Delayed Delivery? Here’s How to Tell Your Customers

Customer service makes or breaks a business. Since price points and products are easily copied in today’s digital age, one of the only competitive battlegrounds left is customer experience.

UK businesses lose £12 billion every year as a result of poor customer service, a figure that effectively highlights its importance. This is especially true for those in online retail in Europe where a lot of things can go wrong, unexpectedly, from the moment a customer clicks “Add to Cart” until they open their parcel.

Late delivery of online orders is one of the many causes of dissatisfaction that leads a customer to contact your customer service. But, how you deal with it is essential to ensuring that your customers remain loyal even when this problem arises. We have a few tips below.

Avoid delays in the first place

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The same principle applies to customer service. You won’t have to deal with disappointed customers if their package arrives on time or before they were expecting it, in the first place. If you under-promise and over-deliver, customers are likely to be delighted.

Use your previous experience with shipping and your usual turnover time to ascertain how long delivery will take. Then add a little buffer, maybe a day or two, so you can meet your target timeline but also have leeway in case you need it.

Keep the customer informed

And no, we’re not talking about shooting them an e-mail telling them to expect a delay. You don’t want the first thing they hear from you to be a problem. Instead, keep them apprised of the entire process.

Let them know that their order was received, is being prepared, is on its way or perhaps will arrive late. Don’t forget to explain the reason for the delay. Then, give them an estimate for the new timeline. These days, it’s becoming increasingly common in Europe and a good part of the world for road haulage companies to have a real-time tracker so you and your customers can see where their packages are.

Take responsibility for the delay


Whatever the cause of the delay, you have to take responsibility for it. Customers appreciate honesty and transparency so, even though it’s easy to blame anything but your business, know that customers are more likely to accept mistakes if you own up to them instead of shifting the blame elsewhere.

Avoiding responsibility can seem like you can’t manage your business well. So, explain to your customer what is causing the delay, what you’re doing to rectify it and the action you will be taking to prevent such missteps in the future.

Make it up to them

Once you’ve explained the issue to your customer, you need to work on rebuilding their trust in your service. This not only means delivering based on the new timeline you’ve established but also going beyond that. Offer them a chance to cancel their order and get a refund or maybe provide them with a discount as a token of apology. Whatever you do, make sure your gesture is accompanied by a clear expression of your regret and sincere apologies.

Customers leave when they feel like their complaints are being ignored or falling on deaf ears. But, if they have a positive experience and great customer service after they express a complaint, then they’re more likely to let it pass and stay loyal to your business.

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