressure than ever before.

Indeed, customer pricing came top in a recent survey by Deloitte of the top three issues which supply chain leaders and professionals find very or extremely challenging – followed closely by faster response times and rising customer service expectations.

So how do logistic companies get ahead? The key is to streamline every aspect of operations – and one important way of doing that is to harness the power of mobile messaging. Whether it’s two-way SMS, MMS or push notifications, mobile messaging is a great way to optimise performance – and therefore customer satisfaction – by providing simple communication, internally and externally, at all stages of the process.

A good example of this approach being successfully used is shown with our long-standing client, Hermes, the UK’s leading consumer delivery specialist, which adopted cloud-based, cross-channel technology to deliver real-time parcel information via a mobile app, e-mail and SMS messaging. The cross-channel approach enabled them to find the most effective route to engage with individual customers and ensure those customers are kept informed every step of the way. As Mark Pettit, Director of Sales & Marketing for Hermes comments:

“We wanted to let the customer know exactly where their parcel was and when it would be delivered. We work on behalf of most of the UK’s retailers and handle more than 200 million collections and deliveries each year and we wanted to start engaging more with the consumer directly to grow brand recognition. We were keen to have an attractive, dual-branded email function and I believe that we have satisfied this with the work we have done with Engage Hub”.

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And the effects of this are even more pronounced if this communication is based on real-time data held in POS systems and predictive analytics. These resources give companies access to an incredible array of risk factors, such as historical weather statistics which will help identify high-risk geographies that might cause delivery delays. Overlay this, and key supply chain data such as supplier information and production flows, into a truly intuitive platform, and the capability is now there to calculate real-time delivery – and then communicate updates to customers automatically via mobile messaging, email or even Facebook Messenger.

This variety of communications channels is key, as the supplier can choose the one the customer prefers – whether it’s to tell them everything is on schedule or to avoid a costly redelivery by, for example, offering drop-off at a local collection point with secure lockers if for any reason the original delivery window isn’t achieved.

This can also work in reverse too; as the customer is pro-actively entered into a two-way conversation with the company so they can notify the delivery driver if their circumstances change on the day, meaning they won’t miss an important delivery and there won’t be a costly operational process for the company.

This ability to proactively manage the customer journey is key to instilling loyalty among ever-more discerning customers who just won’t accept a poor experience – they’ll simply shop elsewhere.

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