Customers can be an unforgiving bunch. When they order online, they expect their delivery experience to be seamless. Any slip up, and your business will pay a heavy price in terms of poor online reviews.
The holiday season can compound problems for retailers. It’s the one time of the year that shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS struggle to meet the demand for their services. And the truth, despite their claims to the contrary, is that about 6% of parcels shipped during the season end up facing delivery issues.
And when delivery issues happen, shipping carriers aren’t the only ones facing the heat. Retailers end up shouldering the blame, and this despite the fact that they lose control of the last mile once orders are marked “Fulfilled” on their order management systems.
Broadly speaking, a customer who faces a delivery-related issue does two things: 1. they write a stinker of a review on your social media page and 2. they never shop with you again.
Negative reviews are damaging because they prevent first-time buyers from choosing your business.
A survey by Podium suggests 93% of customers say online reviews DO impact their purchasing decisions.
In general, irate customers take to social media to shame retail businesses and shipping carriers into action on these issues:
- Late deliveries
- Lost parcels
- Damaged parcels
- WISMO (Where is my order?) issues
- Lack of customer support
Let’s take a closer look at how customers expressed their ire over these issues on Twitter last year and what your business can do to prevent or handle such situations.
1. Late Deliveries
Late deliveries are the most frequent service failure year round, and they become more common in the holiday season.
It is your shipping carrier which is likely to blamed for a late delivery. But as fate would have it, customers are more likely to blame you than your carrier for it. A majority of buyers refuse to shop from a retailer after a bad delivery experience, and far worse, they often leave a negative review on social media, preventing other potential buyers from shopping at your store.
One harrowing delivery experience could get you blacklisted by even loyal customers.
@AmazonHelp why do you keep using @USPSHelp for deliveries when they continually deliver late (6 times in 6 mos) & send items to the wrong location making them even later? They clearly don’t have their stuff together & I’m gonna stop ordering from amazon if this continues. pic.twitter.com/ZSaxL2bb9s— Russ Sedam (@rrs0725) December 29, 2018
What You Can Do
Use a tracking service that provides real-time visibility into your shipments in transit and keep your customers informed if their parcels might be delayed. Additionally, you could provide affected customers with a coupon code offering a discount for their next purchase.
If you want a meaningful solution that helps you stay ahead of parcel delays, drop us a message, & one of our logistics experts will be in touch with you soon.
2. Lost Parcels
Even if your carrier loses your package, it is YOUR brand reputation that takes the hit. When a customer’s parcel is lost, it becomes next-to-impossible to retain them without some quick thinking.
Even if you have handed over the package to the shipping carrier, you hold the responsibility of it reaching the customer’s doorstep on time.
My lost package— Anthony Fassino (@Hellbound373) December 15, 2018
What You Can Do
Have a support rep stay in touch with and periodically update the aggrieved customer to placate them. Additionally, make sure to send a free replacement for the lost product by expedited shipping. This is how you can demonstrate your commitment to the customer and possibly impress them enough to retain them moving forward.
3. Damaged Parcels
Packages are delivered to customers in a damaged state more often than you might expect. This is particularly true in the holiday season when parcel handlers are confronted with huge volumes and must work fast to clear them.
When an expensive order is found to be damaged, it causes a dent in your profit margin. But far greater is the resulting negative impact it has on the customer’s perception of your brand. Not to forget that the customer is likely to voice their ire on social media and deter others from shopping with you.
Ordered a present for my neice who I am meeting for the first time tomorrow. Oh how I KNEW @AmazonHelp @AmazonUK would deliver the package in an awful state. Crushed box and not suitable to give as I gift. I practically lost sleep knowing it would turn up ruined.— HelenC n’ CaptainB (@Laneylaneh) January 3, 2019
What You Can Do
As a first step, make sure to package right. Your parcel is likely to undergo significant stress during handling and your packaging should be sufficient to protect the parcel.
As the next step, provide labels for return shipping within your parcel so that your customer can return-ship it back to you if required. Make sure to absorb the cost of this return shipping. Provide a replacement or a refund to the customer at the earliest.
Finally, regardless of the shipping carrier you use, if your parcels are of a high monetary value, make sure to insure them. This way you can submit a claim and be reimbursed the value of a damaged parcel.
4. WISMO Issues
Customers expect to be kept in-the-know of the whereabouts of their parcels as they eagerly await their delivery. When they are unable to see regular shipping event updates on the shipping carrier’s tracking page, they feel aggrieved and helpless.
What You Can Do
Track your parcels using a delivery management service that provides algorithmic predictive tracking abilities.
Also, provide your customers access to a branded tracking page where they can get access to real-time shipment status directly from you, the retailer, rather than from your shipping carrier.
5. Lack of Customer Support
Lackluster customer support can be quite damaging to the reputation of your brand, especially in the holiday season.
Just FYI — your customer service is a joke. Thanks for denying losing my package, but then disappearing when I hit you with screenshots that said otherwise in my account.— CONNIE (@connieezy) January 3, 2019
The lack of timely customer support, evidenced by these tweets, is a common complaint on social media.
Ultimately, bad customer service can cause the closure of a business.
What You Can Do
Make sure your customer support team is thoroughly trained to handle a variety of last-mile customer queries ranging from late deliveries to damaged parcels and is available to deal with issues when required. Negligence or not fulfilling a customer’s expectations will be seen as bad customer service.
Empower your support reps to work proactively to address delivery issues before being asked to by customers.
Additionally, in case a customer has taken their issue to social media, reach out to them and provide redressal at the earliest. Reach out by phone if required. Follow up with the customer to get their feedback regarding the solution provided. You might even get a testimonial this way.
These tweets are just the tip of the iceberg. Retailers face a gazillion more issues in the holiday season.
Ultimately, being prepared makes all the difference between thriving as a retail business and struggling to stay afloat under uber competitive conditions.
Having a one-stop solution to all the issues we’ve discussed would be great, wouldn’t it?
That solution is LateShipment.com.
Some of our high-impact offerings are:
- Enhanced real-time dashboard – Have your finger on the pulse of your shipments and get a 360° view of shipments in-transit
- Pre-built dashboard for Customer Support reps – See real-time alerts on predicted delays, promptly intervene and proactively fix them before customer impact
- Stay connected with customers in the last mile – Build credibility and loyalty with proactive issue resolution emails and automated delivery status notifications
- Create branded tracking pages – Craft a brand-consistent post-purchase experience with custom order tracking pages to increase brand recall
- Save up to 20% on shipping costs – Automatically claim refunds from 20+ global carriers for over 50 service failures & billing errors like late shipments, wrongly applied surcharges and more.