Send this SMS and your customers will love you

Have you ever taken time off work or delayed an activity on the weekend to wait for delivery of an important item or to make an appointment, only for them to arrive while you had nipped up to the shop for 5 minutes or jumped in the shower?

Time spent waiting for in-home services and appointments cost American workers $37.7 billion in 2011 according to an IBOPE Zogby poll. It impacts the other party too - missed deliveries costs UK delivery firms around three-quarters of a billion pounds per year.

So what's going on?

For one thing, we are getting fed up with the whole process. In its latest annual report, the Postal Industry Ombudsman says complaints about Australia Post have almost trebled since 2008 and that most of those complaints are about delivery issues.

One of the reasons that we hate waiting for those that get it wrong so much is that the best companies have taken all the pain out of waiting - and even made it fun! When you order an Uber or food from Dominos or Deliveroo or Uber Eats you know exactly when it will arrive. You know because you get notified when they are on the way, and you can watch them come to you on a map in real time.

Why sending a live tracking link via SMS changes everything

Live tracking makes life easier for both you and the person coming to meet you. In fact, live tracking makes it five to ten times less likely that you will miss a delivery, saving both of you time and money, and there are a bunch of very human reasons why.

If they go to the wrong place, you can correct them before it is too late. Take for instance this complaint on earlier this week:

Australia Post has let me and especially my 3 year old daughter who's birthday is tomorrow. I purchased 6 dress up items for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow, as her party theme is superheros. After tracking the order the package says it was delivered to a near by area. I raised an enquiry and in conclusion the postie left it at an incorrect address. So I would just like to say. Thankyou for the disappointing position you have put me in, as we now have an upset little girl who's not going to have all these items to share with her guests. All that had to be done was check the address was correct. Isn't it part of the job!! Word can't express how frustrated and disappointed we are. Not good enough...

If you can watch someone coming toward you on a map, you can notice if they get lost or head to the wrong place. All you need at that point is a way to contact them and correct the situation. With one call, you might just save a 3-year old’s birthday.



If you look like arriving home too late, you can take evasive action

If you are heading back to meet a delivery or for an appointment with a tradie, how much of a difference will a few minutes make? If you arrive home just after them - a lot! Since it is going to be a pain (and expensive) for the other person if they miss you too, they may well wait a few minutes if they know you are on the way. If you are not able to get there in a reasonable time for them to wait there are options too. If you have something delivered, knowing you will not be home for them and having a way to communicate gives you the chance to ask the driver to leave your goods somewhere safe for you if you have not already given that explicit permission. You can also save them the trip if rescheduling is going to be required. In short, knowing when someone will arrive, plus having a way to communicate, gives us every chance to work things out like normal people.

Knowing you will get the SMS changes the game

I’m an understanding sort of guy. I know that if a plumber has three jobs to do before rocking up to mine, that she cannot be expected to estimate accurately how long each of those stops will take. The first one could turn out to be something serious that takes 3 hours, or all three might take an hour in total. So asking everyone to look into a crystal ball and give us the exact moment of arrival just isn’t fair. BUT, you are no longer trapped at home if you know you will get an SMS when they are on the way, with live tracking and an ETA. Sure you won’t necessarily venture too far away, but a trip to the shops might be ok, taking the dog out or a walk to the park with the kids is on the cards, and you can jump in the shower with confidence. The fear of the dreaded “sorry I missed you” card dramatically reduces.

Send the SMS; it will improve your customer’s life, and they will love you for it.

Spatula gives you a cheap and easy way to send the SMS

Spatula sends live tracking to your customers via an SMS  - nothing for them to download, no tracking number for them to remember. They just click a link and watch your team drive to their door.

Manage your deliveries or appointments from the web portal, dispatch them to your team’s smartphones and start sending tracking links. I really want to hear what your customers think, so sign up to try for free at and try sending live tracking to your next 50 customers and tell me about their response!