Top 5 Essential Technology-Enabled Features for Your Courier Service
In the last few years, the landscape of the delivery industry has altered dramatically.
This is in part due to increased customer demand in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, as consumers have become accustomed to ordering items online and receiving them quickly.
It is also due to rapid advances in technology, making more tools and features available.
Why do you need to know this?
Because if you’re a business looking to hire a courier company to meet this need, it’s important to be aware of the technology available.
To stay competitive, your courier service must have the most current tools and apps which allow them to effectively meet these expectations.
Here are the tech features which you should demand and expect from your courier service.
If we had to name the one technological advance which has transformed the face of the industry, it would be live tracking.
There was a time when you simply had to send out a package with absolutely no idea as to where it might travel after that. You just had to hope that it would eventually arrive at its destination.
Now those days are gone. With advanced tracking technology, you have access to detailed knowledge about every step of that journey, from the time it leaves your warehouse until the moment it arrives at your customer’s doorstep.
In most cases, this is accomplished through the use of a barcode attached to each package. Drivers and other personnel utilize handheld devices to scan this barcode at various points in the journey. This data is then transmitted to an app which both you and your customer can view conveniently from your mobile devices, tablets and/or laptop computers.
GPS (Global Positioning Systems) is another technology which no reputable courier service should be without. It correlates each barcode scan to a specific location so you can see exactly where the package is at any given time.
This technology really benefits everyone. It benefits you by making it easier to deliver exceptional customer service to all your clients. And it benefits your customers because it empowers them with the knowledge of exactly when their order will arrive.
Live tracking offers a degree of transparency that builds trust in the minds of your customers. If there should be a delay, they will be aware of it immediately and understand the reason for it. This assures them that you are doing everything in your power to ensure their product arrives in a timely fashion, and gives them a sense of control over the delivery process.
Another great benefit to live tracking is its potential to gather all kinds of data on the performance of delivery drivers and the efficiency of the delivery process. You can then utilize this data to make improvements when warranted, opening the possibility to please your customers more and more.
Before hiring any courier service, ask whether they utilize barcode scanning and GPS technology. If they do not provide these features, it’s a red flag to look elsewhere.
Tracking Notifications For Receivers
As mentioned before, most customers want to remain in the know about the precise status of their delivery.
Technology makes this possible in a variety of ways. And one important tool for this is receiver notifications.
This means that your customer receives an email or text message notifying them when delivery is complete, usually accomplished by the delivery person capturing proof of delivery (more on that later).
The completion of the delivery is the final and most important step in the process, and should be documented through tracking notifications in case there are questions after the fact.
Tracking notifications have become an even more critical service in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, many people stopped going to brick-and-mortar stores for items that they wanted or needed. Instead, they opted for the convenience and safety of ordering these items online.
However, along with that safety and convenience, consumers lost out on some aspects of the shopping experience. Most importantly, they no longer had the certainty that goes along with physically visiting a store, finding the item they wanted, and bringing it home with them.
Receiver notifications came about as a way to counteract that sense of uncertainty. If your customers are unwilling or unable to physically come to your facility to purchase what they want, frequent notifications of the item’s ETA gives them some much-needed assurance.
It also reduces or eliminates the massive inconvenience of waiting around for a package to arrive. You may recall many occasions when you had to sit around your home or business waiting for hours on end for a needed item to arrive. You will also remember how frustrating that was, and how much it hindered you from accomplishing other important tasks in your day.
With receiver notifications, customers get a narrow and precise window of time in which their package will arrive, cutting their wait down to almost nothing.
This is not only true of customers, but also of other businesses you may partner with. They need that assurance to alleviate their own uncertainty over whether they will receive a product in time to meet the needs of their own customers.
This is common practice in big companies like FedEx and Amazon, and smaller businesses are now following suit.
It’s a cliche, but it’s also true: time really is money.
So it’s in your best interest to use your time as wisely as possible, and that includes the time it takes for your courier service to make deliveries.
It’s simply a mathematical fact. The more deliveries your courier service can handle in the least amount of time, the more product you can sell, leading to more and happier customers.
There’s also the fact that you lose less money when couriers can get from destination to destination quickly without having to deal with unforeseen delays. And it cuts down on the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance, since vehicles may log fewer miles on the road.
It also allows the courier service to adequately plan for running only as many vehicles as they actually need at any given time, further reducing transportation costs.
Fortunately, GPS technology and route optimization software is now available to make this whole process easier.
This technology has become increasingly detailed, providing your courier service with up-to-the-minute information about road closures and traffic tie-ups and allowing them to plan the delivery route as effectively as possible.
Drivers can easily pivot to take a different route if necessary and avoid delays, making your delivery process that much more reliable.
As with other kinds of technology, route optimization software also has the ability to collect data about driver behaviors and safety, potentially giving you the power to prevent costly accidents before they happen.
Planning delivery routes is the most obvious benefit to using this technology, but it provides so many other capabilities, as well.
It allows the courier service to create accurate schedules for each driver as it relates not just to delivery locations, but also the capacity and load limit of each vehicle.
It increases efficiency, allowing each driver to complete the maximum number of deliveries possible.
And it gives the courier company a way to monitor the performance of each individual driver, ensuring that they are sticking to their schedules and helping them improve when necessary.
It’s not just helpful in planning delivery routes, but also in effectively rerouting, seamlessly taking drivers to an alternate route in the event of traffic or poor road conditions.
Clear Pickup And Delivery Instructions For Drivers
There’s another popular statement that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when it comes to providing accurate instructions to delivery drivers, this is definitely true.
Costly delays can happen when there is confusion about where to pick up an item or where to deliver it.
While communicating such instructions might seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how often one simple miscommunication or misunderstanding can mess up a delivery.
This is even more important when you consider the sheer volume of deliveries that a driver is responsible for on a given day. This means a larger volume of instructions to convey with less time to give them and make sure they are understood.
Here again, technology offers solutions. Automated messages deliver clear instructions to drivers regarding addresses, routes, schedules and special handling of items.
The driver can refer to these messages as often as possible to ensure that they’re getting it exactly right.
GPS technology and route optimization provide explicit, up-to-the-minute instruction on exactly how to get from Point A to Point B, cutting down on confusion and delays. Never again do drivers have to waste time driving in circles, waiting for recipients to arrive, or approaching an incorrect address.
Customers can enter detailed delivery instructions such as which door to come to or what access code to use to get in.
This saves the company (and by extension, your business) money in a number of ways. For one thing, it dramatically cuts down on failed deliveries. In these cases, the driver has to return at a later date to correct the mistake, adding to fuel and labor costs.
For another, it reduces returns, which often happen if a driver delivers the wrong item. Returns are a hassle to both you and your customers, and it costs money to manage them.
It also helps avoid chargebacks, when customers file a dispute with their credit company over lost or fraudulent items. Such chargebacks come at a cost of both money and (sometimes) reputation.
Finally and most importantly, clear instructions to drivers are a good way to keep customers happy, since we know that most won’t return to a brand after they’re on the receiving end of a delivery mistake.
Photo Proof of Delivery
It wasn’t so long ago that you were left to just assume a package made it to its destination, having no real way to confirm that unless the customer notified you that it did not arrive.
Thankfully, technology has opened up a plethora of solutions to this problem, too.
It’s now easy to capture, store and transmit a variety of types of delivery proof electronically from a handheld device.
Delivery signatures can be captured and communicated in this way, and so can photos.
With this technology, you no longer have to just hope a delivery successfully made it to the appropriate receiver. You can find out for sure.
This creates a more positive experience for your customers as well, since they will know that you are taking every possible step to avoid annoying mix-ups. And it reduces the costs incurred from issuing refunds or replacements as a result of such mix-ups.
The ability to provide photo proof of delivery also reduces labor costs. It means less paperwork and a reduction in the manual tasks associated with tracking deliveries. This means less work for your courier service, and thus less cost for you. And it minimizes the paper trail which is a great boon to environmentally conscious businesses.
In addition, this easy feature maximizes delivery time, because it means that drivers have to spend less time at each delivery location. Instead of filling out paperwork to confirm delivery, all they have to do is snap a photo and click Send. Then they have more time to make more deliveries, which ultimately means more sales revenue for your company.
And of course, proof of delivery protects your company in one very important way: by preventing theft.
When they receive their photo proof, customers can rest assured that their item has arrived safely on their doorstep and hasn’t been stolen. Then, if they are unable to retrieve their package right away, they can contact a trusted friend to hold onto it for them until they can get to it.
This protects you from the damaging financial loss that could occur when packages go missing.
If you’re in the market for a good courier service, make sure you ask them about these important technology features. They are critical predictors of their success (and yours) in an increasingly competitive economy.