Imagine this scenario. You go online and purchase a new book, paying extra for fast courier delivery because you need it in a hurry. The retailer sends you an email to confirm that they have taken your payment and the order will be processed soon.
After a couple of hours you get another email letting you know that the book has been packed and will be dispatched by the morning.
The next morning you get a text sent from the courier to let you know an estimated time of arrival at your address, with further updates as the time gets closer – just to ensure you know exactly when you need to be at home to sign for the parcel.
In many ways this sounds normal. Most retailers will send out an order confirmation, and possibly even a note to tell you that the items are packed and on the way, but this is often where the process breaks down with consumers stuck at home for a parcel that might never arrive.
I recently heard a musician friend complaining that she waited all day for a major courier firm to deliver a parcel that made up a part of her stage set – which was going to be needed the following day at a live concert. There was no information from the courier firm on the day leading to endless calls chasing them.
It turned out the van had broken down and returned to base during the afternoon, but nobody informed the dozens of customers waiting for the parcels on that van. My friend had to drive over to the parcel depot and plead for her parcel to be released from the van – delivery the next day was going to be too late – causing yet more calls to customer service agents and managers.
Can you see what I am getting at? If companies push service update information to their customers then it can prevent an enormous amount of inbound information requests.
This is not rocket science – as the courier example demonstrates – but it improves life for the consumer because they understand exactly when a parcel is being delivered, or the time an application will be considered, or the time any formal process will take place, as well as reducing the number of calls and other enquiries the company needs to handle.