Shipping complaints aren’t new. Holiday seasons add more pressure with deadlines. Expectations for delivery and service can be demanding with more people shopping online.
Customers who were early adopters to online retail were able to enjoy minimal shipping costs and speedy delivery. We’re now in a transition period as infrastructure catches up to this increased demand.
Increased demand means longer delivery times. The demand increases carrier rates. These rates are either absorbed by your business (COG/margins) and/or passed on to the customer.
Temporary pricing increases for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground are as follows:
- PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes – $0.75
- Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs. – $0.25
- Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs. – $0.75
- Zones 1-4, 11-20 lbs. – $1.50
- Zones 5-9, 11-20lbs. – $3.00
- Zones 1-4, 21-70 lbs. – $2.50
- Zones 5-9, 21-70 lbs. – $5.00
All other retail shipping services:
- First-Class Package Service – Retail – $0.30
With changes in delivery times and shipping rates, you will encounter customer service challenges this holiday season. Encourage customers to shop early for the holiday season for selection and delivery. October isn’t too early.
The best way to get ahead of challenges is to anticipate them. Then create solutions with backup options. Knowing even with the best plans you still need to remain flexible.
Shipping Complaint Solutions
To reduce customer frustration be proactive in your communication.
- Educate them on what to expect.
- Then remind them throughout their customer journey. They trust you to be their guide. The better your communication, the better the relationship. Great relationships increase customer satisfaction, referrals, and repeat purchases.
Review logistics and operations
Track delivery times with different carriers. Then adjust your delivery windows accordingly. You may also want to build in buffer windows if you are waiting on your own supplies for fulfilling orders.
Use banners to educate customers about delayed delivery times. You can adapt your language to be positive, but it must be clear. “Due to increased shipping demands, delivery times are longer than expected. Please allow X-X number of days for delivery.” Using a window also gives you a cushion for the unknown. It’s better to have a package arrive sooner rather than later.
Add copy to web pages throughout the transaction to remind them of the delay.
- Checkout page
- Order confirmation page
If you don’t have it installed already, you can add a package tracking plug-in to your site. This allows the customer to input their phone number for shipping updates.
Use emails to manage expectations
Add copy to transaction emails to remind them of the updated delivery window. “Please allow X-X days for delivery”
- Order confirmation
- Shipping confirmation.
It may seem redundant, but consistent messaging is a reminder for your customer.
While the customer is waiting for the arrival of their order use the delivery window to strengthen the relationship. Share content that will educate, entertain, or inspire them.
- Care tips for extending life of clothing, jewelry, or furniture.
- Design tips for home goods.
- Recipes or shelf-life tips for food.
- Applicator tips for beauty products.
Customers are excited when they purchase from you. Keep the excitement going by checking in with them between purchase and delivery.
Customers are excited when they purchase from you. Keep the excitement going by checking in with them between purchase and delivery.Tweet
The trick is to not go overboard. Too many emails and you will seem desperate. The ideal number will depend on your delivery window and execution.
Resources for Tracking Packages
Share these resources with customers to help ease their anxiety around delivery.
- USPS Informed Delivery
- FedEx Managed Delivery for customers. Especially helpful for packages that require signatures.
What would you add to this? Tell me in the comments below.