Industry views | 29 June 2018
Picture this, you walk into a furniture showroom with a plan to buy a new sofa. The sofas in store are great and you’ve found the perfect one- it’s going to look amazing in your newly decorated living room. The team in store is fantastic. They take the time to go over colour and fabric choices and discuss the practicalities of actually delivering your sofa. After all that, you leave the shop happy with your choice, satisfied with your customer experience and now eagerly awaiting updates on delivery.
So, what happens now?
For retailers today, the last mile delivery of a product is as important as the rest of the retail experience. In many instances it becomes the lasting impression a customer has of a brand. And for big ticket items such as furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, it’s vital to ensure the customer is as happy with the product in their home as they were when they ordered it in store. (Not least because the cost and impact upon brand value of returns is still a process many retailers are trying to truly understand.)
In many instances this delivery part of the process is handled not by the retailer themselves, but rather by a logistics specialist. From what was once a simple drop-off service, today’s delivery technician has a multifaceted role which includes customer service, sales knowledge and technical knowhow to construct or add those important finishing touches within the home.
For Wincanton, as logistics experts, we appreciate the importance of delivering your end to end brand into the home. As far as we’re concerned there should be no difference in the level of service a customer receives from an attentive sales assistant in store, to the communication, care and service we provide completing the final delivery.
To achieve this, we take a two-fold approach.
Firstly, we recruit based on behaviour and not just the technical ability. We give our delivery teams the very best training possible. From health & safety training to handle and deliver heavy items, in what can sometimes be tricky locations, to hands-on training days assembling furniture. And on top of this technical training, we ensure our delivery teams are given customer service training which ensures the brand experience for the end customer is nothing short of seamless. After all, it’s not just the furniture our colleagues are delivering, it’s your brand experience into your customer’s living room.
And of course, underpinning this is the deployment of technology solutions to support the entire process. Your consumer today expects a choice in delivery window, communicated well ahead of time, and appropriate updates to confirm the progress of an order up to the point of delivery. Above all the consumer expects you to deliver against this promise. Every time. This is not possible without IT systems allowing flow of data to create an accurate view of the product journey.
Customer expectations are constantly evolving and increasingly complex in the digital world we live in today. What remains a constant, from the first days of the village shop to the global retailers of today, is the need for excellent customer service. Does your last mile deliver that critical customer experience too?