Don’t let Victorian technology hold you back from delivering a fantastic service

Man having a parcel deliveredBy Mike McMaster, Client Services Director at Rapide (

The rise in online shopping has made the life of the consumer so much easier.  With the click of a few buttons they can choose exactly what they want, insert their account details and hey presto their shiny new package will be on its way, right?  Wrong.  Despite the ever-increasing power and popularity of technology thousands of delivery companies are making school boy errors when it comes to communicating with their customers, leading to frustration, customer dissatisfaction and delayed deliveries.

In just two weeks online purchasing in my household has generated:

  • 2 parcels left with neighbours who live over five houses away
  • 1 parcel jammed through our letterbox using some ‘creative’ folding
  • 1 parcel returned to the depot which I am still trying to find time to pick up
  • 1 delivery to the door while we were actually in

Of these six deliveries, so far only one has been in the right place and on the right day.  None of them sent any notification confirming the delivery date or time.

So how can delivery companies ensure they give a fantastic service, leaving their customers happy and begging for more?  By taking advantage of the one thing that people carry with them almost all of the time and look at over 200 times a day – their mobile phone.

This is something that international delivery company Geopost, represented in the UK as DPD and Interlink Express, have embraced.  Their research found that one in five customers agreed that retailers could do more to keep customers informed about their delivery, in addition a whopping 91% of people agreed that they would be happy to receive details about their delivery via email or text message.

At Rapide, we have been working with DPD and Interlink Express for over a decade, providing proactive communication solutions for effective incident management.  Recently they decided to use the same technology to increase the number of successful first time deliveries they made, reduce costs spent on re-delivery and improve customer satisfaction.

They now use our Inform & Interact solution to notify their customers via text message about when to expect their parcels. An initial message advises the customer of the date of when to expect their goods and a second, sent on the day of delivery, advises them of a one hour timeslot. This second message also contains a link to a ‘follow my parcel’ map so that customers can follow the progress of their delivery driver in real-time.  This countdown system is so accurate it can predict the time of delivery to within fifteen minutes.  If the recipient knows they won’t be in to sign for their package, they can reply back requesting a more suitable time for delivery or for the parcel to be left with a neighbour.

Text replies are automatically fed into the logistics system and update driver schedules and hand held devices in real-time.  Drivers are even able to update customers if they have been unexpectedly delayed due to traffic so  are never left wondering when their parcels will arrive.

The results?  Overall, DPD and Interlink Express have seen a significant reduction in calling cards left to inform customers of a missed delivery.  In addition, anecdotal evidence supports a marked improvement in customer experience and improved brand perception.  Following the introduction of the option for customers to request that their delivery is made to a preferred neighbour, initial uptake was almost 20%, showing both a desire and need for the service.

As a consequence of listening to their customers and finding out what makes them tick – and ticked off – DPD have managed to use modern technology to their advantage.   The result – improved business efficiency with the added benefit of a marked increase in customer satisfaction.


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