6 Common Courier Service Problems and How To Prevent Them
Hiring a courier service to handle your deliveries seems like a good idea…until suddenly it doesn’t.
Not every courier service is the same. Depending on which company you choose to work with, you may encounter unexpected problems.
So what are these common problems and how can you avoid them?
We give you the rundown here.
Deliveries are damaged
No matter how hard you work at your end of the production line to make sure everything is perfect, it all goes for nothing if your product arrives at its destination damaged.
In this situation, everyone loses.
Your customer loses, because they have wasted their time and money on purchasing a product they can’t use. You lose, because it will cost your company time and money to issue a replacement. And besides that, it leaves the customer with a negative impression of your brand, which might even result in negative reviews.
And yet so many things can happen from the time a courier picks up a package to the time it is dropped off at its destination, most of which is completely out of your control.
After all, couriers are only human. They may accidentally drop your item, or handle it too roughly, especially if they’re unaware of what the contents are. And even though it’s not your fault, this damage reflects badly on your company.
In this situation, communication is the key. A reputable courier will ask you the right questions about your deliveries and any special care they might require. They will also provide explicit instructions about the proper way to package breakable or perishable items to ensure these arrive unscathed.
If your delivery service doesn’t care enough to even ask about the type of product they are delivering, this is a red flag.
The best way to avoid this problem is by talking with the courier company to ensure that they will treat your product with just as much care as you would if you were delivering it yourself.
It is your reputation on the line if packages arrive damaged, and a professional courier service should be sensitive to that.
If your courier company takes your reputation as seriously as it takes its own, then you’ll know you can trust them with your valuable product.
Deliveries are late
Have you ever had to put your schedule on hold for hours and hours to wait for a delivery?
We’ve all been there, and no one likes it.
It’s even worse when the delivery doesn’t show up within the specified window of time.
Now, not only have you lost those hours of waiting around, but you have to wait around even longer, with potentially no delivery in sight.
If this is what your customers face when ordering a product from your company, chances are they won’t come back for more.
Beyond the obvious loss of time and money, it’s also insulting. Your customers will get the message that their time is not important to you. This is not the message you want to send if you’re trying to build and keep a loyal customer base.
Unfortunately, all kinds of things can happen to throw off delivery schedules and delay a package. Maybe someone had to stop for gas. Maybe they even broke down. Or maybe the driver was unfamiliar with the area, and wasted time searching for the correct address. These mishaps are, to some degree, inevitable. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that you have disgruntled customers waiting around, getting more and more frustrated.
Thankfully, the best courier services now have all kinds of technology at their disposal to prevent late deliveries.
For one thing, route optimization software makes it quick and easy for your courier to map out the easiest and quickest possible delivery route, even allowing for traffic tie-ups and bad weather.
A good courier service will include daily fuel stops on the route, ensuring that your deliveries are never delayed by the delivery vehicle running out of gas. (You’d be surprised at how often this happens otherwise.)
Furthermore, GPS technology can effortlessly guide the courier to the correct destination for each delivery. No more time wasted by delivery drivers getting lost in unfamiliar neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, even the most cutting-edge technology in the world won’t solve these problems if your courier service doesn’t use them.
So be sure to ask your courier company if they use route optimization software and GPS technology before hiring them.
Courier has limited delivery hours
As a growing company, you must maintain an edge over your competitors in order to survive. One important way in which you can do that is through your delivery offerings.
Giving your customers the option for one-day or same-day delivery is a great way to maintain that competitive edge. If consumers are given the choice between two companies offering the same product, it will often be the company which offers quicker delivery that wins the day.
But you can only offer these features if your courier service is fully on board.
You may find yourself stuck and unable to deliver on your promises if your courier company is closed for the night or for the weekend, or if an order comes through on the brink of a major holiday.
In that situation, you are unable to deliver same-day or one-day delivery, despite your best intentions. And this can leave your customers resentful and thus unwilling to come back.
Yet again, clear communication is the solution to this problem.
Before contracting with a courier service, ask them if they have 24/7 availability. Be wary of any company with limited availability on evenings, weekends and holidays.
It’s also a red flag if the company charges extra for delivering outside of their normal business hours. As you grow, this restriction could end up costing your business far more than it’s worth.
While this may not seem urgent to you right now, in the future you may find yourself held back in your growth as a business by this limited availability.
It’s also a valuable safeguard of your own precious time. You can work on packaging and distributing goods on your own time, without being a prisoner to someone else’s schedule.
This gives you the freedom to manage your own time, a valuable benefit which should not be underestimated.
Courier cannot deliver certain items
Right now, your needs are simple. You have an inventory of a few specific items which simply need to be packaged and driven from Point A to Point B.
But what if you want to branch out in the future to offer a greater variety of products to your customers?
What if you want to deliver food or beverages that require refrigeration? Or products that require a special license to deliver, such as alcohol or hazardous chemicals?
It may seem far-fetched right now, but at some point offering unique products could be the best means at your disposal to set your company apart from the competition.
If your courier service does not have the ability to handle such specialty items, you may find that your potential for growth is abruptly curtailed.
Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of your courier company and can only deliver those items which they allow.
Courier has poor customer service
Before you agree to work with them, your courier company should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of items which they are unable to deliver. Even better, they should be able to show you any special certifications or licenses.
Here are a few that you should ask for:
- A commercial courier service business license, which shows that the government verifies that they meet certain standards of safety and integrity
- A valid driver’s license for each driver (preferably a Commercial Driver’s License), which ensures that deliveries can be made safely
- A healthcare license which permits them to deliver medication and medical equipment, allowing you to gain a competitive edge by delivering specialty items
- An OSHA safety certificate, which proves that drivers adhere to strict safety standards
- Special certifications for delivering alcoholic beverages, allowing you the freedom to do so in the future
In addition, be sure to ask whether their delivery vehicles are equipped with refrigeration. This may not matter right now, but in the future, it could make a big difference.
Courier has poor customer service
Are you ever rude to your customers? Do you train your employees to be rude to them?
These might seem like dumb questions because the answers are obvious. Any good business owner understands the value of superior customer service. To that end, you and your employees are diligent about making sure customers know how much you value your business. It is this kind of attentive attitude which keeps customers coming back. Excellent customer service can cover up a multitude of ills, making them more likely to forgive you for mistakes.
When you contract with a courier service, you’re trusting them to deliver that same superior customer service in your place. And unfortunately, they don’t always meet this basic expectation.
A rude or sloppy courier can leave a terrible impression not just of them, but of you, too.
Customers associate the courier with your brand, a delicate situation since you don’t have a lot of control over that impression.
You can avoid this pitfall by carefully considering what your own impressions are of the drivers and other employees you meet.
Remember that these people will be interacting with your customers. Ask yourself if this is the impression you want them to have.
Are the drivers polite? Do they make eye contact without being creepy? Do they convey the same level of care and devotion about their role as you do about yours?
It’s also worth considering their appearance. Are they clean and neat? Do they wear uniforms? And most importantly, will they be a good representative of your brand?
When it comes to customer service, up-to-date technology definitely comes into play, too.
Few things leave a poorer impression than late or missed deliveries. By verifying that the courier company has and uses route optimization software and GPS technology, you ensure that no delays will detract from the quality of customer service you can offer.
Problems cascade due to lack of support
There’s a lot that can go wrong in the courier industry. Vehicles break down. Accidents happen. Roads are abruptly closed, and drivers can become suddenly ill or hurt, unable to carry out their work.
These problems, to some degree, are to be expected. They are part of life, after all.
But unfortunately, these commonplace challenges can quickly drain your resources, as well as the patience of your customers.
These customers don’t care about the weather or the traffic. All they know is whether their package arrived on time or not. They’re not interested in why.
While the drivers (and you) may not be able to avoid every delay, these problems can quickly escalate if drivers are left to deal with them on their own.
In this case, one delay can become many, and soon you’ll have a long list of unhappy customers…the last thing any business wants or needs.
After you’ve checked off all the boxes on 24/7 availability, licenses, certifications and customer service, it’s time to ask how much support the drivers have as they carry out their work.
While mishaps will occur in the course of daily life, a good courier service will have a plan in place to keep such mishaps from derailing an entire delivery route.
Ask what their procedure is when a vehicle breaks down. Do they have a backup vehicle they can send out right away, or does the driver have to figure it out on their own? Do they have support personnel on staff to respond to common obstacles like incorrect addresses or hazardous weather conditions?
If they don’t have a clear plan for such situations, this may not be a good fit for you.
With a little planning and communication, your business can avoid these common courier service problems. And you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful and productive partnership.