I recently attended The Customer Engagement Summit at the Westminster Plaza in London. I was really struck by the excellent keynote from Malcolm McDonald and one particular point that he made. In a world where almost every organisation has a good product, "customer experience is the only differentiator". No organisation can afford to be complacent about loyalty and another challenge is remaining ahead of the curve as customers' needs change.
Logistics businesses have worked hard to improve experience in recent years. They have listened to customer complaints and introduced technology to make the delivery process better for customers. In the overnight parcel sector, DPD clearly shine out in terms of innovation and I regularly hear of new and exciting features and functionality being developed by many organisations to meet consumer demand for speed and service. Most of us have also introduced dedicated trained teams to support customers when things haven't gone well.
I do still think however that many who work in the sector retain an expectation that our customers should understand the difficulties we face in achieving 100% on time, in full delivery success and therefore forgive us when we fail.
At the heart of the logistics sector are the people, and whilst apps, bots, drones, AI, VR, AR and autonomous vehicles will help all of us to do a great job for our customers, we will also need to challenge ourselves even more to consider our personal approach at a human level and always ask ourselves in our customer interactions "how would I feel if this was happening to me?"
Customer loyalty is not something to be taken for granted. Though a successful businessperson from the 1950s would agree with this statement, retaining customer loyalty is harder these days than it was back then when there were only three TV channels on the air.