As consumer expectations rise, so too does the cost of meeting them. How can today’s supply chain directors balance service standards and cost to consistently satisfy—and retain—their customers?
The digital world has given consumers unparalleled access to businesses the world over. With this comes choice, convenience, and the ability to make more economic purchasing decisions.
Today’s customers expect to get their goods fast and to their convenience when they order them. They expect flexibility around delivery options, and increasingly, they expect little or no delivery charge for these services.
Failure to meet customer expectations puts companies at risk of losing business to their competitors, meaning that as expectations rise, businesses must reassess their supply chains to guarantee customer satisfaction.
Meeting rising customer expectations cost-effectively
Greater connectivity has brought the continued survival of brand loyalty into question: research suggests today’s consumers are less likely to shop with their favourite brand when they learn that they can get the same product faster or for a lower price elsewhere. This is particularly true of repeat purchases and consumer packaged goods, where loyalty typically stems from the optimum experience (for example, convenience or low cost), and not an attachment to the brand itself.
In this ecosystem, it is the businesses consistently delivering exceptional customer services that stand the biggest likelihood of not only maintaining customer loyalty among their consumer base but attracting and winning new customers from their competitors.
The challenge for supply chain directors is to design a supply chain that accommodates uncompromising standards of service, and does so cost-effectively.
How to satisfy customer expectations
Companies might look to re-design and implement the following processes in order to delight their customers.
Exceptional delivery operations
Are you able to offer a midnight next-day order cut off to meet the expectations of your customers?
Agility to handle fluctuating demand
Do you have the flexibility to handle huge fluctuation in demand such as new product launches, and peak trading times, for example Black Friday?
Improved inventory management
Are you holding too much inventory and unnecessarily tying up cash?
Consistent improvements to quality
Do you need to improve the quality of your service in order to maintain competitive advantage?
Adding value at every touchpoint
Are you identifying the opportunities for adding value that go beyond your current services?
Are rising customer expectations causing you to reconsider how your supply chain operates? When did you last review the cost-effectiveness of your operations?
Assessing the way your existing supply chain currently affects customer experience, particularly in the key areas described above, could be the solution.