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Final Mile Pitfalls That Can Damage Customer Experience

In many cases, the final mile is the only part of the logistics process in which the business has any direct interaction with the customer. As a result, their customer experience – for good or bad – can paint the overall picture of a company’s service.

Two men unloading a large item from a moving truck.

The past few years have seen final mile deliveries skyrocket – and they’re expected to continue that trajectory. The market, which was valued at $18.7 billion in 2020, is expected to reach $62.7 billion by 2027. For retail businesses, this presents an extraordinary opportunity to increase sales through e-commerce – so long as their final mile operations are up to the task.

In many cases, the final mile is the only part of the logistics process in which the business has any direct interaction with the customer. As a result, their customer experience – for good or bad – can paint the overall picture of a company’s service. If the delivery is delayed, the item damaged or the driver unprofessional, the customer may be less likely to engage with that business again.

Here are three common final mile pitfalls that can damage your customers’ experience with your brand.

Delivery Crews Not Properly Trained and Equipped to Handle Large/Delicate Items

More and more, people are getting anything and everything shipped directly to their home. Some items, like paper towels or a box of diapers, can easily be delivered by virtually any driver. However, things like a refrigerator, washing machine, or headboard require a high degree of training and expertise to get them safely into a person’s home without any damage to the item or the residence.

Residential properties are new territory for many established logistics companies. A high-end home is a vastly different space to navigate than a loading dock. It’s critical that a final mile provider have extensive training procedures for crew members responsible for delivering big and bulky furniture and appliances into a residential property.

Unprofessional Delivery Staff

When people open their home for a delivery, they obviously want the item to be brought in safely, but they also expect to have a positive experience with the delivery professionals themselves. How much experience does your logistics provider have with face-to-face interactions with your customers? Do they have a good track record of providing the same level of care and attention that you expect from your own employees?

It’s important your customers’ impression of your company isn’t damaged at the last step of the supply chain – especially given all the resources spent to enhance and maintain a positive customer experience. Remember, most consumers don’t distinguish between a brand and its logistics provider. Final mile is part of their experience with your brand.

Delayed Delivery Times

Having the right equipment and assets is imperative to any final mile operation. Spikes in orders and deliveries often can overwhelm logistics providers that don’t have enough trucks or staff to handle such sudden demand. There are already enough stressors to the global supply chain impacting shipment and delivery windows, your logistics provider shouldn’t be an additional cause of delays for your customers.

The industry continues to struggle with historically low warehouse space, driver shortages, and limited availability of trucks and vans to expand or update fleets. As a result, many final mile companies are struggling to meet capacity demands, adding to delivery delays.

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Having a reliable final mile partner is critical for any retail business with current or future e-commerce plans. Adapting to such a burgeoning industry has proved challenging for many longstanding logistics companies, which is why it’s so important to closely evaluate a potential partner’s capabilities around home deliveries and customer interaction.

Allow Hilldrup to do the heavy lifting and create a final mile solution catered to meet your unique needs. Contact us today!