5 ways retailers can avoid delivery roadblocks & keep customers happy

Unbeknownst to many shoppers, the online shopping journey—from the transaction to dispatch to safe delivery—involves hundreds of skilled people working within complex systems and stringent processes.

According to a recent survey by CouriersPlease (CP), 41 per cent of Aussie shoppers believe customer service people have the toughest role. Specifically, 27 per cent said it was the courier’s customer service people who have the most difficult job, with the remaining 14 per cent chose the retailer’s customer service people.

“The results reflect the reality that shoppers really only have direct contact with customer service people on both the retailer and courier side,” Richard Thame, CEO at CP, says.

“These jobs bring with them an immense pressure to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction with empathy, patience and care, while working to retain customer loyalty. A shopper’s customer service experience can be make or break for retailers and couriers. It makes sense that shoppers also believe a courier’s customer service people have a tougher job than a retailer’s customer service people as the ‘last mile’ is a longer and more complex journey.”

He adds that it is important not to discount the importance of each role in the online shopping journey. “There are several people involved in the process to pack and deliver parcels to households safely and quickly, and often must work together to ensure a seamless process.

“Ultimately, couriers and retailers work together very well to ensure consumers have the best online shopping experience possible. Couriers are, by and large, an extension of the retailers they partner with. Often the courier is the shopper’s only touchpoint with their retailer. It is important for retailers to consider possible improvements they can make to the online shopping journey, from a seamless check-out process to the most efficient deliveries.”

1 Be transparent with customers about delivery timelines and any delays. Keeping customers updated on the status of their order will minimise calls to customer service. In the current climate, supply chain issues and delivery delays are continuing. Retailers would be wise to keep customers up to date on general stock levels, packing, shipping and delivery issues on their website, emails and socials.

This will reduce pressure on customer service staff and allow customers to make an informed decision when placing an order. Shipping delays related to specific orders are usually managed by the parcel delivery company through email and/or text notifications direct to the customers.

2 Train customer service staff to manage challenging issues. For e-tailers, the customer service team is usually the only touchpoint between them and a shopper. Customer service AI technology, such as chatbots, can solve simple customer issues. For more complex issues, a professional and efficient customer service team can turn a customer’s problem into a positive experience.

Customer service staff should be trained to solve customer problems through the whole online shopping journey and should also know about any external factors impacting deliveries such as bad weather. Understanding when and how to contact the retailer’s courier partner to resolve problems is also critical.

3 Provide alternative delivery options that could speed up the delivery process. Offering multiple delivery options, such as express delivery, parcel lockers and pick-up-drop-off parcel collection points gives customers a level of control and decision making in the way they receive their goods, and how fast.

4 Use a parcel delivery network with multiple fulfillment centres. Parcel partners with multiple depots in each state can speed up the customer delivery process. Multiple fulfillment centres allow parcels to be sorted faster in preparation for delivery, as it brings deliveries closer to customers.

5 Choose a parcel delivery partner with a proven track record. A parcel delivery company with a fast delivery track record and strong customer service including customer notifications and tracking updates, will ensure customers receive the best service in the ‘last mile’ of the shopping journey. Investment in innovation and technology are good signs that the carrier is serious about offering the best service and fast deliveries.