The last mile must be first priority with delivery-led companies. Here’s how you can get the best out of the actors who control the ‘grand finale’ of your show: The 4 and 2 wheeled drivers.
There’s no point in rustling up dishes that make the Michelin jury beam if they reach your customers’ table cold and make them wince, is there? For companies active in the delivery space, this is concern number one. And it doesn’t just apply to food firms – everything from courier companies to multi-category delivery teams need to pull up their socks if they want to correct RoI, maintain a competitive edge and keep ‘delivering on their promise.’
Keep Your Customers At the Centre, But Your Delivery Rockstars At The Core
Keeping your delivery mechanism sharp begins by keeping your delivery fleets and drivers on top of their game. But that doesn’t happen if you don’t give them a reason to fire. Suppose they don’t feel an attachment with the brand and the organization.
The core task being the same across the industry, it is only through your attitude that you can generate true competitive differentiation and attract great driver talent. And the only way to tick that golden box is to ‘play on their team.’ Be on their side. Root for them. Be their cheerleader. In other words, they genuinely want to make a difference in their lives. When you care for them, they care for you. Everybody wins.
Decode Their Wishlist
Research shows that happiness raises business productivity by 31%.
The expectations your fleets-on-street and delivery drivers have from you are often basic – as compared to, say, your rockstar employees – but that doesn’t give you the license to treat them lightly. In fact, glossing over them can be suicidal. The humble nature of their requirements also makes it easy to take care of them.
Begin by exploring the best communication channels with them: One that works two-ways by allaying teething suspicion & awkwardness and encourages them to open up and express themselves spontaneously and frequently with you.
This can be first-hand, in-person chats (coffee will help, once in a while!), one-on-one WhatsApp, online surveys, emails, messaging on the company intranet, etc., video / digital meet.
Hear out their griefs and gripes (frustrations), take note of their insights and recommendations, share a word or two of encouragement, and, most importantly, try to act on their inputs promptly so that know it’s not all an act and that you are genuinely concerned.
How To Improve Delivery Performance?
HEAL WHAT HURTS | Here’s how you can improve delivery driver performance by redesigning their app experience.
You’ve heard them. Now, listen to the Data
Without data, all we have are opinions.
You must have real-time tech and monitoring systems in place that keep a close tab on various fleet and driver activity KPI’s – be it vehicle performance, driver/vehicle safety, choice of routes, driver habits, or fuel spends. Staying armed with dashboards, audits, and reports on every aspect is important on several fronts.
For one, it lets you cross-check and validate the feedback your drivers bring in from the streets – and spot discrepancies and anomalies in different ‘versions’ you receive at the end of each day.
Secondly, it gives you visibility into insights and lacunae, which even drivers-on-the-ground may not quite be able to ‘place their finger on.’ Data will also lend vitally peeks into safety parameters like the mechanical/technical state of the vehicle fleet (2 and 4 wheelers), level of driving skills, mindfulness of traffic rules, and so on – all of which will help you firm up safety measures for your folks, something they will be grateful to you for.
Customize The KPI
A study by Harvard Business Review found that empathetic companies outperform their more callous counterparts by 20%.
Keep your expectations from your workers real and humane. It’s natural to keep one eye on the ‘industry normal’ and tempting to aim above what the ‘competitor is doing,’ but make sure not to suffocate your drivers and fleets-on-street under the weight of expectation:
Give them sufficient leeway and space to ‘operate their way.’
Remember that the trick to extracting the best out of work is not to make it feel like work at all. So do take the extra effort to gather your overarching business vision and daily activity targets under the scanner and cobble the two up in a way that makes the best sense to your teams.
Help Them Get Better At What They Do
Combine on-ground feedback and tech findings to compile valuable training guides that help your drivers work ‘smart’ (as opposed to ‘hard’) and let you allocate resources optimally.
This, while impacting efficiencies and lifting company performance and bottom lines, will empower your drivers to earn more and earn you the loyalty of your best performers. It is also a great idea to leverage learnings to create customized coaching programs and re-initiation workshops, seminars, and demonstrations that keep your teams at par with the best.
Finally, make sure you stoke competitive behaviour by gamifying daily rituals. In principle, gamification is all about integrating elements like rules, scoring, and competition to encourage engagement and turn the daily grind of work fun and motivating. Latest digital innovations in the performance and motivation space will let you gamify driver activity and maintain daily leaderboards to turn the chase for targets into a quest for glory.
Delivery Driver Incentives Is The Solution
The lack of recognition and engagement is driving 44% of employees to switch jobs.
Motivating your drivers to scale the next level is both a science and an art. Seasoned leaders make sure to factor both the elements of the ‘stimulation universe’ – extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation – to keep their workers on their toes.
Extrinsic motivation – comprising rewards like money, titles, prestige, awards, promotions, and gifts of material indulgence – is the more common and familiar form, and chances are you already have a plan for it.
Therefore, do take the time and effort to add the other half – intrinsic motivation – into the equation sufficiently so that the picture is truly complete. Intrinsic motivation maps to our inner drives and passions and things that make us feel fulfilled and happy from within. It is usually linked less with the job itself and more with the conditions and atmosphere surrounding it.
To motivate your drivers intrinsically, it is often sufficient to ensure a fair and enabling playground: Once you have set that ecosystem in place, step back and let them take the game forward in a form and format they are most comfortable in. Of course, it all begins by understanding the real persona under each of your delivery drivers’ computer-generated ID, and you must identify, inspire, and pamper it.
Hail your Heroes With Driver Rewards
69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
Recognition and rewards (R&R) is the secret sauce to getting the best out of your delivery drivers, simply because they add zing to the drudgery of duty and lift what can be a fairly dull job profile. However, it is important to keep in mind that R&R can come in many forms and that non-monetary forms of showing appreciation can be just as compelling sometimes.
Start by upping your managers’ mindsets and attitudes vis-à-vis the delivery drivers they lead by giving the latter the dignity and courtesy they deserve. Then, try and take it a notch higher by including them – as much as is feasible – in your decision-making process. Make them – to the extent you can – part of your team discussions and celebrations.
Doing so won’t just make performance more seamless and streamlined, but the extra importance you attach to your driver heroes will go a long way to melt their hearts. This, incidentally, is also a great way to build your recruiter or employer brand and can catapult your organization into the league of the ‘best fleets to drive for’ – if not officially, but certainly in the fleet/driver community grapevine.
Rites of Rewarding
Receiving gifts and words of affirmation are favored ways to be recognized.
Coming to the actual matter of driver rewards, there are certain thumb rules you will do good to take note of for best results. One, your rewards must be sync with the wish-lists of the recipients and be desirable enough.
In other words, make it worth their while. Two – it must resonate with the personality and preference-sets of the recipient.
So make it personal: Refrain from gifting a motorbike to someone who can’t /doesn’t drive – that’s taking behavioural change expectation to one level too high!
Third – ‘Make a meal out of the moment’ by turning the occasion into a golden memory for the recipient. One way to do this is to make the reward a public affair and honor winners ‘in full visibility of the team,’ such as during the company’s annual R&R evening – unless, of course, someone wants to keep things discreet.
Interestingly, workers are usually only too happy to hail co-workers (with surveys suggesting that “when offered a simple tool to do so, 44% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis”), so make sure you innovate to create channels that can accommodate and celebrate that ‘in-it-together’ spirit. Finally, be prompt with your rewards: An incentive delayed is pretty much an incentive denied, so don’t let the winning tempo drop.