Whether it’s door-to-door food or furniture delivery or packages going to pickup lockers, the parcel industry has seen a boom in recent years and has experienced a lift due to environmental situations surrounding the pandemic. As more and more people rely on personal mobile experiences through their connected devices and services around the globe, the parcel industry is experiencing unrivaled demand to stay up on technology to meet the expectations of today’s virtual purchasing.
According to Statista, the number of parcel shipments worldwide was 131 billion in 2020. Most likely, these numbers will face a continued upward trajectory. By 2026, the expected parcel volume will be approximately 266 billion according to the current growth trends. The need to transform and stay ahead of the curve is vital and one very important aspect of this transformation relies squarely on managing mobile communications through the customer and the delivery journey.
Unlike retail, banking, hospitality, travel, and other verticals, the parcel industry is one of transition, serving as the middleman between sender and receiver. Most of the time, parcel companies act as a third party, but even so, play the most important role in the process of exchanging of goods. To be the best, parcel companies must excel at two vital aspects of their service: understanding the customer experience and managing expectations to the highest level.
A vital part of the customer experience and managing the customers’ expectations is by making sure the parcel company communicates in the most efficient manner possible by using mobile messaging. Most have a mobile messaging strategy today and take advantage of SMS messaging, the use of mobile apps with push notifications, and emails.
In most cases, consumers receive some notification, usually from the sender, when their package is set for delivery; however, there are times when the parcel company takes over communications from the sender, usually involving a tracking number specific to the delivery. At this point, the ‘hop/skip’ from the sender to the parcel company is determined by the receiver based on the parcel company’s available tools for the receiver to choose from to be notified of the process. This process can be complicated and may include:
- Setting up delivery alerts
- Understanding delivery instructions
- Schedule and path of the package
- Dropoff and pickup options
- Status of the delivery
- Alternative options for delivery or pickup
- Follow-up and support
Delivery Problems Are Commonplace
With any kind of delivery, time and communication is of utmost importance. According to Loqate, a massive 62% of consumers have experienced late or failed delivery. What many consumers don’t realize, however, is that, according to 80% of retailers, the consumers themselves are to blame for failed deliveries. This can often be due to entering incorrect address data at checkout¾perhaps because they are in a hurry, not concentrating properly, or just make a simple typo. Regardless of the setup, proper communication from the very start of the transaction process is vital for a successful delivery. This process can be easily managed by having the proper mobile communication line in place between the parcel company and the receiver. At the very start, using a simple SMS message to the receiver to confirm information of a package delivery can prevent most delivery snafus. Conversational messaging, such as social messaging and RCS, can also be used to solve potential problems right away, even more efficiently in some cases before the parcel company begins the transport process.
Once the package begins the transport journey, weather, traffic issues, mechanical problems, and other unforeseen situations may cause delays or even delivery failures. During this part of the process, communication is key to keep the receiver informed of delivery status. It is also important to keep the sender informed as well to address any possible support concerns. According to techjury.net and Small Biz Trends, 60% of mobile users open an SMS message and read it within 1-5 minutes, and according to Smatbot, WhatsApp messages have a 99% open rate! Forbes also reports that 91 percent of adults have their mobile device within arm’s reach and check their devices an average of 262 times per day! What a perfect communication avenue for keeping users aware of their package journey and alerting them via triggered notifications. Using SMS, PUSH APP notifications, and Conversational Messaging is one of the best ways to keep both the sender and receiver in the know and thus maintain a solid management of expectations.
Managing the Experience Throughout
But the experience should not stop there since, as stated earlier, managing the experience is key to success. Part of that management also should include adjustments to the package journey such as change of delivery address, change of authorized receiver, and return-to-sender or hold requests. Enabling a two-way mobile channel of communications to enable the sender or receiver to inform the parcel company of in-process changes elevates the user experience for better control of their delivery.
Once the package has been delivered, communicating to the receiver and sender is another important part of the process. Sending a mobile notification saying, “your package has been delivered,” is key to help avoid problems such as theft, package exposure to weather, or problems with deterioration of the contents of a package. Mobile communications can also ensure the package was delivered according to instructions and without damage by incorporating rich images using MMS messaging or RCS to display a picture of the delivered package.
At the end of the journey, including mobile communications on quality follow-up surveys and loyalty programs completes the customer experience. This is best done using conversational mobile messages through RCS or a Social Messaging client to give customers a personalized experience in a real-time exchange.
The parcel industry in today’s mobile-centric environment should address mobile communications around their complete customer experience and satisfy the needs of the package journey. Mobile Connectivity is critical and enabling the proper mobile channels and services to cater to the customer journey means tapping into the right technologies to drive future communications. All these factors, when combined, can create a connected mobile customer experience that is in synergy with the entire delivery process. If parcel companies work closely with a mobile communications provider that can provide a multichannel, multi-feature, and real-time interaction, along with scope and scale of global reach, they can elevate their mobile communications and expand to become more innovative over time, resulting in happy senders and receivers who will always benefit from positive interactive mobile package management and communications.
Rick Carlson is a Principal Solutions Engineer at Syniverse.