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Delivery: The next brand frontier

As someone who works for a company dedicated to making the delivery experience slick, and as a mareketeer who understands the huge value of brand, it never fails to amaze me that delivery is still so often treated as an afterthought.

In my mind it should be right up there as a brand priority. 

Because a customer’s delivery experience is their final touchpoint with your brand – their lasting memory of how much you value their business. So the post transactional journey should be given every bit as much thought as the huge effort that is put into the CX until the point an item is paid for.

A staggering 73% of UK adults say a positive customer experience is more important than the product (Lithium). Yet at the moment, we have a completely split approach to that experience. Millions of hours and pounds are dedicated to the pre-purchase experience, yet the post transaction delivery experience is frequently treated as an add on.

All too often I click on a website having been seduced by stunning Instagram images, find page after page of beautiful ‘shop window’ with simple navigation that makes it enjoyable (and all too easy!) for me to find numerous items in my basket in minutes. Payment is also slick and painless since saving my card details. And then it comes to delivery….

Being a ‘never at home’ kind of person, I’m frequently staggered by how difficult it is for me to unearth alternative options to home delivery. And I’m not the only one.  Over 30% of Millenials and Gen X would choose ‘an alternative pick up location’ as their preferred delivery option if offered.

Post transaction communication is also frequently sparse and sporadic and the actual delivery experience (even from the most luxurious brands) is a let down to say the least. The onus is on me to scroll through mountains of emails to find my collection code, my parcel is frequently tossed at me by someone who clearly doesn’t care if I’m lucky enough to meet the postman rather than getting the dreaded missed delivery note.

How easy would it be to rectify each of these things to sustain that ‘brand glow’ I had when I browsed Instagram at the very beginning of my customer journey?

So here’s my personal manifesto for any brand looking to make the final touchpoint as memorable and positive as the first:

  1. Choice is everything: Give your customers options because a third of them are looking beyond home delivery.
  2. Communication is key: Your customer cares about what they’ve just bought.  Make sure they know you do too. Let them know about each step of their parcel’s journey from you to them.
  3. Make the experience pain free: Take the onus and stress off your customer.  Work with a pick-up-drop-off (PUDO) provider who can send automatic collection QR codes the minute your customer nears the point where they can collect their parcel.
  4. Make it personal: Ensure you work with a PUDO partner who trains their people to treat your customers every bit as well as you would greeting them in person.
  5. Go the extra mile: This is your final brand touchpoint so make it one that leaves a warm glow. A simple personalised note could make the difference between your customer considering other brands for their next purchase or being loyal to you for years to come

And why is all of this so important? I’ll leave you with a sobering fact: According to American Express, happy customers tell an average 11 people about a positive experience while unhappy customers tell an average 15 people about a poor experience.

So let’s make 2019 the year we stop seeing CX as a game of two halves. Instead let’s start seeing every step of the customer journey, including the end point, as valuable touchpoints at which customers hearts and minds can be won over or lost forever.