4 Ways a Fulfillment Partner Can Improve Customer Experience
A fulfillment service is often the last party to touch your product before it heads out the door to your customer. You know that any delivery delay is a problem for your brand reputation, but have you considered how much potential exists to actually improve customer experience by working with your fulfillment provider?
As close partners of the clients we serve, we understand that our services are effectively an extension of their brand. As such, there are numerous ways we can work together to enhance how the customer experiences the products we send.
This article examines four ways to make that happen and we hope it sparks a creative conversation with your fulfillment team. Let's get started!
eCommerce Is No Longer Enough
Do you remember the last order you received? What about the one before that?
If not, how far back do you have to go to recall a memorable unboxing experience?
The trouble with the surge in eCommerce is that receiving a package is no longer a notable occurrence. For some customers, a doorstep piled high with boxes is now a common sight.
As your standout product now vies for attention with that gift for grandma and a 48-count box of two-ply toilet paper, it's understandable if you feel your careful brand curation has been somewhat buried.
4 Ways to Improve Customer Experience with Frictionless Fulfillment
As you know by now, customer experience is defined by much more than an easy-to-use website or a timely delivery. Your customer's journey begins the second your brand pops up in a search for something they need - or a chance encounter on social media - and extends to every subsequent touch until they have your product in hand.
And it's only then that the real fun begins…
The truth is that consumers today have little time and lots of alternatives. If your brand messes up, or simply misses a beat on some aspect of order processing, there's a good chance that your hard-won customer will start looking elsewhere. To improve customer experience is to improve retention, yet poor order processing achieves exactly the opposite.
Flip that scenario on its head, however, and you have the makings of a brand that customers can't ignore. An engaging website. Relevant content that entertains and informs. A seamless ordering process. All vital.
From there, what about clear shipment tracking, rapid delivery, accurate item picking, and an evocative package that truly captures the spirit of your brand? Now we're talking about an experience they'll remember!
Some pieces of this puzzle can be assembled in-house, while others benefit from external expertise to help you fine-tune your solution. On the latter, here are four ways an outside fulfillment partner can help you improve customer experience.
Improve On-time Delivery Rate
Starting with the essentials, an experienced fulfillment partner will help you identify more efficient ways to ship your product and get it into the hands of your customers more quickly. This establishes a trusting relationship between brand and customer, knowing that your company can be relied upon to deliver highly-anticipated items in good time.
Beyond timing, an established fulfillment partner will help you track inventory, anticipate operational bottlenecks, and keep orders flowing in challenging times. Things won't always go to plan, but a trusted 3PL will use its experience and industry relationships to make sure you know what's going on and how your order fulfillment can be improved over time.
Set the Stage for Exceptional Unboxing
From getting the right materials and packaging to adding the flourishes and finishing touches that make your brand stand out, your fulfillment partner can help make the unboxing unforgettable.
That final touch has to be as close to perfect as possible. This requires a true partner that makes time to understand your brand, implement the right fulfillment strategy, and takes every step to deliver that product in a way that exceeds service agreements and delights your customer.
A true 3PL partner highlights ways to make your customers feel special.
Deliver the Data
What you can measure, you can manage, and there are few things that fulfillment geeks enjoy more than diving into data. By aligning your order processing with an experienced partner, your brand should gain access to a whole new world of reporting and analysis.
The latter should not be overlooked, because it's the actionable insights drawn out from the data that really make a difference to your company strategy. Experienced fulfillment analysts know what they're looking for and how to translate any problems they identify into meaningful change.
Is a particular type of packaging inflating your costs?
Are there steps in the pick and pack process that are slowing your delivery time?
Many common customer service complaints and cost savings can be uncovered by drawing out the fulfillment and logistics data that you need. When a fulfillment partner helps you to resolve those problems, customer experience inevitably improves.
Get Back to What You're Great At
If you're packing up boxes, are you really doing what you love? We're willing to bet that your core competencies don't include tracking inventory and picking orders. For a fulfillment partner, this is what they live for and why you want them in your corner.
A passionate and experienced fulfillment team processing your orders relieves you of a major operational burden, leaving more time to focus on the things that make your brand and products special in the first place. Founders and brand managers know their customers better than anyone. They spend time conversing with them on social media, share the best ways to use the products they sell and take the value of every order personally. Their input is most valuable from the driver's seat, steering the brand in the right direction, rather than organizing the trunk space or cleaning the windows.
With a fulfillment partner you trust to handle the fundamentals of getting the right product to the right place, in a timely manner and looking its best, your attention can return to growing and enhancing your brand. In turn, your customer will experience the reliability and satisfaction of seamless order processing, with the added delight of new product lines and brand initiatives you create.
If it's time to improve customer experience and you think a fulfillment partner could be the right move, don't hesitate to contact us.