Couriers – A few tips to help you streamline your delivery process

As a South African online merchant you probably have at least one horror story about a delivery that has gone wrong and an unhappy customer who vowed to never buy from you again.

We’ve all been there!  Delivery is one of the most important parts of your business and it should be treated with priority at all times.  In fact, if you want to do one thing to improve your customer service, reputation and bottom line, improve the way you deliver. It probably accounts for 50% or more of what your business actually does.

Here are a few tips on how to do that:

  • Use a courier service.  Nobody likes waiting 30 minutes in a queue at the post office only to be greeted by not-so-happy post office employees, who casually inform your customer that their parcel has not yet been delivered.  That’s a bad experience for your customer and one that they will remember for a very long time.  Couriers are now cheaper, more reliable and more professional than ever.  Do your homework, try one or two couriers out and get feedback from your customers.
  • The price of shipping is not everything.  Courier companies are not created equal.  While the price of the shipment certainly plays a part in your decision in which courier to use, you need to understand more about what your courier partner can bring to the table.  Things like deliverability, reliability or the ability to track a parcel all play a part.  If one courier is more expensive but their service levels and attention to detail are superior then it would make a lot of business sense to consider using them as they will have your business requirements in mind when delivering parcels to your customers.
  • Know the delivery process.  Knowing when your courier sends out notifications of shipments to your customers, or how they actually ship your products may make all the difference to the customer experience.  As an example, knowing that your courier might transport your orders on commercial flights and if there is a delay that they will send out an email directly to your customer could all make a difference.  Ask your courier for intricate details.  If they can’t or won’t tell you the expected process for your goods it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.
  • Develop a relationship.  The best thing you can possibly do with your courier partner is build a strong relationship with them.  These guys are the face of your brand when your orders are delivered to your customers.  Having a positive relationship with your courier will help you solve any problems and help them prioritise new developments to give you better service down the line.  Have your account manager’s number on your cell phone.  Know your courier driver’s name and let him know if things are going well.  Treat them as part of your business.
  • Use other systems where necessary to complement your courier.  Often a courier company will deliver really well but may be lacking in one part of the delivery process.  Firstly let them know where they are lacking and then look for other systems that could compensate.  There are a bunch of delivery apps and add-ons that can help such as sending better tracking notifications, etc. Use as many resources and tools as you think are necessary to overcome your delivery shortfalls, even if they are external to your courier’s processes.

We have just launched our latest eCommerce initiative uAfrica Shipping which is designed to help you manage your deliveries with ease, directly from within your uAfrica dashboard.  With this tool you get discounted rates quoted from multiple couriers, tracking notifications sent to your clients and the integration with your Shopify orders means that the fulfilment is automatically updated.

For more information head over to our website or call the team on 012 940 1060.

Happy delivering!