DPD is the fastest growing parcel delivery company in the UK and has experienced unprecedented growth of 20% a year in recent times. The success is down to an obsession with being totally customer-centric. Not just one department doing ‘customer care’ – the whole company, 52 weeks of the year.

This mind-set drives everything we do and guides every investment. It is about putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes over and over again. That is how we created Predict – DPD’s unique one hour delivery slot service – based on the fact that online shoppers hate waiting in all day for deliveries.

Predict notifies recipients in advance of a one hour delivery slot via text or email and then allows them to watch the progress of their DPD driver on his round, with a real-time countdown to their own delivery and an accurate 15 minute delivery slot, so that they know exactly when to expect their parcel.

The launch of Predict was a game-changer for the delivery market and for UK retailers.

Now, with the latest Predict upgrade, customers receive a notification of their delivery the evening before, with five interactive ‘in-flight’ delivery options. In addition to the already popular ‘Change Delivery Day’ and ‘Deliver to a Specific Neighbour’, customers can now access three new options; ‘Deliver to a Safe Place’, Collect From Nearest Depot’ and ‘Upgrade My Delivery.’ These can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or desktop at any point during the delivery if the customer can’t be at home on the day to accept their parcel.

DPD now send around 1.1 million Predict notifications every week and approximately 10%, or over 100,000 recipients, use one of the in-flight options.

These are really significant enhancements. We know that the more we can communicate in real-time with recipients, the more we can ensure a safe and secure first time delivery. Our aim with these latest improvements is to double the response rate by increasing the options available the evening before. That way we are giving people more time to make arrangements and real options that suit them.

Technology and real-time communication hold the key now to helping organisations benefit from the e-tailing boom. Retailers and businesses don’t want to just punt their parcels out into the ether and hope the majority of them get there in the end. A great delivery experience can now be the difference between a repeat purchase and a loyal customer or a ‘never-again’ style tirade on social media. Customers are much more sophisticated these days and a delivery service that they can control and interact with via their smartphone is much more in keeping with their lifestyle, and far more likely to elicit a positive reaction for the brands they are dealing with.

Later this year we intend to take this further still by becoming the first UK carrier to provide a nationwide express Sunday delivery service for all our customers. The service, which will start on 20 July 2014, will cover 98% of the UK population and will see us collect from business customers on a Saturday for next-day delivery on Sunday, for the first time.

We know from talking to retailers and recipients that there is a real demand for Sunday deliveries. The majority of our larger customers in the retail sector are moving to a 24/7 operation, so we wanted to make sure that they have a trusted delivery partner that can provide a full collection and delivery service every day of the week too.

But hand-in-hand with technological and service improvements comes real investment in our people and our physical network. In 2013 DPD created over 1,000 new jobs – a hugely significant investment, designed to maintain the excellent service our customers have come to expect from us and help future-proof our network in terms of being able to handle the anticipated increase in e-commerce parcel volumes.

Last year DPD was also granted planning permission to build a new £100m parcel hub at Hinckley Commercial Park in the East Midlands. Building work on the 33 acre site, which will be the largest of its kind in Europe and capable of handling 70,000 parcels an hour, is progressing well and is on schedule to be completed in 2015, creating a further 1,000 permanent full-time jobs.

DPD vehicle at depot

Earlier this year DPD announced its most ambitious expansion plans to date with the development of 15 new depots in the UK.

The state-of-the-art new depots we’ve been building in recent years have made a huge impact on the network in terms of extra capacity and greater efficiency. Our new super-depots will take this to another level. This scale of investment sends a strong message to businesses and online retailers that we are a confident and growing company that can deliver a first class service.

Dwain McDonald, CEO, DPD.

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