Customer experience in third-party logistics” refers to the interactions and overall experience that customers have when using third-party logistics services for their last mile (or final mile) delivery needs. As 3PL providers, we play a critical role in the supply chain by managing transportation and delivery of goods on behalf of our clients. The final mile delivery (the last leg of the supply chain process) is a crucial touchpoint that can make or break online brands as well as the end customer experience.
This article will explore the key elements that contribute to a positive customer experience in 3PL services for businesses and the end consumer. This includes the challenges that customers face, and how businesses can measure and improve their customer experience practices to drive growth and success in the industry.
Table of contents
Understanding the last mile delivery customer
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are the unsung heroes of the final mile delivery process. We ensure that products and goodies arrive at your customer’s doorstep, rain or shine. But have you ever wondered what makes for a great delivery experience? Well, it all starts with understanding the characteristics and preferences of final-mile delivery customers.
Customers are unique individuals, and they value different delivery options, such as same-day or next-day delivery. In fact, more than 50% of online customers will cancel their order or abandon their purchase from a store if you fail to provide them with fast delivery. This is one of the most critical elements of the modern customer. They also care about transparency and reliability, convenience and sustainability.
Eco-friendly delivery options are becoming increasingly popular. Understanding this specific preference, businesses can tailor their brand and 3pl services to meet customer needs and improve the overall customer experience. Selazar for example, uses plastic-free alternatives for shipping all inserts and product packaging. This touchpoint matters not only to us but many of the brands we represent as well – plus their eco-friendly customers. A good 3PL focuses on the full 360 experience for businesses and the end consumer. That means products plus carbon-responsible solutions – plus convenient returns management.
End customer pain points last mile delivery
Understanding improved customer service in last-mile delivery is to know fundamentally what is not working. Some of the most popular customer pain points in relation to shipping and delivery include:
- Late or delayed deliveries
- Inaccurate or incomplete delivery information
- Missed deliveries
- Damaged or lost deliveries
- Lack of flexibility for delivery options
- High delivery costs
A good forward-thinking 3PL will know how to spot potential issues ahead of time and integrate solutions prior – being active instead of reactive. A responsible customer-focused 3PL will always also be on the lookout for cost-efficient smart strategies on behalf of their clients and end customers. This includes something as simple as improved route optimisation for picking and packing. With Selazar, our proprietary cloud fulfilment and tech-forward 3PL processes improve warehouse functions and thus delivery times while also reducing the risk of missed deliveries. We invest in our own unique technology to make warehouse management and last-mile delivery more efficient. Using real-time tracking and data analytics, we can also monitor and improve the quality of the delivery process. But this isn’t everything of course – such as feedback. Customer feedback is also essential in improving the final mile delivery experience.
Customer feedback in third party logistics
Customer feedback is essential for any enterprise. By asking for feedback, providers can gain valuable insights into areas for improvement and address any issues that may arise. Customer feedback will spark the development of new delivery options or services that better meet customer needs. For businesses, this means having real-time updates for their deliveries within a warehouse setting (from the point of purchase to the moment of product dispatch). For the end consumer it means having the capability to also track their orders to their doorstep. By prioritising the overall customer experience from brand to the end customer, the implementation of these processes (from feedback) to improve final mile delivery will keep businesses competitive. Feedback helps providers stand out in the market and build strong, long-lasting relationships with customers. Not only will businesses create ravings fans, but brand retention rates for the end customer will improve.
With a focus on enhancing efficiency, promoting sustainable 3pl practices, meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and developing innovative warehouse management techniques, Third-Party Logistics providers will be poised to adapt to the evolving landscape of online delivery – while changing the landscape of eCommerce fulfilment on behalf of their clients.
Key elements of a positive customer experience
For 3PL clients
Providing a positive customer experience is critical for businesses to succeed. To deliver an exceptional customer experience, there are several key elements 3PL providers need to prioritise for their clients. These include:
- The quality of the services being delivered
- Ease of use and convenience
- Responsiveness to customer needs
- Technological capabilities
- Full 360 experience from shipping to returns
From custom packaging to reverse logistics and next-day delivery, it all matters. Consistency is key in these areas, and 3PLs can foster better relationships with their customers and improve last-mile delivery for brands – making it easier for them to focus on growth. The more value a 3PL provides, the more value brands get.
Brands also want flexible options for payments. They don’t want annual costs and administrative fees. They don’t want to be penalised for stock that doesn’t move too rapidly. They want clear 3pl payment options, extended credit terms, and a clear path to positive cash flow by reducing costs and eliminating insidious charges like profit sharing – such as many frustrated clients with FBA.
For the final mile customer
One of the most crucial factors contributing to a positive customer experience is communication. Customers want to know:
- Where their package is and when it will arrive. By providing real-time tracking and proactive updates throughout the delivery process, 3PL providers can keep customers informed and engaged.
- Transparency. Customers want to trust that their package is being handled with care and that any issues will be resolved quickly and efficiently. If there is an issue – it should be made known – then rectified, such as later than expected delivery times.
- Accurate delivery estimates and reliable information. Sometimes late delivery happens, but this should be avoided as much as possible, for reliability matters to the end customer. This is mandatory for building trust and ensuring a positive customer experience.
Best practices in customer experience management overall include proactive communication and responsiveness, customised options, convenience, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Measuring and improving customer experience
Measuring customer experience is essential to understand how well you’re meeting customer expectations and can then identify areas for improvement. There are several metrics used to measure customer experience, including customer satisfaction scores, net promoter scores, customer effort scores, and churn rates. These metrics provide valuable insights into how customers perceive the delivery process and help 3PL providers make data-driven decisions to improve the overall customer experience. By analysing these metrics and identifying trends, businesses can identify areas of weakness and implement changes to enhance the overall customer experience.
The benefits of measuring customer experience are clear – it helps companies stay competitive and grow their businesses. By delivering a positive customer experience built on constant auditing and feedback, 3PL providers for example will solidify customer loyalty. Then, their clients will solidify more customers and grow their brands. Satisfied customers are 81% more likely to recommend providers to others, resulting in increased referral business. Measuring customer experience will also help businesses of all kinds identify cost-saving opportunities and optimise their operations, leading to improved efficiency and profitability.
To improve the customer experience, 3PL providers should be leveraging technology and automation. Real-time tracking and notifications provide customers with accurate and up-to-date information about their delivery, reducing the risk of missed or delayed deliveries. Ease of contact also matters.
Good communication means phone calls with dedicated account managers or online chat services that provide customers with immediate support and resolution to their queries or concerns. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer to have an issue and then have to spend copious amounts of time trying to resolve it. Immediate communication and personal service will always matter, despite advances in technology. Also, better technology to streamline operations.
Automated cloud fulfilment technology offers several benefits. By leveraging cloud-based systems and automation tools, companies can streamline their operations and reduce costs, while also improving accuracy and speed of order fulfillment. This can lead to faster delivery times and more satisfied customers. Additionally, cloud-based systems provide real-time visibility into inventory levels and order status, enabling companies to better manage their supply chain and respond quickly to changing demand.
Additionally, 3PL providers can leverage data analytics and machine learning algorithms to optimise delivery routes and schedules, leading to faster delivery times and increased accuracy. By embracing technology and automation, 3PL providers will not only improve the customer experience but also reduce costs and streamline their operations
3PL last mile delivery summary
In conclusion, the customer experience in third-party logistics is a critical factor that can make or break a business in the industry. Last mile delivery customers have high expectations when it comes to the timely, accurate, and transparent delivery of their goods. To meet these expectations, businesses need to prioritise communication, transparency, and accuracy in the delivery process. By measuring and improving the customer experience, businesses can drive growth and success in the industry. This includes leveraging technology and automation, gathering customer feedback, and adopting best practices in customer experience management. Ultimately, businesses that focus heavily on customer experience will not only satisfy their customers – but also create a competitive advantage and position themselves for long-term success in their industry. Contact us for your eCommerce fulfilment needs today.