Shipping season is here! You have probably been shipping more than the normal volume of packages already, but that is likely to increase. Shipping more products, of course, means you are selling more, but it also portends headaches in dealing with complications.
Covid-19 altered the course of businesses of every size as they moved to online selling and shipping. The larger volume of packages moving through the shipping system results in slower shipping and more mistakes. Not only that, but workers must remain socially distant, so fewer are working to handle the increased volume. That slows delivery down.
What can you do?
Here are several steps you can take to ensure the smoothest shipping experience possible.
- Check your preferred shipper for recommended shipping times and choose order by dates that take their recommendations into account. Leave time to ready products for shipping.
- Tell customers that delays are common. Point out that you cannot ensure a delivery time unless they choose some type of expedited shipping that you offer.
- If customers live where packages are often stolen or shipped to the wrong address, suggest that they pay for signature service or have the package sent to another address. This is especially true for expensive purchases.
- Find out the procedure for tracking down packages within the shipper’s system, as well as the procedure to file insurance claims. Develop shipping policies around it. Don’t wait for the first lost or damaged package to figure out what to do.
- Make sure packages are scanned when the shipper picks them up or at drop-off if you possibly can. This eliminates one variable where things can go wrong.
- Keep customers updated with tracking numbers and/or email updates. This inspires confidence that the package is on its way and makes you look efficient. You can both also see where delays are if they occur.
- Announce policies to your customers now. Remind them to read the policies on your website, selling site or social media. Be ready to answer questions about shipping and know the actions to take if something happens. Who files the claim? Will you reship? Will you call the shipping center to track down a package? This will make the customer feel more secure about ordering if they know that you have contingency plans and you will feel better if you know just what to do if something happens.
- Finally, take customer good will very seriously and think past the immediate situation. For example, it may be better to quickly reship a package at your expense than to make the customer take time to track it down or file a claim. You are likely to gain a loyal customer which makes the sacrifice worth every penny. They will sing your praises, and that can bring you new business. It is important, of course, not to hurt your business by allowing customers to abuse that good will, but exceptional service is a way to engender good feelings that translate into loyalty.
Think about those times when companies you have purchased from went out of their way to make sure you were happy. How did that make you feel toward them? How a company handles complaints is as important as what they offer.
Not long ago, a company I purchased from didn’t ship my package on time. As soon as they noticed, they shipped it overnight, which was quite expensive for them. The result is that I got my package on time; and because I was so impressed and pleased, I have since become a regular customer. I also recommend them to others.
Certainly, shipping today is an important part of our companies. How you treat your customers in getting those important goodies to them is a real test of great customer service. Make sure yours is top notch this season and always.