In our never ending quest for immediacy and instant gratification, we have, as a society, lost patience in waiting. People are upset when you send an email and they don’t receive a reply in 2 minutes. Pharmacies now send medicines to patients in advance of the expected completion date of the prior prescription. Amazon and other companies now have started same day or 1 day delivery because 2 day delivery is not fast enough.
And this is all due to the fact that with today’s technologies – faster and more powerful computers, emails being received and read 24/7, RFID tracking devices in products, GPS satellites, automated/robotic picking in warehouses, better and more functional web sites – we can do more with less and provide more to our customers. And with the importance of keeping our customers happy with our service, this functionality is not just possible, it is expected by the customer.
But this functionality is not enough.
We have now entered new functionality called ‘The Last Mile’. In the world of the last mile, the customer is kept up to date constantly concerning the whereabouts of their delivery. Now you might say, UPS and FedEx has had that for years. You could go to their website and see where the package was last scanned and on the last day, it would say ‘OUT FOR DELIVERY’. But what did that mean? Would I see the package at 10am, 2pm or 6pm? By all accounts, the best you could know is that it would arrive sometime before 9pm, maybe. Well that is just not good enough.
With today’s functionality, if the truck is delayed at a stop by X minutes, all customers after that delivery will be alerted that their delivery is delayed by X minutes. If the truck leaves a stop earlier than anticipated, all customers after that delivery will be alerted that their delivery will be earlier than expected. If the truck runs into traffic between stops, all customers will be alerted that the truck was running behind schedule. The truck itself can be tracked by the home office so that customer service people can see exactly where the truck is within its route. Down to the street level. If for any reason the truck needs to be rerouted, it can be done at the home office and then updated to the truck’s computer system. With the use of GPS tracking of the truck and with the use of the endless number of people who constantly supply traffic information to GPS satellites around the world using software like Google Maps and Waze, the traffic information is real time and routes can be effectively changed due to issues on the road. Truck drivers can be micro-managed down to a left or a right turn on a side street depending on the traffic reports. And finally, when the package arrives, if there is no one to sign for and accept the package, a picture of the package can be taken by the driver so it can be sent to the recipient’s email. Proof that the package was actually delivered.
Now this is customer service. I can know where my package is every step of the way from the time by order is taken til the moment it hits my hands. And I can tell when it will be delivered and where it was left if I am not around. Is this too much info or just what we need to live or lives? And this is just for package delivery, this technology can be used for service people coming to work at your house. Your plumbers and electricians, the cable guy and maybe even your garbage men. Now wouldn’t that be service?