The Connected Customer – Special Guest Post by David Sanders, Bestrane Group
There are numerous examples of the power of logistics technology to satisfy ever increasing demands in shorter timelines, yet most logistics organizations use this power to manage costs down through lower kms, fewer trucks etc. Sitting right under their noses is a much more powerful opportunity to use the same platforms to manage revenues, as well.
So how do leading companies actually use their logistics technological prowess to promote its service value in its market? Let’s take a look at a great commercial from down under. The commercial is from Origin Energy, Australia’s leading provider of LPG gas to residential and commercial customers. These customers expect Origin to keep them continually supplied and hence managing customer inventories is a top priority for the company. Origin has taken this delivery challenge and turned it into a strength, promoting their delivery notification solution as a value-added service in this commercial.
In the commercial you can see how they are increasing customer engagement and satisfaction by letting the customer track their delivery in real-time. Logistics technology from The Descartes Systems Group is used to develop optimized plans and then continually ‘sense’ how those plans are executed through a real-time GPS enabled mobile solution. This provides Origin with all the information regarding the delivery to share with its customers anytime they want to.
Typically, this information is used to provide visibility of when a delivery will arrive directly to the customers mobile device which directly addresses one of its biggest challenges to successful delivery. Ensuring safe access to the customer LPG tank or cylinder location often requires customer to be onsite to unlock gates and restrain dogs etc. Origin have seen a sharp reduction in “gate to gate” delivery times through the reduction of waiting times as well as a reduction in ‘futile” deliveries where the delivery could not be completed due to restricted access.
The combination of Glympse Customer Journey and Bestrane’s Customer Notifications Engine provides something even more valuable .. it gives Origin the ability to:
- Design what messages make sense to each customer group
- Detect when those messages occur
- Assemble a suitable message along with any other companion message relevant to the customer and/or customer segment
- Send it to the Customer
This gives Origin a unique platform to provide timely, relevant communications to its customers not only about their delivery event but also provides a valuable communication channel to provide timely, relevant information about Origin’s other initiatives and offers. Origin’s Sales and Marketing organizations understand this and have used this platform to keep customers connected to their efforts. One recent example was the new “Good Energy” branding that Origin announced, along with the traditional channels, the Origin Glympse message was used as part of the communications strategies to inform customers of the new brand.
In this animation, Origin Energy does a phenomenal job explaining to customers how this capability is being used to drive value to the customer and company. For anyone considering using a notifications process, this is a fantastic example of an end -to-end process. Notice the number of touches which can be scaled up and down to address each customer segment. Many companies are reticent to have this level of contact, but in Origin Energy’s case, they do a great job guiding the customer through the process and help to ensure that the customer does their part in making the delivery successful.
The LPG market is tough, because the only 2 ways distribution companies can compete is through price and service. Even price is a tough place to sustainably compete as there is little barrier for competitors do the same. That’s why service – which is mostly logistics-based service, is so important. The lesson for everyone is that companies that perform the best know how to take logistics technology beyond operations and use it an asset for sales and marketing. How is your company employing logistics technology to make a difference to how you sell to your customers?