The e-commerce industry is growing at a rapid pace in India. According to a Morgan Stanley report, Indian e-commerce industry has grown 68% in the last 3 years, and this is expected to improve over the next 3 years as well.

For the e-commerce industry to grow at this pace, they will need to be backed by strong logistics partners right from the warehousing to delivery to return management. Since the logistics players are the face of the e-commerce companies for the customers, this relationship becomes extremely critical.

Most large e-commerce companies have set out to build a fleet to solve their reach & efficiency issues – Amazon Prime, Ali Express, eKart and the latest to join the party – Lazada Express in South East Asia.

One of the major reasons these players build their own logistics arm rather than work with old-school logistics companies is operational efficiency. There is one factor that contributes to this improvement in efficiency – the use of technology.

These new-age logistics companies are increasingly investing more funds in technology that helps them reach the customers faster and more efficiently. While reaching the customer is one part of the equation, communication through the delivery process has also become a very important piece of the puzzle.

The logistics sector has always largely been unorganised. Once the consignment leaves the warehouse, there is a black hole of information about their movement. Both the customer and the logistics company do not have enough information about the delivery process till the order reaches the customer. And cloud telephony solves this problem very efficiently.

technology-in-logistics No more black hole of information during deliveries:

  1. Reduce Reschedules & No-Shows by pro-actively calling a customer to check availability for delivery or pick-up.Earlier, delivery personnel used to show up for deliveries or pick-ups without checking with the customer if they were available. In case the customer is not available when they show up, they have no choice but to go back later. This is especially true in the case of cash on delivery (COD) orders where the customer has to be available to make a payment.

    Currently, no-shows range between 18-40% for various last mile interactions.This results in a lot of inefficiencies and loss of revenue for the companies. You can use this data to schedule your deliveries or appointments efficiently in real-time.

The solution: 

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  1. Adhere to Operation Guidelines & SLAs with valid proof-of-attempt based on call attempts and call recordings of the field workforce.In the case of failed deliveries, there is no way to track why the delivery resulted in a failure. And most importantly, there is no usable data on how this can be prevented. Many times when deliveries don’t happen on time, the delivery personnel claim they called the customer but there was no answer or that they were told to come back later.

    In cases like this, there is no way to verify the calls made by the field executives as they are made from their mobile phones.

The solution:
By using a virtual number to connect the calls between delivery executives & the customer, companies can now track the following

  • Did the executive call the customer before attempting delivery?
  • If yes, how many times did they call?
  • What time were these calls made?
  • The average number of times an executive speaks to the customer for a delivery.
  • The average time taken to deliver from the first attempt to reach a customer.
  • The typical response when the executive tried to call a customer – Answered, Busy or Not Reachable?
  • This data can be used to improve customer experience & resolve conflicts at scale.


  1. Protect customer privacy by enabling conversations between field executives and customers without revealing each other’s phone numbers.Reports suggest that around 74% of consumers have limited their online activity in the last year due to privacy concerns.In India, it is impossible for deliveries to happen without a phone call. One of the biggest reasons is that locations are not accurately mapped and finding an address involves some guidance from the customer.

    The solution: Field executives can call a toll-free or a virtual number and enter the order reference number through his keypad (DTMF). Using the mobile number of the executive and the reference number you can now make a secure outbound call to the right customer. Voila, calls happen without revealing either party’s phone numbers.

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  1. Gather real-time order updates from the field workforce by using phone call instead of depending on data.

    Traditionally, delivery personnel finish an entire day’s work and then come back to the office and update information about the deliveries and pickups that happened during the day. What happens in this case is, through the day, there is no way for e-commerce companies to update their inventory based on the status of deliveries or pickups. Some modern logistics companies have tried to solve this problem by doing a real-time update over a custom app at the end of each delivery.

    The biggest drawback with this solution is that data connectivity is flaky. And in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, it is worse than the metros.

    The solution: Using a Toll-Free number & multi-lingual IVR, you can get real-time delivery and pickup updates. This way of collecting information over a phone call is very helpful in areas with poor data connectivity or internet penetration is low.

    Field executives can punch in order numbers for different actions like delivery or pickup, and confirm on the IVR with options such as delivery completed, re-scheduled, unable to contact, etc.This information gathered through IVR can be passed to e-commerce vendors in real-time.

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  1. Train a large workforce with learning guides on voice calls and IVR based quizzes.One of the problems of the logistics is that it is been a largely unorganised sector. But today, it is important to train and work constantly with the field workforce to improve the service provided.

    As I mentioned earlier in this article, it is important the field agents are trained well since they are the face of the company for the customers who deal with them.

    The solution: With easy-to-setup IVR campaigns, training teams can make learning fun via multilingual quizzes for field workforce.Employees can dial into a Toll-Free number, attempt to answer quizzes relevant to their work and win prizes!

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Click here to read how Ola uses automated IVR calls to train drivers.

  1. Communicate effectively with the workforce using automated outbound calls in various languages.Voice is one of the most efficient channels to communicate new policies, alerts or any other announcements in real time. Operations team can set up new campaigns in just a few minutes and broadcast information with simple call to actions using IVR.


  1. Reduce expenses on telephony with reimbursements only for business calls made by field executives.Right now, logistics companies have no way to differentiating between personal calls and delivery calls. But, due to the scale of the operations and the sheer number of calls, there is no way to manually verify this information.

    The solution:

    Route calls to customers using a virtual number and use this data to differentiate between personal & business calls.

This simple measure can save up to 35% on reimbursement bills for businesses.

trust_data If you’re looking to track your last mile communications & improve your efficiency, write to us at

AUTHOR: Nikhil Kumar

Nikhil works as the Chief Evangelist at Exotel. He is responsible for forging strategic partnerships & building a world class developer eco-system. Prior to this, Nikhil was the Co-Founder of Voyce, a retail customer engagement platform which was acquired by Exotel.

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