In light of recent struggles within the US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS, we thought it prudent to share how Rush Order’s US e-commerce shippers are successfully navigating the storm.
In this post, we will explore four ways the best performing brands are improving their customers’ experience during this difficult time.
What is happening?
First, yes, all three major US carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS) are experiencing challenges at the moment. The Postal Service’s woes are well publicized, of course. FedEx and UPS are also experiencing large influxes in ecommerce shipping volumes, as well as staffing shortages and other operational issues.
The result is a less than ideal delivery experience for you and your customers. Examples range from single shipments running days late, to lost shipments, to entire large batches of shipments being misplaced or mismanaged.
From the sorting facilities to the delivery vehicles, there are more parcels flooding the system than the carriers can manage. The resulting customer experience can be unpredictable and extremely frustrating at times.
What can be done to mitigate this situation and keep your customers happy?
1: Fulfill as fast as you can
This first point is obvious but it stands to reason that if a carrier may be slow to deliver, don’t exacerbate the problem.
As consumers, we all encounter messages on e-commerce brands’ websites these days that begin with “Due to Covid-19…” and end with “So, please allow extra lead time for your order to ship”.
Of course, perfectly legitimate stories are unfolding behind the scenes to drive such slow fulfillment lead times, but this scenario exacerbates the carriers’ challenges.
A customer complaining “USPS delivered one week late” and writing a 3 star review is still a better outcome than “It took you a week to give me my tracking number and then the delivery was an extra week too!”… That’s a one star review in the making.
A fulfillment operation’s struggles during this period may be real and perfectly legitimate, but thinking through business continuity solutions and contingency plans to avoid fulfillment delays should be a major focus for you as a business operator. Every day of delay impacts your brand, even when the reasons for delay are perfectly legitimate.
At Rush Order, we’re staggering shifts and physically separating our warehouse teams, along with instituting a long list of other measures, primarily in the name of health and safety. These accommodations and contingency plans also have positive impacts on business continuity by keeping orders moving out the door on time.
In addition, try to remove any other roadblocks in your order flow. For example, if not already in place, this may be a good time to consider adding address validation tools to your checkout process. Depending on your e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, etc.), there are very good address validation plugins available.
Customers are not always great at data entry. Avoiding address typos before the order hits your warehouse floor can help avoid fulfillment delays and headaches, again on top of what could become an eventual delay with the shipping carrier.
As another example, now is a good time to double check the restrictiveness of any credit card fraud scoring in your e-commerce platform. Shipping a fraudulent order is the worst possible outcome, but too many false positives can delay perfectly legitimate orders.
2: Be proactive
If a customer’s shipment is delayed in transit, why not reach out to your customer proactively and offer assistance?
For example, Rush Order’s “Transit Dashboard” gives our ecommerce clients a single view of every shipment in transit. By way of simple carrier API integrations, we automatically queue the exceptions in our CRM system and reach out to those customers before they realize FedEx / UPS / USPS has fumbled their shipment.
Imagine your customer’s surprise and delight when your personalized proactive outreach shows how much you care about them and their order. You have a very narrow window to turn a negative into a positive for your customer. Don’t waste the opportunity. This is not difficult or expensive to do.
3: Give your customers control
Earlier this year, Rush Order announced our partnership with Route, an amazing tool giving your customers better visibility of shipments in transit.
Better yet, Route provides customers with an affordable (often less than $1) option in your webstore checkout to fully insure their shipment against loss or damage in transit. If FedEx / UPS / USPS loses the shipment, Route will replace the item quickly and efficiently at Route’s expense.
The customer is quickly made whole and you, as the seller, are paid twice!
4: Give yourself one last chance to make things right
If you are not closing every customer support ticket with a customer satisfaction survey, you are missing out on important trends and insights. Perhaps more importantly, you are missing out on a key customer touchpoint, especially in this current environment.
If a customer gives you a negative survey response, ensure your CRM or help desk system can float this response to the top of your queue for immediate action. Then, do something about it. You will not turn every negative sentiment into a positive, but you will be surprised how often these negative reviews can easily be turned into positive outcomes that benefit your brand and your bottom line.
On behalf of the entire Rush Order team, we wish you health, safety and success during this time. Please contact us if we can be of any help whatsoever.