Are You Frustrated With Your Courier Service?

Carry Metkowski

August 1, 2017

It’s time to ditch the switch courier service.

Last week I was out to lunch with a friend, of course we ended up talking shop. I began to share about Dispatch and what we do. After she asked me some detailed questions, she started laughing and said I must have been a fly on the wall that week. As an account executive — she spent the better part of 3 days trying to find a package their local courier service said had been delivered.   

I watched as she pulled out her phone to show me the 22 emails exchanged with the courier company. “That’s not the end,” she said, "Six calls later and I still have no answers."  The real kicker — was where the package was finally found, that had us both shaking our heads. I’ll get to where they found it in minute.

Her company, like most, signed with a “volume discount pricing” service. And let’s be honest, what self respecting warehouse operations manager doesn’t negotiate for the best price? Seems like a no brainer, especially if all the services are the same, right? What stumped me a bit was learning companies switch courier companies almost yearly, only to face the same problems - lousy service, customer complaints and poor, I mean really poor communication.

Switching seems super smart right up to the point you realize you have switched for the fourth time — like they had. A different local courier company, same issues. Here’s my question, how can we do better? Like my friend, they had enough and decided it was time to ditch the switch approach and research other options.

We totaled it up — she spent a total of 15 hours trying to get this handled for her big account. Kudos to her, but when we went back to see how often she was doing this — well, the numbers would make the CFO’s stomach churn. He would be rethinking that volume discount courier. Turns out it was not a deal at all — they were spending more in clean up and customer loss than the discount gave them.  

I wish this was an isolated story, it’s not. Everyday our team in the field comes back with stories like this from new accounts.  In today's on-demand, customer-centric market, we can't afford to lose business. If the trends tell us anything they are pointing to a delivery becoming a major battle ground. When folks like Amazon, FedEx and UPS spend close to $100 billion dollars over the last 5 years to ramp up for same day delivery it’s clear delivery is about to undergo some serious changes and rightfully so. My question is will it address the real issues?

So what are some of the real issues in my estimation?

  1. Inefficient systems - Customers call in to place an order, a courier is called, someone calls the customer to tell them a delivery will be there during some timeframe you have no control over and have zero visibility around. When it doesn’t arrive and 40% of the time that’s the case — the customer calls back to the store, who calls the courier company, who calls the driver — if they can reach them, to find out where things stand.  Not quite the six calls my friend had to make, but close. Everyone involved is frustrated.
  2. Zero Visibility - While the "progress bar" or "real-time" tracking was nice. It still didn't quite address the other issue — efficient use of time. When you cannot see when your package is arriving, you're left to sit waiting. Today, we have live tracking, we can use GPS to see down to the street, where a car is... imagine your customers being able to see that clearly into their deliveries?  Gone are the days of being given a four hour window to wait for a delivery.   
  3. Driver Network Availability - What if the improvements didn't stop there. What if, you were able to leverage all these crowd source drivers who are already out driving around town? You would have an on demand driver network there when you need them, not when you don't. Even better, you're not paying them a salary, just the delivery fee. Which by the way is the only fee you pay with Dispatch, and in many cases cheaper than the volume discount price you have now. 

So where was that package anyway? Well, the delivery driver couldn’t find anyone to open the gate, so he thought, why not just throw it over the fence, into bushes that hid the package. Oh, did I mention the package was filled with breakables, and after 3 days of trying to find it, my friend ended up reordering and delivering (for free) again. All this work to clean up a delivery person’s poor choice.

As an operations manager or purchasing agent, this scenario doesn’t shock you — you see it everyday. And most likely, you’ve been keeping your eyes open for a better way. A little research and you know logistics platforms have a good sized entry point price. But what if it didn't? What if you could have efficiency and a driver network only when you need it?

Want to kick the tires to see if our platform might be a good fit? We’d be happy to stop by and give you a quick tour. Just let Dusty or Ryan know, they’ll be happy to walk you through it.

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