Santa’s Little Helper – Is he here yet?

Lack of Courtesy and Convenience in Home Delivery and Home Services causes huge consumer anxiety, costs £Bns and is entirely avoidable

Waiting in causes anxiety and wastes valuable time

santas little helperAs a consumer, waiting in for something or someone important can be extremely anxious, let alone inconvenient and a massive waste of time. And at Xmas, that anxiety only gets bigger. You’ve got a time slot but have no idea whether they are really going to turn up within this time or at all. It’s your mobile phone, the present for your son, its the man to fix the boiler or even your health worker.

missed orderYou get to the point where you wonder whether or not you should risk going to the toilet or even putting the washing out in the back garden, or popping out for 5 mins to get the milk you’ve just run out of? Only to frustratingly to find that card on the doormat. Arrgh!!!

You’re being processed, not cared for

What’s worse is when you realise that a friend just wouldn’t do that to you. They might tell you they’ll come in the afternoon, but they’d have the courtesy to text or call on the way and tell you if they were running late, or “I’ll be with you in 10mins”.

And you’d have the confidence to text back and say “just popping out back in 5”. And if something unexpected happens they wouldn’t just leave you there waiting, they’d let you know. If they can do it why can’t large organisations?

And this drives consumer contact

Anxious consumers want help and reassurance that you’re coming. If you can find a number they will call and these ratios range from as little as 1 in 20 to 1 to 1 Contacts/Order. (Source: H2X Client experience). Obviously in a range from £1-2/contact that’s a significant additional burden. The ratio is highly dependent upon the quality of the communication process, the reliability of the delivery service and whether a number is available. At Carpeo, where we help organisations improve this contact process, we know, the call peak that comes around 5 and 6pm (called WISMO or WISME in the industry – Where is my Order/Engineer) from anxious consumers calling to ask if (s)he’s still coming is significant. I’ve seen many customers call in 6 times in the same day to be absolutely sure the item really was coming.

Hiding behind poor self-serve solutions doesn’t cut it

consumer rageMany default to automated IVR and online tracking solutions, which can be helpful and convenient. However, often these don’t give the real-time information or communication options required to give the reassurance consumers are looking for. Often only confirming information already provided, even when it’s patently obvious at 1pm that the thing isn’t coming between 10am and 12pm!

Where possible, Consumers vote with their feet

This drives further frustration and when it gets too much consumers choose to buy elsewhere. In a recent study, 50% of consumers admitted to abandoning shopping carts because of the lack of convenient delivery options. (E-Consultancy)In all research I’ve ever seen tighter time slots are attractive to consumers, so long as it doesn’t come at a cost. And if it’s important, some consumers are willing to pay extra. Across all categories, the Grocery Retailers, led by Ocado, with one hour time slots and good real-time communications are leading the way and setting consumer expectations.

Its costing businesses £Bn’s

value of failed deliveryThis is costing a fortune. A 2010 IMRG Study showed the overall cost for E-Commerce alone was over £1Bn and the average cost to a business is £1.45/transaction.

Organisations are Responding

Delivery Convenience is a key battleground for E-Commerce providers. More convenient delivery solutions are being provided. The popularity and increasing provision of click and collect services from the likes of John Lewis or Collect+ are examples. Another response is the provision of evening and Weekend delivery options. Other providers in larger items like AO.com and ArrowXL are offering next day delivery.

Couldn’t Care less?

Few delivery companies offer real-time communication updates and solutions. Some home service businesses do call ahead to say “I’m coming”. But what the consumer really wants is a half-hour time slot and real-time updates. Conventional wisdom from operators would be to say that this is impossible. But with modern mobile technology, capable of providing real-time updates of field progress, such solutions can be provided simply and cost-effectively without breaking the operation. And generally, it can be bolted onto existing systems, so a huge IT project is not required. tPoint’s, Smart Contact Platform is one such solution. Its Ding, Ding, Dong solution can provide real-time communication updates to and from consumers, contact centres and engineers/drivers seamlessly via an app, a mobile website, e-mail or text to suit the consumer’s preference, without additional time and effort. Brands using it show they care.

Customer Care Pays Off

Those that adopt this technology and become more convenient and courteous are highly likely to win and retain business, reduce failure rates and cancellations and improve profitability. These days technology and operations aren’t the barrier. Don’t all of us prefer to interact with people that care rather than those that couldn’t care less?

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