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Want Happier Customers? 1) Get a Delivery App. 2) Put a Moving Truck on It

Anticipation might be great for ketchup commercials, but it's no fun for customers awaiting your delivery. Lots of dealers know this from the calls customers and sales reps make to their beleaguered dispatcher. Even if you installed dispatch and delivery software, customers still will fret.

What can you do? Enlist science.

"It turns out that design can completely change whether a five-minute wait feels reasonable or completely unbearable," a recent podcast by the program 99% Invisible reports. The key, researchers found, is to be honest and transparent.

The report noted the challenge that Kayak faced while its search engines were looking for deals on flights. Instead of a progress bar, Kayak gave the user two things: an animation showing what percentage of the job had been completed and, importantly, a report on what the search algorithm was doing at that moment.

"This little animation gave the user something that none of the other loading designs could … transparency," 99% Invisible reported. "Instead of thinking of waiting as robbing you of your time, suddenly you are spending your time on something worthwhile. In this case, users could see all of the work that Kayak’s algorithm was doing and they could imagine that if they tried to do all that work themselves and check every single one of those airlines on their own individual site, it would take forever."

This brings us to SRS Distribution and its Roof Hub Pro app, introduced earlier this year. Roof Hub Pro's delivery notification includes the icon of a truck showing its location en route to the job site as well as the estimated time remaining to arrive.

People who use Uber and Lyft might see nothing new in this, but for contractors, such service remains rare. Most dispatch and delivery programs now being offered might provide an estimated time of arrival, but they don't provide the extra context of showing where the delivery truck is and how fast it's moving. If you're in a metro area with lots of traffic jams, this has the extra benefit of helping explain to customers that it's the traffic's fault, not yours, if your truck is behind schedule.

Going back a step, if you haven't acquired dispatch and delivery software yet, keep in mind that it's more than an efficiency tool for your operations. It also can give your customers a sense of confidence that you'll arrive by the time you promised.

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