In the world of free shipping and same-day delivery, final mile, also known as last-mile delivery, has become an integral part of the supply chain and a defining element of the customer experience. Final mile delivery refers to the last leg of a product’s transportation journey before it reaches its final destination. It’s the final step toward getting your products from a distribution or fulfillment center and into the hands of the customer.
With the delivery speed and expectations that have been level-set by brands like Amazon, who you choose as your final mile carrier matters. Not only do they need to meet your shipping needs, but they also need to meet the expectations of your customer. A good final mile experience ultimately is determined by the quality customer service for every delivery.
What To Look For When Choosing A Final Mile Partner
First and foremost, retailers need to consider their end goals for quality final mile delivery – speed, cost and good customer service. The right carrier will work with you to make all three happen. When choosing a carrier to collaborate with for final mile, as well as other transportation solutions, it’s important to consider the following criteria:
- Industry-leading Customer Service
- Missing orders. Broken items. Late deliveries. These are all parts of low-quality delivery experience, which shippers should attempt to avoid at all costs. The end-user sees last-mile providers as an extension of your business, and their level of service is seen as a reflection of yours. Think about how a vendor handles your inquiries regarding their service. Do you want them to treat your customers the same way?
- Speed + Visibility
- Always keep the needs of the consumer in mind. Faster delivery times come with a higher cost, but what is the price of not offering them to your customers? Partnering with a provider that offers a wide range of delivery options is a smart strategy for tempering delivery costs while meeting customer expectations. Visibility to the status and progress of each delivery is an essential element to consumer satisfaction. Be sure to understand how your customers will receive electronic updates and how the final mile provider offers that visibility.
- Final mile is not exclusive to any one region of the U.S. When comparing providers, shippers should consider their overall footprint. Are their solutions primarily focused on one region or coast? Or, do they have warehouses and drive teams across the nation? Even if your market is more concentrated in one region, look for a final mile service provider that has national coverage and can scale with your business.
- Total Transportation Solution
- Choosing the right final-mile provider requires thoroughly understanding your business needs and resources. There are dozens of providers to choose from, all catering to different needs. Ideally, you want a carrier who can provide a total transportation solution. Look for a carrier that offers services like warehouse middle mile transportation, consolidation, warehouse solutions, direct-to-consumer delivery, dedicated solutions with branded equipment, and product assembly and installation. Find a provider who can both meet you where you are now and grow with you as your needs change.
- Don’t forget to verify a carrier’s reputation. Look at testimonials and reviews. Look for recurring themes, both good and bad. And pay attention to how a carrier reacts when you ask questions. Are they hesitant to provide more information, or are they an open book?
The Werner Way
The Werner Way for Final Mile is a professional delivery from all angles. For us, it’s all about the consumer’s experience. This means a focus on our soft skills, like great communication and professionalism, as well as showing up in well-maintained equipment We put an emphasis on quality communication and scheduling with customers, arriving on time, greeting the consumer and going over the top when providing the actual delivery. This includes delivering to their room of choice, providing simple assembly or installation, like for appliances, and lastly, removal of all packaging materials.
Selecting a final mile provider is a decision a business should take seriously. You want a carrier who fits your business, budget and, most importantly, the customer experience you want to be known for. At the end of the day, who you choose to work with reflects your brand and reputation.