9 October 20236 minute read

Why Customer Experience Is Critical to Last-Mile Delivery


Circuit for Teams can help you streamline your delivery routes, manage on-time deliveries, and exceed customer expectations in the last mile.

Last-mile delivery is a vital component of the eCommerce process. It’s the final step in delivering products to customers and holds significant weight in shaping the customers’ perception of a company’s service quality. 

This step is where a business’s commitment to providing excellent service is truly measured, and it’s where customer expectations directly encounter the actual service provided.

In a world where eCommerce is continually growing, and customer expectations are ever-evolving, last-mile delivery is about timely and accurate deliveries, keeping the customer informed, and meeting, even exceeding, their expectations consistently.

In this article, we’ll dissect why focusing on creating a stellar customer experience in the last-mile delivery process isn’t just important but critical. We’ll look at how optimizing this essential phase of the customer’s journey can influence your eCommerce business’s overall success and reputation. 

We’ll also discuss strategies and practical approaches to meet customer expectations and deliver exceptional service consistently.

Key takeaways

  • Prioritize timely deliveries and accurate windows to enhance last-mile customer experience.
  • Leverage technology for route optimization and real-time tracking to streamline operations.
  • Deliver transparency and customer satisfaction as they directly impact your brand’s reputation.
  • Keep a close eye on social media to gauge customer feedback and continuously improve your last-mile delivery services.
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The significance of customer experience in last-mile delivery

customer experience in last mile delivery

Last-mile delivery is the grand finale in the journey of getting products to our doorsteps. This part is like the home stretch of a marathon for online retailers.

And how your business approaches last-mile delivery can influence customer expectations and happiness. Take giants like Amazon, for instance. Amazon offers several delivery options, from next-day to same-day deliveries. It’s no surprise then that 90 percent of consumers now expect two- or three-day shipping.

Now, enter the COVID-19 pandemic. With more folks relying on home deliveries for everything from toilet paper to tech gadgets, it put the spotlight on the need for resilient supply chains and creative delivery solutions.

Bad customer service in last-mile delivery, including late deliveries, damaged packages, or communication mix-ups, can leave customers pretty unhappy. So, to thrive, businesses need to aim to deliver exceptional customer experiences every time.

What makes a good delivery experience?

A successful delivery experience is the culmination of several factors that combine to promote customer satisfaction. 

  • Timely delivery. Timeliness is often the biggest part of a good delivery experience. Customers expect their orders to arrive on or before the promised delivery date and time. Delays can lead to dissatisfaction, so meeting or exceeding delivery expectations is crucial.
  • Same-day or next-day options. Offering same-day or next-day delivery options adds convenience for customers. This feature is especially important for urgent orders or when customers value speed and immediacy.
  • Proper delivery windows. Providing accurate delivery windows is essential to prevent inconveniences. Customers should know when to expect their deliveries to plan their day accordingly.
  • Connectivity and automation. Connectivity and automation are integral to a streamlined delivery process. They enable real-time tracking of orders, which keeps customers informed about their delivery’s progress. Automation can also help reduce errors and streamline logistics operations, improving overall efficiency.
  • Route optimization. Optimizing delivery routes is critical for efficiency and timely deliveries. Route optimization software helps delivery companies plan the most efficient routes, reducing fuel costs and delivery times.
  • Proof of delivery. Providing proof of delivery, such as digital signatures or photos of delivered items, instills trust in customers. It offers transparency and assurance that their orders have been received.
  • Delivery drivers. Delivery drivers are the face of the company and can significantly impact the customer’s experience. Friendly, professional, and efficient drivers enhance the overall experience.
  • Social media impact. Social media plays a powerful role in shaping and escalating consumer expectations. Customers often share their delivery experiences online, thereby influencing others. Positive experiences can generate free marketing, while negative ones can harm your company’s reputation.

7 strategies for improving customer experience in last-mile delivery

strategies for last mile delivery customer experience

Making the last-mile delivery experience better is about keeping customers happy and coming back for more. Here are some strategies to improve your customer experience.

1. Streamline delivery operations 

The key to a great last-mile delivery experience starts with streamlining your delivery operations. This means optimizing the way you plan and execute deliveries. 

Solutions like route optimization software are your best friends in this journey. By using these tools, you can plan the most efficient routes for your delivery drivers. This not only reduces delivery times but also minimizes the chances of errors, making your customers happier and more satisfied.

Imagine a scenario where your drivers are spending less time on the road, making more deliveries, and encountering fewer issues. The result? Faster, more reliable deliveries that your customers can count on.

2. Leverage technology for real-time ETAs 

In the age of instant information, providing accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA) to your customers is nonnegotiable. Imagine being able to give your customers a precise delivery time, allowing them to plan their day around it. This transparency not only builds trust but also significantly boosts customer satisfaction.

To make this happen, consider investing in last-mile delivery software. It provides real-time ETAs based on actual delivery progress, traffic conditions, and other variables. Your customers will appreciate this level of predictability, and it can set you apart from competitors who don’t offer such precision.

3. Optimize delivery options 

Your customers love options, especially when it comes to delivery. Imagine being able to cater to various preferences and schedules. By strategically locating distribution centers and offering a range of delivery methods (like same-day, next-day, or click-and-collect), you can provide choices that suit different needs.

This optimization makes sure your services are accessible and adaptable. Customers can select the option that best aligns with their immediate needs, making their experience with your brand even more satisfying.

4. Utilize algorithms for delivery optimization

Algorithms can be your secret weapon in optimizing fleet management and last-mile delivery logistics. These clever programs can consider factors like traffic conditions, delivery windows, and package sizes to create the most efficient routes for your delivery drivers.

Imagine the impact on your operations: faster deliveries, reduced fuel consumption, and lower operational costs. This optimization allows you to provide faster service without sacrificing profitability.

5. Measure the right metrics 

Measuring the right metrics is like having a GPS for your delivery operations. Tracking metrics like on-time delivery rates, order accuracy, and customer feedback provides insights into areas that need improvement. It helps you make data-driven decisions that continually enhance your delivery services.

Imagine the power of knowing exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This knowledge empowers you to address issues promptly, resulting in a consistently outstanding customer experience.

6. Enhance every touch point in the customer journey 

Every interaction your customer has with your delivery service matters. From the moment they place an order online to tracking their package, and finally receiving it, each touch point contributes to their overall experience. Making sure these interactions are seamless and satisfying is paramount.

Imagine a journey where every step is hassle-free, where customers feel valued and informed at every touch point. This not only can boost satisfaction but also create loyal customers who spread positive word of mouth.

  • Online ordering. Make your website user-friendly and informative.
  • Order confirmation. Offer clear order summaries, estimated times, and contact information.
  • Real-time updates. Offer real-time updates to keep customers informed and confident about their order’s progress.
  • Customer support. Your support team should address concerns and turn issues into positive experiences.
  • Post-purchase feedback. Gather feedback from customers to help improve your processes.
  • Loyalty and follow-up. Keep the journey going with incentives and personalized communication to build lasting loyalty.

7. Improve delivery speed and control operating costs 

Last-mile delivery accounts for more than half of the total cost of shipping.

The influence of delivery speed and operating costs on a delivery business’s bottom line is substantial. Speed can attract customers but may inflate costs. So, striking the right balance requires a nuanced approach. 

Offering a spectrum of delivery options, spanning from standard to expedited, enables you to cater to diverse customer needs and pricing preferences. Thoughtful route planning, inventory control, and technology utilization empower you to streamline operations while keeping expenses in check. 

Remember, customer satisfaction isn’t solely tied to speed — it also hinges on dependability and consistency. Consistently fulfilling delivery commitments, even if they entail slightly longer wait times in some instances, can foster trust and contentment.

Master the last-mile customer experience

Mastering the customer experience is the key to success. From offering timely deliveries and accurate windows to leveraging cutting-edge technology, every step matters. 

To excel in this dynamic industry, prioritize transparency, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. 

And remember, in today’s digital age, social media amplifies both praise and criticism, so delivering exceptional service is paramount. Your delivery drivers are the face of your company, and their interactions can make or break the customer’s day.

Ready to take your last-mile delivery process to the next level? Discover how Circuit for Teams can help you streamline your delivery routes, manage on-time deliveries, and exceed customer expectations.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.


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Logistics map interface showing the New York afternoon delivery run with route lines and list of addresses