Last mile delivery is both one of the most important and one of the most expensive phases of the delivery process. It is also closely tied to your brand image and relationship with customers: services or packages delivered on time can boost your business, while late deliveries can quickly cause issues and bad reviews. It can also impact your revenue, if customers demand refunds or discounts.
As a result, companies must carefully monitor when last mile delivery is no longer sustainable in-house and must be outsourced to a dedicated last mile delivery service. Last mile delivery services are able to streamline and scale the delivery process, freeing up time, team members, and other resources for you to reallocate in a more efficient manner.
Four Signs You Need To Hire A Last Mile Delivery Service
Keep reading to learn the warning signs for when it may be time to consider hiring a last mile delivery service and, if these apply to you, how to choose the best last mile delivery service.
You Can’t Keep Up With Order Volumes
Not being able to keep up with order and delivery volumes is the most obvious sign that it’s time for your company to hire a last mile delivery service. A last mile delivery service will free up a significant portion of resources that you can then dedicate to other departments.
Being unable to fulfill current orders also negatively impacts your ability to handle future business, further compounding these issues and hurting your revenue streams.
You’re Lagging Behind Competitors
Another sign that it’s time to switch to a last mile delivery service is when you’re no longer able to keep up with competitors in terms of delivery time or volume. Many companies are now offering same-day or two-day shipping, typically free of charge. As a result, customers now expect this and may choose a competitor over your business if you can’t also provide these features.
Even if you’re able to keep up with order volume and deliver products or services on time, customers may still be put off if you can only offer shipping within five business days, for example. To remain competitive, you need to match (and hopefully exceed) what comparable businesses are offering.
You’re Disproportionately Allocating Resources
It may be time to switch to a last mile delivery service if you notice that it’s taking up a disproportionate amount of resources. If your business is consistently having to pull people or money from other departments and reallocate it to last mile delivery, consider whether it would be more efficient to outsource this last step.
If the resources are vital and need to be replaced in the departments they are being pulled from, this is another sign that your company may not be able to handle last mile delivery. Additionally, consider the viability of being able to handle new growth. If you’re already pulling resources, how many more will you need to pull or hire as your company expands?
Customers Are Complaining About Delivery
Arguably, the most glaring sign that you need to hire a last mile delivery service is if your customers are consistently complaining about your current delivery abilities. Customers are (obviously) an essential part of your business; you need happy customers to create a positive brand image, sustain and expand your business, and attract new customers.
Consider switching to a last mile delivery service if customers are telling you that they are dissatisfied with the delivery timelines (i.e., they want faster deliveries), the state of the deliveries when they arrive, or the customer service offered by the delivery driver. A dedicated delivery service can resolve all of these issues.
Tips for Choosing the Best Last Mile Delivery Service
If you’ve decided that it’s time to hire a last mile delivery service for your company, congratulations! A last mile delivery service is an efficient and reliable way to grow your business, as we’ve already covered in earlier sections.
As you research which last mile delivery service is the best fit for your company, here are some features to keep in mind:
- Run Rate – Ensure the delivery service you choose has a high on-time run rate, preferably at least 98%. This shows that the service is consistently on time and that customers and companies alike can expect to receive their products as expected.
- Geographic Coverage – Depending on the geographic region your company caters to, you will either need a last mile delivery service that is either operational in multiple states or localized to a specific region.
- Demos and Trials – Before committing to any service or signing a contract, request a demo or trial to see how the service works in real-time. As part of this, request to see how packages or services are tracked and how transparent and intuitive the process is.
- Customer Service – Delivery service members will need to be versed in customer service in order to preserve a positive relationship with customers and maintain your brand image. Ask about how drivers will dress and what training they receive, if any.
Additionally, make sure that the last mile delivery service you choose will be able to grow with your business. They should be able to fulfill your current and projected future needs. Scalability is a key component for any company looking to expand either in the next few months or coming years.