Two hours later than expected, a large dump truck backed slowly up my driveway. It’s annoying beep-beep-beep back-up alarm making the dogs bark. Once it was in front of the garage doors the bed started to lift and a full cord of firewood cascaded onto my driveway. I now had to shift and stack ½ ton of firewood before I could get my cars out and my sons were no longer around to help. Gee thanks! Once the sale is done, the delivery is often the next ‘experience’ the customer receives. With physical goods this should be obvious, but with services or digital products it may be less obvious - but it is just as important.
As we said before, you are only as good as your entire value stream. If your resellers have a poor delivery system, your clients will derive less value from your offering. On the other hand, a great delivery system can actually lift the value they attribute to you and drive repeat sales and referrals. Delivery is, in many cases, the moment when the customer gets to experience your stuff for the first time. It is very important. They are looking for affirmation that they made a good decision in putting their trust in you – part of that trust is that you picked the right ‘delivery’ system or channel member.
As a provider working through channels it may be difficult to see all the way out to the delivery process; poor referrals, low NPS scores etc may be hard to directly or immediately attribute to un-delightful or poor delivery. Combing your on-line ratings or customer comment files may provide some clues. However, nothing beats participating in the delivery process itself to watch your end users.
The further away in the value chain an event or activity is, the less important it can seem. In fact the reverse is true, the closer your offering gets to the consumer, the more important it becomes in their eyes. The problems here are caused by a lack of policy, poor reseller training or, frankly, resellers who don’t understand the importance of customer experience.
Get out into the field and witness or experience for yourself how your solution is delivered. Look for wasted activities and any friction. (How easy is it to download? Must I fill out a warranty card? Is there a delivery day and time given? Etc) Look at your reseller agreements and ensure you have the right clauses to deal with delivery. (Many upscale appliance resellers prescribe a ‘2-man, white-glove” delivery service). You should describe in detail what is required. Resellers who don’t understand the concept of value flow and customer experience and aren’t prepared to deliver the right value need to be upgraded or replaced. Conducting an end-to-end Channel Audit is a good way to capture this information. You may be very surprised at how easily you can strengthen your brand. I might add that after a customer has received a ‘delightful delivery’, that is a good time to ask for a rating and referrals.
Delivery done well reduces friction in the channel; lower cost for you, higher value to the customer. It increases customer satisfaction; better ranking and more increased referrals. What’s not to like?
Delivery Logistics is the tenth in a series of posts on improving sales channel efficiency and flow.It follows Where do we go from here?