What’s the real definition of on-time delivery? According to a recent book titled Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, the real definition for on-time delivery is not defined by anyone except the customer and standards are dynamic and getting tougher daily. Companies like Amazon are resetting the definition and changing the way customers think about on-time delivery. How do Amazon’s standards apply to your operation? See what these authors are saying…

On-time Delivery is one of the four elements of customer satisfaction

A key section of the book describes the four elements of customer satisfaction, and timeliness is number 3 along with: a great product, caring and friendly people and processes dedication to resolving problems. The authors are very clear about the importance and growing standards for on-time delivery:

“In a world of iPhones and IM, your customers get to decide what is or isn’t an appropriate timeline. A perfect product delivered late by friendly, caring people is the equivalent of a defective one. Customer experience guide their expectations, so on-time delivery standards continue to get tougher all the time. What your customer today thinks of on-time delivery is not only stricter than what her father would have tolerated, it’s stricter than what her older sister would have tolerated.[i]

I love this definition of on-time delivery as it shows how fast perceptions are changing.

Amazon resets the standard for on-time delivery

Who would disagree that standards are rising constantly, driven by more connected and demanding consumers? We’re more educated and knowledgeable than ever and because of delivery leaders like Amazon, Zappos and others, we now expect amazing delivery standards in all our company relationships.

What can you do in your own environment: A New Way: Active work distribution

If you are responsible for customer experience and/or delivery of products and services and there is room for improvement in your operations, what can you do about it? There is a new method emerging to ensure on-time delivery for your customers.

Managing workload: The weakness is in people management

The problem: Current methods of managing work in product and service fulfillment areas are not designed around on-time delivery. Instead they are designed around the steps of a process. Most process workflows managed by CRM or BPM are extremely efficient except when people get involved and this occurs often. One University of Wisconsin study showed that around 75% of work processes can be fully automated, but processes remain where people add value and manual reviews and evaluations take place. Think mortgages, insurance claims, loans, government entitlements, order exceptions, complex banking tasks. The list is a long one.

Even when work is pushed to a desktops or workbins, it is typically left up to the employee to select the next job and when to work on the task. With multiple workbins, tasks are under tracked, timed and there is no alert reporting when customer tasks are late.

Active work distribution and workload management

Active Work Distribution is characterized by actively tracking, timing and reporting on tasks when they are in the hands of employees. When work is delivered to the employee, an employee work session is kicked-off and timed.

Based on business rules, work can be delivered in multiple ways; push with a choice for rejection, no rejection possible, pull, etc. There are many possibilities and combinations to suit the environment of a particular back office operation. The key differences with active work distribution are that work tasks are never lost nor do they fall into blind spots from an ‘on-time delivery’ perspective because they are always:

  1. Tracked (even when in the hands of employees)
  2. Timed and
  3. Reported

Work is always tracked, timed and reported based on customer promises and SLAs (service level agreements). For example, if a job that is getting close to deliver date is not being worked, it can automatically be withdrawn and submitted to another employee who is present and available for new work and timing can continue. The objective is work delivered on-time, every time with the right resources.

For those who will be attending G-Force Boca Raton (May 14 – 16) we recommend taking a look at our sessions schedule (browse to “break outs”) In particular we recommend “Preparing Your Company for Enterprise-Wide Customer Service”

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[i] Leornardo Inghilleri and Micah Soloman, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, AMACOM, New York, 2010

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