10 Shipping Nightmares: What to do when things go oh so wrong!
There is nothing more exciting, and potentially stressful than waiting for a package of goodies, or a really important piece of something special to arrive.
From the proud small business owner shipping their product across the country to the eagerly awaiting customer just dying to get their hands on their shiny new thing - there so many things could potentially go wrong in between.
Shipping issues are no fun. Whether it's the porch pirate stealing your package, a snowstorm delaying your shipment, or a last minute client change that causes you to forget about shipping altogether, there is always something going wrong when it comes to shipping out products.
This post will help you and your small business prepare for all those scenarios and more with 10 steps to protect yourself in the case of any type of shipping disaster!
The second most crucial part and important step of your small business is shipping products to your customers, so it can lead to a lot of headaches for both you and the customer when delivery issues arise.
To help smooth things over with the delivery process and to arm you with the right tools to help you solve the most common shipping problems and questions we've pulled together this list of 9 common shipping disasters.
First, let’s get you started off on the right foot.
A lot of small businesses use their local post office, or a courier service like Purolator to get their products from Point A (your warehouse) to Point B (the customer).
And sometimes, depending on your product type and the weight you might need to use a different carrier for more specialized shipping needs.
If it's possible that even one of your products would require special handling (like FRAGILE stickers or oversized) then you should probably investigate working with a third party services courier shipping platform.
Working with this type of logistics solution can help you choose the right delivery company for your products and will simplify the shipping process.
For more information on how CourierGateway can save you up to 75% with most carriers click here.
The company should designate one person in the organization as the point of contact for all customer service matters related to your order. This could also mean setting up a time-sensitive job at work or even hiring some external help if you have too many orders coming in.
Defining this role before shipping delays and other shipping woes like damaged packages occur will help you manage worst case scenarios with ease.
You should create a shipping plan that leaves your product in the best state while also meeting any regulations or safety standards.
Packaging is an essential part of getting products safely and securely from your hands to its final delivery destination - your customers' homes.
The more care you take in packing up goods for delivery will result in less insurance claims due to damage, lost packages or worse - stolen deliveries.
What kind of package you use can help ensure that the products you do send make it their final delivery in one piece. Flimsy boxes, too big of a box, all contribute to the likelihood of damage and shipment delays.
The more care you take in packing up goods for delivery the less likely for shipping insurance claims.
Now that you are armed with the first three steps in a sound shipping strategy, let's get into the reasons and issues that arise with shipping companies and carrier companies.
From broken items to lost packages and even delayed deliveries caused by heavy traffic and other transportation issues, shipping can be a nightmare.
What causes a delay in delivery?
Common shipping problems, in particular, shipping delays with freight shipping or shipping to PO Boxes, can be caused by a number of things.
It could be as simple as the carrier being snowed in or delayed due to an accident on the highway, or it may have more to do with logistics like not having proper documentation.
Dealing with delivery problems can be tricky. You have to not only take care of your customer but also make sure that they are fully satisfied with the solution you provide them so as to avoid a bad review or any other negative feedback on social media.
Purolator offers customers who haven't received their packages an option for delivery confirmation and cash on delivery options.
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If for any reason your customer is not home to greet and receive the delivery companies’ courier, they will leave a slip of paper or tag on the door to notify them.
In most cases, the carrier will not allow themselves to enter any building without being buzzed in.
Shipments that do not require a signature can be left in a safe place at the driver's discretion.
Damaged packages are a reality for many small business owners and customers.
You can refuse delivery of a package with the courier if it is visibly damaged. This will ensure that the damage is noted and not marked as acceptable.
If a customer denies a package due to damage you will be notified by the carrier.
From time to time a carrier may decide to leave the delivery with a neighbor or at the front desk of an apartment building. It is not uncommon for a carrier to do this if they feel that it will be less dangerous or inconvenient to the customer.
From time to time a courier may be delayed or simply just running behind. If your customer requested a specific time or time frame for the delivery and you can not meet that deadline, it is your responsibility to provide a full refund or to suggest another solution.
Customers can request partial refunds if packages arrive late and the customer paid for early delivery.
Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that your products never made it to their final destination.
A delivery may fail for a variety of reasons including:
No access to the drop-off area
Incorrect paperwork or customs forms
Please reach out to the carrier as soon as possible to find an alternate solution before your item is returned back to the warehouse or to the sender.
Let's work through a few scenarios in determining who is responsible for what when packages are lost, stolen, or damaged.
Once a small business owner drops their parcels off with a courier, the responsibility and liability fall on the courier from the moment they take control of the cargo from the seller.
If your package has been lost or damaged while in the hands of a carrier, don't worry. The shipping company is responsible for this and will issue you with an appropriate credit so that you can order replacement items at no cost to yourself (including freight charges and other fees).
We’ve all heard about the porch thieves so what happens when your courier service leaves your package at the door and is stolen. Who's to blame but more importantly who’s paying for a new one?
If you find your package has been stolen, reach out to the sender or seller for a possible replacement or refund. If it was delivered by DHL, Canada Post, FedEx, or any other courier, then file a claim with them.
Unless you have specified otherwise with your mail carrier beforehand where packages should be left at when not requiring authorization from someone else who may live at that location; as per law -once an item has been successfully delivered to its destination via normal postal means-, neither sender nor receiver will take any responsibility beyond this point.
Meaning if you decide to send your parcels without a signature required for delivery - then it will be up to you as the store owner to replace and pay for another shipment.
In most cases, when a parcel is refused by the recipient it will be returned to the sender and at their expense.
A courier company can also decide to hold the package until a resolution between the sender and consignee is reached.
Always check your shipping companies policies regarding refused deliveries before sending your products!
Planning ahead saves you time and stress. Motivating customers to order ahead of the busy season and enticing them with special discounts and savings, can avoid delays and provide a better customer service experience.
COVID-19 is impacting many industries across the globe, and it's no different when it comes to ecommerce shipping. With COVID-19 settling in for a while now, businesses everywhere are facing all kinds of problems related with shipments - even as we settle into some semblance of normalcy post-crisis.
Some carriers have changed their services or policies because of COVID 19; others temporarily offered free delivery within certain zones so that they could monitor what was coming through more closely due to an increase in suspicious boxes being shipped under false pretenses by people who know how important deliveries were during this time.
In times like these where uncertainty abounds: you can be absolutely certain about one thing and that is - delays will happen.
Retailers are always susceptible to running out of a product, and it's not because they don't care about the customers. The issue may be with suppliers who can't keep up or manufacturers that have quality issues; but most often than not, retailers won’t know until it actually happens.
Whether there is an unexpected delay from wholesalers due to weather events in shipping areas or whether you just missed your favorite style when ordering online - sometimes stores will run low on products for various reasons like these ones above!
This may not seem like a delivery or shipment issue but there are over 21 million post office boxes, of which 14.4 million are occupied.
At some point in your business, you may be asked to ship one of your products to a PO Box.
UPS is an example of one of many carriers that do not ship to PO Boxes.
You can ship to a P.O. box if you use Canada Post mail delivery or a federal postal service but most, if not all couriers will not accept a PO Box as a valid shipping address.
When shipping to a PO Box address always state "PO Box" followed by the box number. It's also important to remember that the address specified must be the PO Box number and not the street number or address of the Postal Office where the PO Box is located.
The United States Postal Service also requests that senders leave out all punctuation when filling in PO Box addresses. So don't add any commas, periods, or hyphens.
Like most couriers, Purolator is unable to deliver to PO boxes.
On the contrary, Canada Post can deliver to PO boxes.
In most cases, Purolator will not deliver after 9 PM.
Canada Post delivers until as late as 8 PM Monday through to Friday.
In both Canada and the US, DHL's standard delivery times are between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
Shipping insurance is a service that protects shippers against lost, stolen, or damaged parcels.
If an insured package does not reach its destination within the agreed-upon time frame or if it's been clearly damaged throughout the delivery process, then the shipper will be reimbursed for what they paid in shipping and handling costs according to their declared value of items being shipped.
Most North American carriers have a maximum weight of 150 lbs or 68-70 kgs while some European carriers will not ship over 30 kgs or 66 lbs.
Purolator will leave parcels at the door if you are not home or have not provided instructions for delivery in advance.
In the event of a missed delivery with DHL, a missed delivery notice will be left with detailed instructions.
Check with your delivery companies' terms and conditions for their policy regarding no signature required shipments and what they would do in the event of your customer not being home.
Shipping delays and issues are inevitable, no matter how prepared you may be. But that doesn’t mean they can't be dealt with in a way that leaves your customers feeling happy about the resolution process.
It all starts with having a plan- one where you know what to do before an issue arises so that it will always seem like business as usual for your customer experience.
You don’t need to go through this alone though! We have created the perfect tool to help manage shipping complaints directly from our platform by giving businesses access to real time data on their orders and shipments in order to proactively resolve any problems before they happen or even get started.
If you want peace of mind knowing things will run smoothly when handling these types of situations then click here to get started for FREE!
You can start saving today, all you have to do is to learn how.