Proof of Delivery: What Is It, and Why Is It Crucial for Your Business?

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Online sales are surging, making delivery businesses busier than ever. But the volume of orders is impacting their delivery performance.

Orders are arriving late or not at all. Drivers are scanning items as delivered when they haven’t been. And even when delivery runs smoothly, an increase in porch pirates means a customer’s goods might be gone before they even knew they were there, leaving you stuck paying to refund or replace the order. Unless you have proof of delivery.

If your business delivers anything, you need proof of delivery to give customers peace of mind that they received what they paid for and to protect your business from claims that they didn’t.

Topics covered in this article include:

What Is Proof of Delivery?

Proof of delivery, or POD, is an acknowledgment that an order successfully arrived at its intended destination. But POD isn’t limited to e-commerce packages or food deliveries; it’s also used to show a service was completed, which is why proof of delivery can also be called proof of completion.

Proof of delivery comes in two forms: paper and electronic. A paper POD is a physical document a customer signs once a product or service is delivered. But customers these days are probably more familiar with electronic proof of delivery, which is used by postal services and couriers like DHL and FedEx.

With an electronic POD, customers provide an electronic signature when a product or service is delivered. Or if the customer isn’t home or would prefer a contactless interaction, the delivery driver will take a photo to show completion. If you provide a service, such as landscaping, this could be a picture of the new mulch you installed. If you deliver goods, this would be a picture of the order placed at the customer’s doorstep.

Then the electronic POD — whether a signature or a picture with delivery notes — is sent to a customer via email or through a downloadable link containing the delivery address and time of delivery. Check out our proof of delivery template here.

How does POD differ from a BOL?

Proof of delivery and a bill of lading (BOL) have similarities. Both are documents that accompany shipments and deliveries, and both can help protect your business from liability.

The primary difference between the two is that a POD is just a proof-of-delivery receipt that the consignee, or customer, signs after getting their goods, but a bill of lading is a legal document.

A BOL is a contract between the shipper and the carrier. It contains comprehensive information about the shipment, such as delivery details and a description of the items. The document proves the carrier received the items they will deliver.

Why Proof of Delivery Is Important

Proof of delivery is important because customers want to know if and when their products or services are delivered. For your business, POD saves you from unnecessary costs to replace or refund an order or redo a job.

The benefits of POD for customers:

  • It makes customers feel in control. With in-person sales, customers control when they get their purchases. With online orders, when and if their products arrive is out of their control. An online shopper report found efficient tracking gives consumers a bit of control and reduces anxiety. And 97% of customers expect to monitor their orders through every step of the process. Along with a packing slip, proof of delivery helps provides customers with peace of mind that they’re getting exactly what they ordered when they expect it.
  • POD makes it less likely orders will be stolen. When customers receive their proof of delivery, they can make sure to bring their items in or have a neighbor pick them up if they aren’t home.
  • It lets customers know their service is complete. In a world where contactless interactions are in demand and inside delivery is less common, electronic POD is the best way to give your customers the status of their service, and any next steps. For example, after your employee has fixed that broken pipe, they can send the customer a photo to show the job is complete. If the employee recommends any follow-up work, they can add feedback in the delivery notes.

The benefits of POD for businesses:

  • POD provides a better customer experience. Sometimes, drivers lose packages and say they were delivered, or they mark them delivered before they are. With proof of delivery, you’ll have better visibility into customers’ orders.
  • It improves order accuracy and saves you money. For products, you will have confirmation that customers’ goods arrived and won’t spend money on unnecessary refunds or replacement orders. For services, once completed, customers can sign a POD that says they received and are satisfied with the work, and employees can include a photo of the finished job. This will prevent you from the expense of having to repeat a job.
  • Proof of delivery accelerates back-office operations. With our proof of delivery feature, when a product or service is completed, an automated confirmation is sent from the driver’s app to your office. This improves your back-office efficiency by cutting down on paperwork and manual tasks.

How You Can Provide Proof of Delivery With OptimoRoute

We recently added electronic proof of delivery to simplify your business’s delivery processes even more and help save you money. With proof of delivery, your drivers can collect signatures when they’ve completed delivery of the product or service, and an automated confirmation is sent from the driver’s app to your office and the customer. It also includes photo capture and the ability to add notes for each delivery.

You can set up our POD feature using our web or mobile app.

Set up proof of delivery in the Web app

  • Go to Administration→ Settings→ Proof of Delivery to configure the settings for your drivers. You can configure your settings based on:
    • Order Type – Delivery, Task, or Pickup
    • Order Status – Completed, Failed
    • Proof Type – Signature or Note (This can be a required step, meaning your driver can’t complete the order without this step.)
  • In the Live tab, a Proof of Delivery column is available in the order grid, where you can track each completion. Each POD has its own icon. Icons are grey until the detail is filled out. Once filled, the icon turns black.
  • You can view POD information by double-clicking an order in Live or Analytics.
  • You can send PDF delivery reports to customers by clicking the Export PDF button. You can download partial information, like only the signature or only a photo, by clicking the Download button above the detail.

Using proof of delivery in the Mobile App

  • Start by clicking Orders→ Details to configure settings within the mobile app.
  • On the Details screen, a new tab titled Proof of Delivery will appear, which shows all the required or optional POD fields.
  • Drivers click on the +ADD or Complete button to go to a screen where they can fill out the required or optional fields.
  • Completed fields are shown on the Order Details screen.
  • On the Add Proof of Delivery screen, drivers fill out all required fields and update the order status as failed or completed.

With our proof of delivery feature, you will have visibility into every step of the delivery process and be ready to respond to customer questions or complaints.

Why OptimoRoute Is the Ultimate Tool for Your Business

OptimoRoute will improve your delivery service from end to end. We do this by calculating the most efficient routes for your deliveries, so you save time planning, and your drivers get to their destinations faster, with fewer miles driven.

  • Save hours scheduling your deliveries and planning routes. Just upload your deliveries and our software will automatically calculate the best, most efficient routes. You can include multiple constraints, like time windows, service areas, or skills needed for the job.
  • Deliver more products faster with efficient routes and workload-balancing.
  • Our real-time route modification means a last-minute order or sick driver won’t impact your deliveries. Inserting last-minute adjustments and routes will automatically recalculate routes.
  • Provide customers with real-time tracking so they know when their products or service technicians are scheduled to arrive. Customers get text or email notifications.
  • Live tracking lets you know where your drivers are and lets you see their estimated time of arrival. You’ll know when deliveries are on schedule or missing the mark.
  • Get proof of delivery so and your customers know their products and service were delivered.

Let OptimoRoute Improve Your Delivery With Proof of Delivery

If you want to grow your business, you need to have the best delivery system in place to give customers what they want, improve efficiency and cut costs. OptimoRoute can help your business achieve all three with route optimization and proof of delivery.

Get started with same-day delivery by signing up for a free trial.

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