I am often tasked with catering responsibilities when there’s a large meeting here in our corporate facility. I always use the same lunch delivery service website. I order my food online, then they go to the restaurant I’ve selected, pick up the meal, and deliver it to my office. During my order, I have to select my preferred delivery time, which is inevitably noon (just like all the other lunch orders they’ll be receiving that day). How can this company effectively manage 20 some odd deliveries all scheduled for the same time?
Their solution: They offer me five additional times (11:00, 11:15, 11:30, 12:30, 12:45). By selecting any of these alternatives, I can either get 5% off my next order, or an additional 5,000 points added to my loyalty rewards (my choice). If I choose to stick with my originally selected time, I still get my food at noon.
I really, really like this business model. I’m no dummy—they want me to select a less busy time to make their lunch rush easier to manage. When I do opt to “help them out”, it’s really because my times are flexible. So I get a discount for my next purchase with them, and they get some relief during their typical peak hour. What a win-win! And, not to mention, they’ve secured my repeat business because I have an attractive 5% discount to take advantage of.
What incentives could you offer your customers to relieve your morning equipment delivery rush? They’ve all indicated that they want their equipment delivered at the start of their day—which means that your dispatch team has quite a headache awaiting them. Do you have the necessary manpower and trucks to manage 15 deliveries–all due by 7am? If you can find a viable solution to offset even 25% of those deliveries by just an hour, you’ll see a remarkable increase in on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction.
The first option is like the website I mentioned above: Incentivize your customers to select times that are reasonable, but not during your peak hours. Could you offer a discount on the delivery fee for this transaction or their next, or perhaps a free sales item (safety vest, hard hat, etc.)? By allowing the customer the option to be more flexible with something to offer in return, it’s an agreement in which both parties benefit. And when we say reasonable, we mean within 2 hours of their original selected time. A customer who wants an 8am delivery probably won’t shift to a 3pm drop-off.
The second alternative is to implement a surcharge for peak delivery times. On-demand business models, such as Amazon’s Prime Now, have started to implement these fees for when customers must have a delivery made during their peak hours. It’s not meant to be a punishment for your customers, but a way to recoup some of the costs associated with managing deliveries in such a short period of time, like having to pay third party haulers or the additional gas consumed for return trips to the yard.
In addition to both of the alternatives, find out if the sales reps and counter personnel are really entering valid delivery times, or are just picking the first available time of the day. The customer may have no preference, but dispatch may be unaware of this and will pull out their hair trying to navigate 15 deliveries when it could have been much, much less.