The Changing Faces Of Last Mile Customer Experience

In the world of assembly lines, everybody has an explicit job. One person puts on a part, one person adds a piece, another person checks that they’re all set to spec, and someone in quality control fixes any downstream problems. All of these actors play their roles independently. Aside from the fixer downstream, a team member on a well-oiled assembly line doesn’t need to know what the upstream or downstream assembly teams do. They just contribute their part and pass the item down the conveyor belt.

The worlds of customer experience management (CXM) and delivery experience management (DEM) are not an assembly line and there is no “quality control” at the end of the journey. The end of the line is the customer. And yet, many modern retailers still operate in a siloed world, where collaboration across functional teams isn’t inherent. Do you know how this is affecting your LTV?

What Customers Remember: The Delivery Disaster

It is too often the case that customer care, logistics and digital teams work independently of each other, handling one component of the business and putting a partially completed item on the conveyor belt. This does not result in a customer-centric supply chain, where customer satisfaction metrics like CSAT and NPS are also used to measure supply chain effectiveness.

Customers don’t know this. They don’t understand that the eCommerce team handles managing sales and loyalty, the care team handles WISMO calls, and that supply chain is responsible for making everything run smoothly and keeping cost to serve low.

They do, however, know a delivery disaster when it happens  and it’s unlikely they’ll trust a brand that doesn’t deliver enough to ever come back. 83% of customers will not return after just one poor delivery experience, which all teams within the organization should care about — not just supply chain.

Tackling Last Mile Issues in Silos

Imagine three separate people working at the same company. Two are sitting in different rooms of the same building opening up spreadsheets containing every delivery order or tracking details, and the other — the customer service manager — is sitting in a different building. One person gets reporting on exceptions, and can manually update the spreadsheet. Another person inputs segmentation and retention information. Another tracks customer complaints as they come in. Similar to the conveyor belt scenario, these three people don’t interact with each other on a daily basis or check in on what initiatives each is working on.

During my first few months at Convey, I traveled across the U.S. to see how retailers worked together to make last mile experiences seamless for their customers, and I learned that this scenario is the reality for many of them.  The lack of cross-departmental communication not only impacts workflow, but it also causes all teams to operate with out-of-date information. It impedes them from finding a better solution to a very connected issue. It was as if everyone was speaking a different language.

We recently fielded a survey with EFT that corroborated these results. We found that 96% consider Customer Experience (CX) to be important, and 87% believe access to shared data and improved collaboration between teams is important to long-term success.

At the Gartner Supply Chain Conference and in our EFT report, we saw that the customer journey is starting to impact logistics and supply chain thinking, with supply chain leaders now working to make eCommerce customer satisfaction a priority.

Still, supply chain, customer care, and eCommerce don’t often work together, and they have a long way to go to make their priorities a reality. 60% of customer service and logistics teams don’t share delivery feedback or data about distressed packages with each other, and even less teams share information with eCommerce. Even more alarming — only 5% felt like technology could help them to share this information.

Enabling Everyone to Speak the Same Language

As I continue to talk with retailers, I realize how important it is to help everyone speak the same language, in the same place. Customer service representatives shouldn’t have to write down information in eighteen different tabs so that everyone has the information they need. They also shouldn’t have to call carrier phone trees every time there is a WISMO call.

Likewise, logistics teams shouldn’t have to guess if enhanced options, such as one-day delivery, are going to save them customers in the long-run.

WISMO creates a delivery disaster related to eCommerce's Tracking Pages

The beauty of Delivery Experience Management (DEM) is that it puts the data in one place so that everyone can speak the same language and take action on possible issues that come up — they conquer the same problems. We’re excited to surface up analytics and insights for all users, within the same platform, in order to help retailers provide better ROI for their consumers.

Evolving Lip Service on “Customer First” Supply Chain into Action

According to project management companies like Clarizen, “In these cases, data can sometimes be the “lowest common denominator” that bridges these teams and helps them understand that, essentially, they are working together and need to support each other’s success.”

“Delivery Experience Management means that as a company, we’re able to deliver on an expectation that a customer has when they decide to purchase with our company.” -Greg Dahlstrom, VP of Logistics at Bodybuilding.com

We have already seen the power of Delivery Experience Management (DEM) in connecting teams together to create better, data-driven outcomes for their customers that every department can be proud of:

  • Bodybuilding.com uses DEM to proactively take action on shipments that would otherwise be delivery disaster for customers, and has raised NPS by over 6%.
  • Grove Collaborative gives their Customer Happiness team visibility to tackle over 110,000 exceptions per month, saving them time to initiate retention-related activities. They have grown their AOV by 50% as a result.
  • UncommonGoods analyzes which shipments destined to miss major holiday promise dates like Mother’s Day, and alerts customers that there’s a new shipment coming.
  • A Major Home Appliance Brand is using DEM to create better delivery appointment scheduling experiences, reducing transit days for its carriers.

According to Greg Dahlstrom, VP of Logistics at Bodybuilding, Delivery Experience Management is as simple as ensuring that the customer has a positive experience and keeps coming back. In an interview, he says: “Delivery Experience Management means that we’re able to deliver on an expectation that a customer has when they decide to purchase with our company.”

Meaningful Results for Supply Chain Metrics

With our product doing the hard work of highlighting what needs attention retailers can focus on what to prioritize in their last mile operations. Retailers no longer have to rely on manual steps and scans — they can use intelligent data, AI, and automation to drive better decisions.

Having this data updated in real-time becomes a great equalizer for all teams to go forth and implement positive customer experiences and improve metrics that matter, such as NPS, customer retention, transit time, on-time performance, WISMO, and more. Everyone can work together to make the supply chain a better experience for customers instead of working in an assembly line. Your customers will notice the difference!

Anna Bourland Portrait
About the Author

Anna Bourland

With over a decade of experience in retail, eCommerce and logistics, Anna is passionate about building software products that bring people closer to their customers and ecosystem partners. She looks forward to solving the challenges that organizations, both large and small, encounter in today’s modern transportation and delivery environment. Away from her desk, she mentors aspiring Product Managers, loves on her 12 year old lab and dreams of living in Portugal.