The arrival of the holiday season is always special for eCommerce retailers. However this year, it will be radically special because of the COVID-19 factor.
Though there were doubts initially on how the holiday season would turn out, it is now clear that this holiday season will be an extended pandemic period with 2x or even 3x shipping volume.
Increased shipping volume doesn’t just mean more sales but more issues you could face due to multiple factors.
- Shipping carriers are already straining their capacity due to social distancing norms and supply-chain restrictions.
- Major shipping carriers have drawn up holiday special calendars where they have announced deadlines for their services on specific holidays like Christmas and New Year when the shipping volume will be significantly higher.
As a retailer, you may be accustomed to delays but for customers, they are always difficult to process, which may result in a burst of emotions.
This is because online shopping experience is completely virtual. Customers have gotten accustomed to getting relief only when a physical parcel shows up on their doorstep. Until then, they are constantly anxious. Even a minor inconvenience in their waiting period will lead to your business paying a heavy price in terms of poor online reviews.
Here’s the thing about these reviews:
- In most cases, they are directed towards you, the retailer, rather than the shipping carrier as customers hold the business that they purchased from accountable rather than the carrier.
- They damage your online reputation and prevent potential customers from shopping with you.
The reason for this post’s existence is this: to let you know of the consequences of ignoring issues in the last mile. And boy are the consequences bad!
Potential Issues That Irate Customers Take to Social Media
There are just 5 major issues that customers often take to social media in angst.
- Late Delivery
- Lost Packages
- Damaged Packages
- WISMO Calls
- Lack of Effective Customer Support
Let’s take a closer look at how customers expressed their ire over these issues on Twitter and what your business can do to prevent or handle such situations.
1. Late Delivery
Late deliveries are the most frequent service failure year-round, and they become more common in the holiday season.
Nearly half of consumers (45%) say they are unlikely to continue ordering from a company if it delivers a package late.
Pandemic or not, consumers have just one problem with delays, the surprise element of it. As long as businesses inform consumers beforehand that their parcel will be delivered late, consumers will patiently wait for their orders for a few days.
On the other hand, if the news of the delay ought to come as a surprise, their anxiety will soon lead to frustration while awaiting their parcels.
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, and one of our logistics experts will be in touch with you soon.
2. Lost Packages
Even if your carrier loses your package, it is YOUR brand reputation that takes the hit.
This is because, in spite of handing over the package to the shipping carrier, the customer puts the onus on you to make it reach their doorstep on time without any issue.
When a customer’s parcel is lost, it becomes next-to-impossible to retain them without some quick thinking.
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 way, you can demonstrate your commitment to the customer and possibly impress them enough to retain them moving forward.
3. Damaged Packages
Packages are delivered to customers in a damaged state more often than you might expect. The numbers are particularly high during the holiday season as 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.
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 for the value of a damaged parcel.
4. WISMO Calls
This sucks @Logic301 i got a email the 8th saying my package shipped for my no pressure merch it’s now the 29th it said it would arrive the 27th but didn’t call FedEx they tell me my shipment never really arrived and could be lost in WV or they never shipped it and I live in DE pic.twitter.com/oKz63ZAd2U— Anthony D’Arcangelo (@Anthony_0214) October 29, 2020
WISMO (Where Is My Order?) calls make up to 80% of customers queries, not only consuming all of your support reps’ time but preventing them from tending to much bigger issues like product-related concerns.
But you can’t blame the customers. In an era of instant gratification, real-time visibility is becoming a norm rather than the feature that it was intended to be.
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
As we mentioned earlier, To the modern consumer, it feels unnatural NOT to receive real-time updates on the status of their packages which in turn forces them to bombard your support teams with WISMO calls to alleviate their anxiety.
You can also drastically reduce delivery related customer inquiries (WISMO Calls) with self-service order tracking pages that provide them with all the details that they’re looking for.
5. Lack of Effective Customer Support
Lackluster customer support can be quite damaging to the reputation of your brand, especially in the holiday season.
55% of customers have backed off from shopping because of business’ poor customer service.
Even the other four issues can be contained with proper customer support but the lack of an effective support team can cause even existing customers to shun your brand.
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 easily spot shipments that may require attention and 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.
How LateShipment.com’s DEM Platform Can Help You
Issues like these can heavily damage your online reputation and lead your potential customers into believing that the post-purchase experience you offer is indeed flawed and deter them from shopping with you.
On the other hand, getting your customer’s delivery experience right is crucial to building a loyal customer base. And repeat customers spend 65% more than new customers. Acquiring new customers is 5 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.
This is all the more reasons to not overlook the post-purchase experience you offer by handing it over entirely to the shipping carrier but instead taking control of it to drive success.
These tweets are just the tip of the iceberg. You might 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.
LateShipment.com’s Delivery Experience Management (DEM) platform helps businesses like yours effortlessly bridge the post-purchase CX gap and discover new ways to delight and retain customers by enabling them to:
Stay on top of order deliveries, particularly those facing delays
- Track in-transit shipments in real-time across carriers you use on a single dashboard.
- Get predictive alerts for shipments facing delays & proactively take corrective action.
Over Communicate and reduce customer anxiety post-purchase
- Proactively identify and communicate with customers facing critical delivery issues.
- Automate order status notifications via email or SMS throughout the delivery lifecycle.
Impress customers with brand-consistent order-tracking experiences
- Build brand-consistent and beautiful order/tracking pages for your customers; on your custom domain.
- Embed “Track My Order” widgets on your website and shipping emails to make parcel tracking self-service.
Leverage order-tracking moments to increase sales and reduce returns
- Increase sales with marketing campaigns & product recommendations on tracking pages.
- Reduce returns by providing relevant product usage information on order tracking pages.
Know how good or bad your customers’ delivery experiences were by collecting delivery experience feedback
- Capture your customers’ Delivery Satisfaction (DSAT) rating after every order delivery.
- Monitor the average DSAT scores of customers to optimize shipping & delivery processes.
The claimed amount is directly deposited into your account. This can save you up to 20% of your overall shipping spend.
Our automated refunds solution
- Audits your monthly shipping invoices
- Submits refund claims to your carrier(s) on your behalf
- Deposits the refunded amount directly into your account
How good is that?
The best part is, it takes less than 2 minutes to see LateShipment.com in action without any change to your existing workflow.
The value we add to businesses is most evident when experienced first-hand. Try LateShipment.com now.