Text alerts – how to nail delivery and arrival communications

OpenMarket – July 12, 2017

The Empathetic Moments blog series

When you need to get in touch with your customers to be there, be useful and be responsive – in time pressured situations – text messaging is a much better channel than email and voice calls.

In this blog series, we’ll look at seven different Empathetic Moments – times when brands can win customer loyalty by sending communications that really matter at exactly the right time.

How to nail delivery and arrival communications using text

Communicating crucial information

If your business relies on people delivering packages or getting out on the road to provide services at your customers’ homes or offices, you know how important it is to get the details right. People want to know when their package will arrive. They want to know when they need to be at home to let your people in. But more than anything else – they want to be kept informed.

Because everyone knows that plans change. For your business, a whole range of things can go wrong that can alter timings: flat tires, heavy traffic, over-running jobs, and so on.

But your customers have busy lives, too. When they booked their appointment two weeks ago, Wednesday afternoon was fine: but anything could’ve happened in the meantime resulting in a  time that no longer works.

The problem isn’t plans changing. The problems start when there isn’t a quick, reliable, convenient way for you to communicate so you can avoid the things that are really annoying: missed appointments, lost packages, and waiting around for someone who’s running late.

That’s why text alerts are such a powerful way to inject empathy into your delivery and arrival moments.

Think customer first

When it comes to delivery and arrival communications, a lot of businesses seem to have it the wrong way around. The normal practice is that the onus is on customers to log on to a company’s website to check their parcel is being delivered. If they need to rearrange an appointment, they have to send an email – which may well be too slow – or waste time trying to get through to someone in a call center. Never fun.

But if it’s your business that has a problem, then customers hear nothing. They’re left in the dark. You said you’d arrive between 9am and midday, but if that turns out to be 1pm, well, that’s just the way it has to be.

In the age of burgeoning customer expectations, where customer experience is the biggest brand differentiator, that’s not even close to good enough. And bear in mind, only eight years ago, 41% of customers would interact with a company again after a bad experience. Within four years, that figure was down to 14%. We’re well on the way towards zero margin of error.

Text alerts: Better for your customers; better for you

Here’s how text can make all the difference and turn a disappointing customer experience into one that gives customers what they really want.

Let’s say you’re shipping a parcel. You can design a text alert system for your customers to keep them in the loop at every stage of the shipping process. It can be fully automated, so communications happen in an instant without the need for people fielding emails or answering calls.

And it can be two-way, so you’re providing reminders and reassurance throughout the process – and making sure there’s an open line of communication if timings or locations have to change.

So, for example, your customer ordered an item and thought Thursday morning was fine for a delivery. But when you send her an alert the evening before to remind her, she realizes that she’s got to be at work. Usually that’s a stressful situation that requires precious life admin time to fix.

But if she can text back instantly and rearrange the delivery time – or change the delivery address so the parcel comes to her work – that’s a whole lot better for her. She’s still going to get her package and it was no hassle to sort out the change.

But it’s also a lot better for you. You’re not wasting your delivery guy’s time with a wasted trip and you don’t have the expense of arranging a redelivery.  

Multiply that interaction by all the deliveries you make or all the appointments you book, and suddenly you’re looking at major efficiency savings and reliability improvements. And you’re going to have a lot of happy customers.

Empathy counts

Only text can deliver such real time, in the moment, responsive messages  that can be personalized at massive scale. That’s why text is the best channel for injecting empathy into your delivery and arrival communications.

To find out how text alerts can help you seize more Empathetic Moments, download the Empathetic Moments workbook.  

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