Missed deliveries are one of the most frustrating issues for retailers making deliveries in their own vehicles. The cost of sending a driver back out on the road can really begin to eat into your profits.

Not to mention the time and resources spent arranging a re-delivery or worse, negotiating a refund.

Missed deliveries are annoying for customers too – even if you know it was their fault. Customers can become frustrated, and start to demand a discount or to broadcast their irritation on social media.

eDelivery.net recently reported that “nearly one in four British consumers (23%) say poor communication has caused them to miss a delivery in the past 12 months”.

In fact, in 2014 alone, missed deliveries cost the UK e-commerce sector £771m in lost business according to this report in Post and Parcel.

But how can you avoid missed deliveries?

With SMS messaging.

Specifically, proactive SMS messages, that are triggered to send exactly when your customer needs them (based on information gathered via the driver app).

Research from Engage Hub found that the majority of customers (59% to be precise) would prefer to receive a text about their delivery than any other form of communication. If a customer receives a text, say, 30 minutes before their delivery is due to arrive then, even if they’ve forgotten about it, they should be able to get home in time or to or call the driver to redirect the parcel to a neighbour.

The customer will have visible confirmation of the delivery address, so can let their driver know immediately if it is incorrect, and give them the right address.

Even though many people receive emails directly to their phone nowadays, they often don’t check every single one that comes in, when it comes in, but most people keep notifications switched on for SMS messages, and will read them as soon as they receive them.

An ETA that is sent 30 minutes before is likely to be pretty accurate too, so your customers are less likely to get frustrated waiting in for their delivery with no idea when it is likely to arrive.

SMS messages aren’t just for your B2C customers either. Busy store managers or warehouse operatives could be more likely to see a text on their mobile than an email in their back office.

SMS messaging reduces the likelihood of missed deliveries, and adds an extra layer of personalised service that your customers will remember you for.

We’ve already explored how delivery and transport management software can help you differentaite your delivery offering with outstanding customer service – SMS messaging is one more way do just that.

In STREAM, SMS messages cost a few pence per message – a negligible amount compared to the cost of rearranging delivery! SMS messages can be configured a number of ways to be sent at particular time periods (for example, 30 minutes before the delivery is due to arrive) when a certain action is taken (like once the delivery has been arranged) or even at particular geographic points (e.g. when the driver is 15 miles away from the delivery address).