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How Distributors Can Improve Customer Fulfillment

For distributors, improving the customer fulfillment experience is key as most will call centers spend very little time advising customers. This is important to note especially since 84% of customers report that “being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business” (MediaPost). In addition, 75% of customers expect “seamless handoffs between departments and channels, contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions.”
However, for distributors it is challenging to improve the customer fulfillment experience. Why? Because the majority of an in-store sales desk attendant’s time is spent managing the order fulfillment process. Order fulfillment is a time-consuming, cumbersome process includes searching from several SKU numbers to find a product, determining if it has been placed behind the desk for the customer or going in the back to the warehouse to fulfill the order on the spot.
In addition to managing customers coming into the store to pick up their orders, these in-store sales desk attendant’s also have to manage phone order requests. In fact, the amount of time customers who place an order over the phone are placed on hold and those waiting in-person to simply pick up their orders averages over six-minutes per customer. Meanwhile, the store sales team is promising that those phone orders will be ready in two hours or less.
Another reason it is difficult for some distributors to deliver a positive customer fulfillment experience is because they are using outdated practices and technology. For example, some leverage printed catalogs and fax machines at will call centers, and the sales desk is using pen and paper to process orders. Considering these companies offer over 500,000 products to their contractors they need to focus on CRM technology and data to improve the customer experience.
For example, smart lockers like those offered by Parcel Pending can help. The way Parcel Pending drop-ship lockers work is simple. Customers are instantly notified when they have a delivery by text or email. Once received, the recipient can pick up the package using the unique code provided in the notification, or by using our intelligent mobile app. Distributors do not need to sign for packages, sort them, or distribute them to recipients—our lockers handle it all.
“The customer usually likes smart lockers because they can walk a short distance to receive their package whenever it’s convenient,” says Matthias Winkenbach is the Director of the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab and a Research Associate at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. “Logistics service providers like them because they consolidate demand, letting them drop a lot of shipments at one stop. This reduces the risk of failed delivery to almost zero, while increasing efficiency and lowering cost.”
What are you doing to improve your customer fulfillment experience? Comment below.