Bad deliveries can happen to even the best retailers. There are countless reasons why a a delivery might not go according to plan. Whatever the cause may be, the fallout from a bad customer delivery experience is something that can’t be ignored.
Some sobering stats to digest:
- 84% of customers won’t buy from a brand again after one poor delivery experience
- 94% of shoppers blame the retailer when a delivery doesn’t go to plan
- 77% of negative online reviews are about bad post-purchase service, e.g. late/failed deliveries, or a lack of tracking updates
It’s worth noting that as with many aspects of running an eCommerce business (here’s looking at you, returns!), you can’t completely eradicate delivery disappointment. However, it also goes without saying that prevention will always be better than cure.
It’s important to dig into your delivery data to discover any trends that might be occurring. You should look at your delivery failure rate (the industry standard of which is 2.77%) and cross-reference it with the most common customer queries and negative delivery reviews you are receiving. From there, you might discover some recurring issues that could be easily solved with a delivery management platform.
From here, you can put a solid strategy in place for handling negative delivery experience with your customers. Here are four ways to ensure that bad customer delivery experience is managed in a way that is professional, transparent, and helps you to do everything in your power to retain their business.
1. Synchronise your communication channels
There are more ways for customers to contact a brand now than ever before. We’re talking social media, live chat, email, WhatsApp, the list goes on. Having all of these lines of communication is great, but (and it’s a big but), if they aren’t synchronised, they stand to cause major irritation amongst customers.
You know when you’re on the phone with a customer service agent, and they advise you that they are going to transfer the call to a colleague who will be able to better assist you? So you wait, listening to awful holding music and eventually are greeted by another agent. Great. But they haven’t been briefed by the first staff member about your query, so you have to explain your situation all over again. Is there anything more frustrating?
If a customer is contacting you because they’ve had a negative delivery experience, the last thing you want is for them to have to work hard to get in touch with the right person or department.
Ensure that all of your communications channels are synchronised (a Delivery Management Platform helps with the heavy lifting here), so that any member of your support staff can easily see previous correspondence and pick up where an enquiry has been left off.
Alternatively, if you prefer for certain queries about deliveries to come through a single channel (e.g. email only), clearly state this on your other comms platforms. That way customers know that you cannot deal with individual delivery questions or issues via social media, for instance.
2. Respond quickly
It may take some time to investigate any delivery queries that you receive – particularly if a specific order needs to be located (in the case of delivery failure). However, while you could be looking into things in the background, the customer in question could easily think that their complaint is being ignored entirely. What’s more, 46% of consumers expect a company to respond to them in less than four hours.
Therefore, it’s crucial to acknowledge any negative delivery feedback right away – letting the customer know that you are sorry and that you will get back to them with information to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
If you can, try to give a timeframe when you’ll be in touch, and stick with it – that way, they aren’t left in limbo and have the contact information of the person dealing with the query if they have further questions.
3. Be open (and don’t place blame!)
According to retailers, customers themselves are to blame for failed deliveries 80% of the time. The most common reason for this is down to shoppers entering the wrong address details at checkout. While it’s reasonable to let a customer know the cause of the failed delivery, placing blame on them is never going to get you back on their good side.
Similarly, if the courier was the reason for the issue, it doesn’t serve your brand to place blame on them. Often, to the customer, you and the courier are one and the same, and it’s simply not productive to go to great lengths to explain your innocence!
If a customer is getting in touch to complain about a bad delivery experience, it’s unlikely that they are in a positive headspace. They have probably lost a little bit of trust in the brand and could be upset about the situation. For example, it could have been a birthday present for a family member that didn’t arrive on time. So empathy goes a long way, here.
If the fault does lie with the retailer, you should be open and honest with the customer and let them know that an error has occurred. You don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of what went wrong along the way – the aim here is simply to be accountable.
4. Offer discounts as appropriate
Safe to say that if a customer is complaining about a negative delivery experience, you’re going to try to rectify it. If an order has gone missing, it will have to be replaced, or a voucher of the same value offered to them. This is expected as standard, so it might not have the customer jumping for joy. However, if you want to show them that you’re committed to rebuilding their trust, offering a discount can help persuade them to give you another chance.
Discounts shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all for any and all complaints that make their way to you, though. It’s worth setting out a list of criteria to determine what type of complaints warrant a discount, and how much that discount should be.
Remember, no discount is going to trump lacklustre customer service when dealing with complaints. If you are going to offer customers discounts, they need to go hand in hand with stellar complaint management, if long-term retention is the ultimate goal.
Michelle McSweeney Content Marketer