Did your Christmas deliveries leave your customers full of joy – or, like the huge number of people who didn’t receive the parcels they were expecting from some of the online shopping giants – were they left disappointed?
Now the festive dust has settled, I’d like to explain how significant a time like Christmas and the related customer’s delivery experiences can be to your business – and why now might be a good time to review your courier’s performance.
Consumer choices organisation Which? estimate that around 1 in 5 of us had a delivery that failed to arrive this Christmas – with many of those people expecting a guaranteed next day delivery from services like Amazon’s ‘Prime’.
What’s more, this figure doesn’t include people who’s packages turned up late or damaged – leaving a potentially huge number of customers dissatisfied with the companies they trusted with their Christmas shopping.
What do your deliveries say about your business?
I could go into great detail about what we and other courier companies do in an effort to make sure Christmas time works – but for business owners and decision makers, there’s a more important subject to consider:
Your customer’s perception of your company.
Not a customer’s perception of my company – or any of the other couriers out there – but your company.
This might seem unfair, since your job is done when the parcel is scanned out of your premises – but to your customer, the business has been done with you – and they’re going to hold you to account until the package is safely in their hands.
What’s more, that perception sticks in customer’s minds, impacting your orders, your turnover and ultimately, your bottom line.
What’s gone wrong?
It’s certainly annoying and upsetting when parcels don’t arrive on time – but it’s not the only issue consumers are talking about. When you’re expecting a next day service, time is also of the essence when you need information about your order.
If you picked up your phone as a customer and tried to talk to a courier company over Christmas, the first issue I’m going to bring up will be painfully familiar:
Trying to talk to someone who can help.
A quick glance at Twitter in the final delivery days over Christmas saw customers frantically trying to communicate with courier companies who seemed to just be ignoring calls. The reality of course was that the demand for customer service was so great many just couldn’t keep up – leaving customers in the dark.
Disappointed and uninformed customers can quickly become angry customers – and angry customers are highly likely to vote with their feet when it comes to making purchases again.
So, how did A to Z perform?
I’m extremely proud to tell you that every call that came into our offices was answered within 15 seconds. It meant our team worked very hard – but that effort meant we ticked a very important customer service box for every partner companies we make deliveries on behalf of.
Supporting your customers
Now, I know what you’re thinking – if the phone was ringing that must mean that we dropped the ball at times too – and yes, you’re right.
There’s no perfect courier company in the world – and anyone who tells you differently is probably a salesperson desperate for your business. I think it’s important to be honest though – so I’d like to tell you about how a lot of delivery companies operate – and how the team at here A to Z are different.
Here’s a typical big courier company example:
Your parcel doesn’t arrive. You phone the delivery company and you talk to someone who can look at the activity registered by the driver’s computer. As a result, they can give you some information on why your parcel isn’t there – but a customer service representative is highly unlikely to be able to do much more than that.
So, your call confirmed what you already know – your parcel isn’t going to arrive – and when it’s back at the depot the process will start again, with the hope that it finds its way to you the following day. If it doesn’t – it’s time for another call to the customer service team.
Here’s how A to Z is different:
When you call us you speak to a real person at one of our depots. Sure, we can give you some information on deliveries that day – but we take an important additional step – we pick up the phone to your driver and get real time, real life information.
When we’ve done that, we ring you back - without fail. Real service with a real and understandable outcome for the customer.
Again, that meant the run up to Christmas was extremely busy – and saw the entire team, myself included, answering the phone, talking to drivers and making the necessary adjustments.
The result is one we’re proud of.
Every customer phone call answered in 15 seconds, handled professionally – then discussions with drivers fed back to customers promptly.
And what’s more, this direct customer service and the team’s exceptional work ethic meant A to Z fulfilled every Christmas delivery prior to the big day. A claim few other courier companies will be able to match.
All of the above is exactly what our partner company’s customers wanted. No drama, no lunchtimes sitting on hold trying to work out whether presents were going to arrive – and no desire to do their business somewhere else moving forward.
What does this mean to you?
I’m proud of the way we handled Christmas – but I’m not gloating, I sat down to write this so you can understand what this potentially means to you and your business.
Today, right now, you have very little control of how your business looks to your customers in that last mile between your dispatch and their front door. If that experience is negative, you also have very little control over the fact that your customers are likely to vote with their wallets next time they need the kind of product you provide.
So what can you do?
The answer is; take as much chance out of the equation as possible.
Your delivery company reflects on you. The start of 2018 is a perfect opportunity to review exactly what your customers are experiencing and how your courier is performing. No one is perfect, but when it’s your reputation at stake, it pays to make sure you’ve got a team onside who are doing everything that can to maintain your brand’s reputation.
Have a happy and prosperous new year.
John Holroyd – A to Z Couriers Director
If you’d like to discuss A to Z working alongside your business, click here or feel free to call us. Our Bromley office (covering Kent postcodes) can be contacted on 01689 873 771 – and our Croydon office (covering London and Surrey postcodes) can be contacted on 0208 667 1234.