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Running the last mile

12 December 2012

The biggest challenge for delivery companies is responding to modern shopping habits. The internet allows consumers to shop seven days a week and 24 hours a day and deliveries must evolve to cope, says Adam Smith, marketi

The biggest challenge for delivery companies is responding to modern shopping habits. The internet allows consumers to shop seven days a week and 24 hours a day and deliveries must evolve to cope, says Adam Smith, marketing director at Yodel

The last mile of delivery presents some major challenges for carriers and requires a great deal of flexibility and convenience to ensure customer satisfaction. Especially when almost 50% of households are empty during normal working hours.

Delivery is often the part of the process that customers remember most and retailers want to know that their initial hard work is reinforced and customer loyalty is strengthened at the point of delivery. There are a lot of considerations when aiming to offer first time delivery success and it is particularly vital that parcel delivery companies are now offering a broad but simple choice of services to ensure retailers and their customers are satisfied.

Operating a range of delivery models allows you to adapt and scale up according to parcel volume. The modern customer wants things to be simple, have more choice and greater control of their deliveries. Our local delivery service, Yodel Neighbourhood, is a response to these needs. The local couriers deliver at convenient times, from Monday to Friday, between an extended window of 7.30am and 9pm. Waiting in for a parcel can be frustrating and is unlikely to be the most important part of a customer's day, so our local couriers leave their mobile phone details. This gives customers the option of speaking to them directly to arrange a mutually convenient delivery time. Our services are tailored to the very personal needs of our clients and their customers. Yodel Business has over 40 years of experience and knows how to make delivery and collection services work for our clients. We also offer Yodel XL, our two man network for the delivery of larger, bulkier and heavier items, which boasts 220 dedicated delivery vehicles.

Our highly trained Yodel XL teams deliver to the room of choice and will also remove the old item and any packaging waste materials.

Delivery companies must constantly review how best to implement new technologies to innovate and improve their services and optimise their fleet to ensure faster turnaround times, greater performance, transparency and more accurate operational information. Yodel offers a wide range of customer communication alerts ensuring customers are kept informed and in control of their delivery. Customers like to be kept up to date on the progress of their order and that's why we've created a number of customer communication options to meet, and even surpass, the expectations of the modern consumer. All our customer messages are available in both email and SMS format.

We also provide premium, timed window services for the customers who require predictability. Communication is key and fully tracked services, as provided by Yodel, are absolutely crucial.

There is great demand now for innovative delivery services that offer customers greater freedom and convenience when shopping, like CollectPlus. CollectPlus is a joint venture between PayPoint, the largest retail payment network, and Yodel. It is a network of over 4,500 local convenience stores throughout the UK, often open from very early until very late at night, seven days a week.

We are also assessing the viability of introducing a Sunday service this year.

Offering a service which is flexible and meets the frequently changing needs of the customer is vital to the success of delivery companies. Customers are not only looking for greater choice, more convenience and better value for money, they are expecting to find it. Those that successfully provide a personal approach and meet the demands of customers in the last mile of delivery will guarantee customer loyalty and develop their reputation and that of their clients.
 
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