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So you’ve received a delivery exception for one of your eCommerce orders. What should you do? Before you panic, you need to understand what a delivery exception is and how to deal with one as part of your order management. Thankfully, we here at BoxGenie have created this helpful guide on delivery exceptions to help you through these unexpected issues. In addition, here's a guide to minimum order quantity and backorders that can benefit both seller and a buyer.

What Is a Delivery Exception?

A delivery exception occurs when a package is stalled at some point during transit for an unforeseen reason. This stalling may result in a late arrival, but this isn’t automatically the case every time. Instead, it depends on why the exception occurred in the first place—so it’s important to not immediately assume that your customer will receive their package late. 

After all, as an eCommerce company, you know that customers expect fast and reliable shipping. In fact, most customers these days expect their packages to be delivered within a couple of days! While this may be possible for huge retailers like Amazon, this is harder to accomplish for smaller retailers who may not have the ability to cover the higher costs of expedited shipping. 

When you add on a delivery exception to this, it’s easy to assume the worst. However, there’s more that you need to know about delivery exceptions, including how to actually deal with them when they occur so that you can save the order and satisfy the customer at the end of the day.  

What Causes a Delivery Exception?

There are several different reasons why a delivery exception may occur—some are more dire than others in terms of actually affecting the delivery date. Here are five common causes of delivery exceptions:

  • Holidays: On federal holidays, couriers do not operate. Therefore, this day off can cause delays due to the backlog of packages that tends to accumulate as a result. The good thing about holidays is that they are largely predictable. 

    Either way, it’s important to take into account holidays that occur in the destination country as well as the country of origin—as both could end up resulting in a delivery exception. 
  • Customs delays: If you’re shipping internationally, delivery exceptions could easily be caused by customs delays. Obviously, this isn’t something that you can really control. However, there are some things that you can do to help the customs process go smoothly. For example, you can make sure that you include the proper tariff codes so that your packages can sail through customs and arrive at their destination on time. 

  • Inclement weather: Inclement weather can wreak havoc on the shipping process and lead to delivery exceptions as a result. Inclement weather and natural disasters are very difficult to predict, but the good news is that these events are usually regional, so they will probably only affect certain areas. 

  • Labeling issues: A shipping label that has been damaged, is inaccurate, or goes missing can easily lead to delivery exceptions as the courier is unable to determine where it’s going without it! So always make sure to securely attach your labels with two layers of shipping tape, make sure that they are legible, and make sure that they include the correct addresses! 

  • Pick-up and delivery issues: Finally, the last causes of a delivery exception relate to pick-up and delivery issues—for example, if the carrier is unable to find the destination address. Another example involves an unavailable recipient at the time of delivery. This is especially an issue when it comes to deliveries that require a signature—the delivery will need to be reattempted or rescheduled. 

How to Deal With a Delivery Exception as an eCommerce Business?

When you’ve received a delivery exception, there are several things that you need to do as an eCommerce business to ensure the satisfaction of your customer at the end of the day. Depending on the cause, there may be nothing you can actually do to solve the problem; however, that doesn’t mean that you should do nothing. 

Here are the steps that you need to take to effectively deal with a delivery exception:

  • Contact the courier: The first thing that you need to do is to contact the courier. You should have access to the location of the package and the reason for the exception. If you need additional information, reach out to them for clarity and guidance to see what can be done, if anything. 

  • Contact the customer: Once you have all the information you need from the courier in regards to the delivery exception, you need to inform the customer. Sometimes, you will need more information from the customer, such as a correct address. Other times, you will just need to provide them with the information you have, apologize for the inconvenience, thank them for their patience, and promise to keep them up-to-date. 

  • Refund the customer or resend the package: Sometimes, the package cannot be delivered due to a labeling issue. Other times, the package may have been damaged in transit. In these cases, you may need to either issue a refund to the customer or simply resend the package. Again, it’s important to prioritize communication with the customer here so that they feel like they have choices and control over the situation. 

Other Ways to Guarantee Customer Satisfaction in Light of a Delivery Exception

Customer satisfaction is important for any business, but it’s especially important for eCommerce businesses just because there are so many options out there that it’s easy for a dissatisfied customer to take their business elsewhere. Money that you spend in this area is always money well-spent. But do you know exactly what to prioritize?

Here are some different areas that you can focus on in order to help guarantee customer satisfaction when you’re dealing with the potential negative effects of a delivery exception:

  • Focus on top-notch customer service. When dealing with a delivery exception, customers are going to need information and support along the way—so make sure to provide them with this through responsive customer service. 

    Don’t just email them from “no-reply” email addresses with this information—provide them with a means to talk to an actual person, whether it’s over the phone, over live chat, or through an email address that’s actively monitored. When you have well-trained reps standing by through these different mediums, you’re bound to provide your customer with five-star customer service that will easily counteract the annoyance and inconvenience of a delivery exception.

  • Focus on transparency. Another thing to focus on when dealing with a delivery exception is transparency. Keep the customer up-to-date on the status of their order and provide them with updates from the courier as soon as you receive them, rather than keeping them in the dark and hoping that the order is delivered on-time. 

    It’s understandable that you don’t want to give your customer bad news that will disappoint them, but it’s still necessary nonetheless. How you handle this situation will say a lot to the customer about what kind of business you are—so make sure to always update them and be honest with them about the information that you’re receiving from the courier. 
  • Focus on customer experience through packaging. The last thing you can do to help guarantee customer satisfaction and a generally positive customer experience is to utilize custom packaging. Believe it or not, customers place extreme value on the “unboxing experience.” By giving them a great unboxing experience and something to look forward to, you can help counteract the negative feeling that they may have from the delivery exception. 

    When you use custom packaging, you can enhance your customer’s overall experience by making them feel like they are unboxing a great product sold by a great company. Companies like BoxGenie offer amazing custom packaging solutions so that you can easily design your perfect packaging. Whether you have a design in mind or need help, BoxGenie offers a custom design tool in addition to responsive customer service to help you with the process from start to finish. 

Final Thoughts on Delivery Exceptions

Now you don’t have to panic whenever you have to deal with a delivery exception. When handled correctly, delivery exceptions don’t have to be the end of the world. Just make sure to always focus on the customer throughout the process by keeping them up to date and offering solutions to counteract the inconvenience that they’re dealing with. When you take these steps, you can still impress your customers and give them a reason to buy from you again! 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/sri/07a-qvm.page
  2. http://www.fedex.com/de_english/small-business/five-top-tips.html
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2017/08/18/exceptional-customer-service-is-key-to-e-commerce-growth/?sh=58e116ed3dc6

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