The customer experience is something we have discussed often here on the ClickShip blog, and with good reason. A good eCommerce strategy hinges on a good customer experience, and shipping plays an integral role in that.
Consumers don’t mind waiting for a purchase, but nobody wants to wait longer than they expect to.
In fact, a recent study from Voxware shows that 30% of consumers are less likely to shop with a vendor following a late delivery.
The unfortunate reality is that, despite the best efforts of you and the carrier, shipping delays can and will happen, and during peak season the likelihood of delays only increases.
How one navigates the customer experience in the face of these delays, however, can mean the difference between long-term customer retention and a potential loss.
So what’s the best way to navigate these delays, and how can you ensure that your customer experience doesn’t fall victim to the unexpected? Here’s some advice from our shipping experts.
Why do Shipments Get Delayed?
Nobody across the supply chain, least of all carriers, want to see shipping delays. This begs the question, however, of why shipping delays occur. The answer is not a simple one.
As recent years have shown, any number of factors can cause shipping delays, such as the ongoing delays at the Canada/US border.
Most commonly, however, delays can be the result of large weather events that impede travel, such as the torrential rains and ensuing landslides that decimated British Columbia in late 2021.
No matter the cause of the delay, it is important to remember that these reasons are most often not the fault of any one particular entity along the supply chain, and that at the end of the day, all parties involved are trying their best to see shipments delivered quickly, but most importantly safely.
Managing Shipping Delays with Your Customers
Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, but as a small business owner, it is your responsibility to inform your customers of potential shipping delays on their products.
This sort of news can, understandably, cause your customer frustration, and yet if handled with tact, it can prove beneficial to your overall customer retention.
This may seem surprising, however a study by Mitto found that 91% of consumers are more patient in the face of shipping delays when they experience good customer service.
With that in mind, let’s look at the best steps you can take to provide excellent customer service in the face of shipping delays.
Get Ahead of the Delays
The sooner you can communicate shipping delays to your customers, the better.
Providing real-time tracking on shipments can help to keep all parties informed from point-of-sale to delivery, including updates on estimated delivery times in the event of shipping delays.
If you are able to offer this tracking to the customer, do so.
Otherwise, consider providing an update to the customer via email as soon as you are aware of the shipping delay.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
This is where your business’ focus on your customer experience will shine through and help to smooth some of the wrinkles caused by the shipping delay.
Always provide a support email address on any communications between you and your customer and ensure that any queries sent to this email are responded to in a timely manner.
According to a recent survey, 88% of consumers expect a response within one hour.
Further, it is important to not only be courteous in your communications, but honest. Being upfront regarding any delays or issues is a show of respect toward your customer and will be seen as such.
This, in turn, will not only help to mitigate customer dissatisfaction in the moment, but will also help to boost overall customer retention long-term.
Offering perks to encourage customer retention is a common practice for many phases of the customer experience.
From providing discounts for first-time newsletter sign-ups to offering free shipping on minimum quantity orders, it’s not uncommon for a business to take a small short-term loss for a net long-term gain.
When handling shipping delays, this tactic can prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially when handling orders from new customers: as seen in a 2018 study from the Journal of Marketing, offering a low-to-moderate discount on a purchase can increase customer retention by over 7%.
Further, providing some perk or compensation to the customer acts as a sign of good faith; a means of showing the customer that their continued patronage is more valuable than the potential revenue loss you are willing to incur on their behalf.
Source: The Science Times
Let ClickShip Upgrade Your Customer Experience!
The occasional shipping delay may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean all the pain points of shipping are. With ClickShip, you can keep your shipping smooth, reliable, and affordable.
We partner with North America’s leading LTL and parcel carriers and integrate with leading eCommerce platforms and marketplaces to offer you better rates on all your shipping, in real time, directly at checkout, all for zero upfront and monthly fees!
Contact one of our shipping experts today and let ClickShip help you give your customers the experience they deserve!