Toll Group Delivers Driver/Salesmen for Pureplay Retailers

Toll Holdings has announced it is intending to train its drivers as a ‘sales force’, which is aimed to provide better feedback for online retailers. The logistics group says that delivery drivers will be armed with mobile devices and will be asking consumers to participate in surveys at the point of delivery.

Consumers will be given the option to answer questions that cover service satisfaction as well as expressions of interest on further products alongside their delivered goods. The aim is to provide quality feedback and potential sales leads back to pureplay online retailers that may never get the chance to talk to their customers face to face.

Managing Director at Toll, Brian Kruger, told the Australian Financial Review that research shows there is significant demand for the initiative.

“Pureplay e-tailers don’t ever get the opportunity to personally interface directly with their consumer, so we are giving them an avenue to do so. Even if not everyone is keen, I think that by offering it as an option, will be something that will differentiate us.”

The proposal will require drivers to up-skill in order to shoulder these new responsibilities, however Kruger believes they will relish the opportunity.

“It will actually make the drivers’ task more interesting and challenging,” he told AFR, “it puts the onus on us to make sure we have the right quality of people doing the work.”

While the initiative certainly demonstrates Toll Group’s drive for innovation and commitment to the pureplay online sector, questions remain over its viability. While the driver fleet is best placed to interface directly with these consumers, will they be able to juggle the dual responsibilities of timely, accurate delivery and selling to their customers? Even dedicated, full-time customer-facing sales staff can take a lot of time and investment to train.

Beyond these concerns, how many targets are these delivery personnel already facing? By adding another set of KPIs to their role,Toll may well be creating a situation where its delivery service will actually suffer as a result. Or perhaps consumers will show no interest in being ‘sold’ to on their doorstep, and any investment in the project will be for nothing.

Internet Consumer Psychologist from the University of Melbourne, Brent Coker, told AFR that the plan is bound to fail if consumers are made to feel like they’re being given the ‘hard sell’.

“People are jaded about the hard sell. We know this from Facebook even. Nobody pulls a hard sell on Facebook anymore. It’s all about laying the foundation for a sale later.”

What do you think about Toll’s new plan to provide some extra service in the last mile? Is this a well-calculated addition or a complete shot in the dark?

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