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Customers Are Changing the High-Tech Game

In recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in the landscape of customer service, one in which a company's customers, as opposed to the companies themselves, are making the demands on supply chains. More often than not, customers are calling the shots on when, where, and how they want their goods and services delivered and ultimately determining what goods and services will succeed in the marketplace.

This is not an entirely new phenomenon in the high-tech industry, which is particularly prone to unpredictable fluctuations in consumer demand. New products become “must haves” overnight, and existing products become obsolete just as quickly.

These trends illustrate the critical need for high-tech manufacturers to focus on customer service across the supply chain to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and build greater customer loyalty. This means moving beyond a “reactive” view of customer service and embracing a more proactive approach to anticipating customer needs at all stages of the supply chain. Even after a product has left a manufacturer's distribution facility, the company still has the opportunity to make a difference in the delivery experience of the product.

In fact, the product delivery experience is a critical aspect of customer service, and one that is often overlooked by companies. UPS research has shown that consumers want more choice around when and how they receive their products. In the delivery business, this means knowing ahead of time when products will arrive; the ability to make changes to or reroute scheduled deliveries; giving customers the ability to communicate delivery choices via mobile devices to free them from waiting on packages at home; and even the option to provide specific details on where packages should be left (such as “garage”).

The security aspect of being able to designate where packages are left is especially critical in the high-tech industry, where many items are high-value, such as smartphones, tablets, and other electronics.

How do businesses benefit from focusing on delivery services to end consumers? The answer is simple: an improved customer experience. Consumers who have a positive delivery experience with a product will associate that positive experience with the retailer and manufacturer. Another potential benefit for businesses is a possible reduction of WISMO or “Where IS My Order” calls from customers.

If customers know ahead of time when their packages are coming, they will not need to call the retailer or manufacturer to inquire about the status, which could ultimately translate into cost savings for companies. Businesses could also see a reduction in the number of undeliverable packages, which could result in savings on return shipments as well as cutting down restocking and check-in costs.

In today's market, companies can get ahead by focusing on new and innovative ways to solve customer pain points and giving more choice and flexibility to their customers. UPS has approached this with the launch of UPS My Choice, a service that has changed the product delivery experience for consumers — as well as the benefit it offers to shippers for enhancing customer service. High-tech manufacturers should think about new ways to engage customers and improve the experience across the supply chain. Companies can do this by embracing solutions of third-party partners and introducing new products and services — ultimately retaining current customers and attracting new ones.

For more information about the UPS My Choice service, please visit www.ups.com/mychoice/pr.

16 comments on “Customers Are Changing the High-Tech Game

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    February 21, 2012

    @Carla: this is a great discussion on an issue that often gets overlooked by consumers. I had several great experiences during Christmas with gift returns. In each case, the deliveries were actually earlier than the estimated date. As a result, my feeling toward the retailers have improved. However, in each case, UPS was the delivery service. The credit should go to UPS. (A belated thank you for your service!)

    The point is, retailers should take note. If their logistics partner reflects well on them, it's a win-win. The same is true if a partner messes up–consumers will blame the retailer. Both good reasons for making sure your logistics partner meets, or exceeds, expectations.

  2. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 21, 2012

    ” High-tech manufacturers should think about new ways to engage customers and improve the experience across the supply chain”

    That is right , Clara. Who pays for the  UPS My Choice services? Customers or manufacturers?

  3. chuang
    February 21, 2012

    Thank you for your question, Hospice_Houngbo. UPS My Choice is a service that the customers pay for – not manufacturers. The service is designed to help consumers manage and control the delivery of their inbound packages they receive from UPS. Manufacturers benefit from this service because the proactive delivery alerts decrease the customer service calls about when the package will arrive. So, it's a win for both customers and manufacturers.

  4. tioluwa
    February 21, 2012

    I know i've benefited from my delivery choice, and where i'm from, things can be a bit messey, but i must say it is always reliable with UPS, so my company always does it's orders via UPS, and that means from distributors who offer the option to ship via UPS.

    I think the area of delivery is one area the fact of the customer's power in the high-tech is evident, but there are so many other areas.

    Indeed the manufacturers have to be proactive

  5. FLYINGSCOT
    February 22, 2012

    I believe the delivery services need to improve their acts and tailor the delivery experience more to customer needs.  They should be a lot more flexible and communicative to deliver what the customer really desires.  Taking a day off to wait for a stupid parcel needs to quickly become a thing of the past.

  6. _hm
    February 22, 2012

    @Carla:

    You need to have innovation in delivery system. This will provide enhanced delivery experience without charging delivery quite compareble to cost of product itself. UPS /Fedex delivery cost are very high.

     

     

  7. ITempire
    February 22, 2012

    “Taking a day off to wait for a stupid parcel needs to quickly become a thing of the past.”

    This is something I have done so many times and its really an awful feeling. But I was helpless as I had already suffered before due to a lost parcel and that incident ensured that my cautiousness level goes up so I do sometimes have to take a day off. Such a service enhancement is likely to increase deliverer's (or rather the last participant of the supply chain) reputation. This option, is however not common yet in my part of the world despite courier businesses producing huge revenues. In future, hopefully, it becomes a necessity to operate such a business.

  8. Ariella
    February 22, 2012

    The technology to fine-tune the tracking to know more precisely when it will be delivered is in place. It's only a matter of making use of it and making the information available to the customers. Now, I only wish that utility companies would do the same and not make people commit to 5 hour windows for service. 

  9. bolaji ojo
    February 22, 2012

    I believe the process of linking manufacturers and customers via the delivery mechanism is a win-win for everyone, especially consumers. I only wish all the parties involved were only transparent about their objectives.

    Often we forget that the customer is or should be the prime focus of the transaction. I ordered some equipment from a store recently and was told delivery could take five to 10 days. I paid but later found the equipment was needed even more urgently. I searched around and found another manufacturer that had the product in stock. I went back to the first store and tried to cancel the first order but was told “it has left our warehouse and you have to bring it back to the store after receiving the product.” Of course, there was a 20 percent restocking fee for returning an unused product.

    A single swipe on some tablet PC would have informed the logistics company to return the product to the manufacturer's warehouse but the seller's goal precluded that. They wanted that 20 percent restocking fee and nothing was going to stand in the way, not even the efficient IT system the logistics company had in place that would have stopped delivery of a product the customer no longer wanted.

  10. itguyphil
    February 23, 2012

    I've found that in New York, a few big delivery companies now have a real person contact you to arrange delivery. I was shocked when this happened a few times. I guess they have finally started to realize that a ticked off end customer is not a good thing… especially when they get paid whether or not the shipment actually makes it to its destination. That's nice to know.

  11. Eldredge
    February 23, 2012

    Just out of curiousity, what benefits doe MyChoice service provide over currently available tracking and delivery confirmation options?

  12. chuang
    February 23, 2012

    @_hm:

    Thanks for your message .Innovation is exactly what we had in mind when we designed UPS My Choice – how can we evolve the delivery process from one where the end receiver has very little control to one where they are empowered and can control the delivery of the packages they are receiving from UPS.

    We continue to drive innovation throughout our product portfolio, and we can certainly connect you with someone that can talk to you about some of our new solutions we have that you may not be aware of.

  13. chuang
    February 23, 2012

    Eldredge:

    With UPS My Choice, you will receive proactive delivery alerts the day before your packages arrive by e-mail, text message or phone. Without this service, you would have to go to the shipper's website to track the package.

    Regarding delivery confirmation, you will receive alerts the day before, the morning of and once the package has been delivered.

    Thanks,
    Carla

  14. _hm
    February 23, 2012

    More innovation is also essential to provide more services without charging unduly high money. Can UPS offer MyChoice service as basic service – without cost increments?

     

     

  15. chuang
    February 24, 2012

    _hm:

    Thank you for your question. UPS My Choice offers its members a free service option, including proactive delivery alerts, approximate delivery time, authorized shipper release and hold for will call. To learn more, visit http://www.ups.com/mychoice/features.

    Thanks,
    Carla

  16. itguyphil
    February 27, 2012

    It probably just works since that's the dedicated service they provide.
    I have used the Fedex and UPS delivery alerts and on a few occasions, have not received a single notification through the entire shipping process.

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