date02 March 2017

When delivery goes bad – how to prevent parcel fails

We’ve all seen the stories go viral on social media: people with packages stuck on their roof, footage of delivery drivers carelessly throwing fragile items around – it doesn’t create a good image for the industry. Nowadays, it’s all too easy for customers who’ve had a poor delivery service to name and shame the companies involved online, so ensuring the service you provide is up to scratch has never been more important. We look at what happens when deliveries go bad and what to do to ensure your company isn’t hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Poor deliveries are a big issue for consumers

When we talk about bad deliveries, we’re not just talking about a few irregular complaints. The lateststatistics from Which? show just how often customers receive a less than satisfactory service from delivery companies. Almost a third (32 per cent) of shoppers have had a package delivered later than promised and 11 per cent have received items which are damaged. A further 11 per cent claim to have ordered items which have never turned up at all – though this may not always be the delivery firm’s fault. These delivery fails have altered the way people shop online as a result. Around half of those surveyed by Which? said they choose to ‘click and collect’ rather than get the item delivered to their front door. In the long run, this could cost delivery firms business. Providing a service which delivers, is therefore paramount.

The consequences of bad deliveries

It’s not uncommon for a complaint about a company to end up in the media, particularly if it’s seen as a shocking or amusing story. A perfect example is thiscustomer, whose item ended up on the roof. No explanation is made by the delivery driver as to why they decided the roof met the company’s safe location policy, and the customer is left with a potentially-damaged product they can’t access. This tweet received more than 11,000 retweets and was shared on the Daily Mail and Mirror websites. While the retailer was not named, the delivery company was, and a spokesperson was forced to make an apologetic statement. If the retailer had received poor press for using this delivery company, they may have ceased business with them and have gone with a rival company instead. After all, the retailer want its customers to be happy with all aspects of its service. If they aren’t, customers will likely decide to shop elsewhere. A good delivery service is valuable.

Where are delivery firms going wrong?

Many of the stories you see online regarding bad deliveries have the same thing in common: there’s no proof of delivery system in place. All drivers have to do is leave a calling card, which doesn’t include enough information to satisfy the recipient’s, or indeed the retailer’s, needs. No delivery driver would have been able to leave a package on someone’s roof if such a system was in place. Our electronic proof of delivery (EPOD) system can provide all parties with proof of delivery photographs and signature capture, so the delivery firm and retailer can prove the package was delivered to the right person, to the right place, with the right level of care. Not only does this provide retailers with peace of mind that the delivery service they provide meets their standards, it also ensures customers cannot claim a package they did receive never arrived. The value of this knowledge is proven in a recent news story, in which a woman made a complaint about a package that never arrived, despite being told she had signed for it. She could not find evidence of the package anywhere, until she discovered her beloved greyhound had eaten it and hidden the chewed up remains underneath a pillow. A photograph of the item being delivered would have shown the item arriving at not only the right address, but who signed for the package. This could help prevent situations like this one, as well as those where customers make false claims about lost packages to receive a refund or additional compensation. There’s no hiding from poor deliveries – customers will complain and some may even catch drivers behaving badly on camera. That’s not something you want to end up on YouTube, especially when you’re trying to win business. If you want to ensure you’re providing a service which customers can trust, it’s well worth investing in an EPOD system.