On a quiet, stormy Thursday evening just before Valentine’s Day, warehouse workers load up the last parcels for the day onto a truck. Or — they believe they loaded up the last parcels, anyway.
As the last warehouse worker leaves for the day, a little green scoundrel climbs out of a dusty collection of boxes in the corner and scoots the bins of parcels that missed pick-up over to the corner. The miscreant stacks the now-damaged and deranged-looking boxes into a high seat, and forges shipping tubes into a backing for its throne. It clambers up to the seat, and stares across its new kingdom, chortling and screeching, “I am at the helm of all eCommerce operations! All packages are MINE.”
WISMO Comes Out to Play When There Are Unexpected Exceptions and Shipping Delays
Meanwhile, at the headquarters of Sally’s Shoes, Carrie, the Director of Customer Service, comes in on a Saturday to get some work done while her team is out. Mother’s Day is two days away and she’s spent the entire week preparing her Customer Service team to answer any questions that customers might have.
She walks into her office, turns on the lights, and screams, “WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS DOING BACK HERE!” In front of her, she sees a group of rambunctious WISMOs sitting on her desk and whispering into her phone. Running forward, she attempts to shoo them away with her binder. Of course, they scurry off while smirking at her. After dealing with WISMO during peak season and Valentine’s Day, she thought that perhaps they were gone for good.
She checks her team’s customer service queues — messages from customers are rapidly piling up. As she scans over the subject lines, they read “Order is LATE,” “Where is my order??” or “NEED order in time for Valentine’s Day.” The WISMOs dance around her jeering and singing, “Your order is late! Your order is late!”
Carrie doesn’t understand. She and the Digital Commerce Manager of Sally’s Shoes, Diana, had spent so much time planning their Valentine’s Day eCommerce strategy. For the third time this year, she races down the hall to look for Larry, the Head of Logistics.
As Carrie hears the faint chimes of phones ringing behind her, she stares blankly into Larry’s office ahead of her. Larry is nowhere to be found, but WISMOs fill every inch of the space.
When Delayed Parcel Exceptions Amount to Broken Customer Promises
As the team at Sally’s Shoes learned on Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing worse for a customer than not receiving their package when and how they expect it. During time-sensitive holidays, this expectation only grows. While consumers are willing to pay more for faster shipping options such as one-day delivery, consumers are also more likely to expect brands to make up for shipping misses. They are 46% more likely to ask for appeasements and refunds on shipping costs.
In this scenario, although the Customer Service team anticipates a busy holiday, last mile variables derail Carrie’s preparation plans. When a carrier misses pick-up on a load carrying time-sensitive deliveries, it causes all deliveries in the missed load to not meet the estimated delivery date.
While these missed promises lead to an increased amount of WISMO calls for Carrie and her customer service team, the root cause is Larry’s inability to detect network issues that cause delays as they occur. Larry needs information in real-time, along with predictive and intelligent alerts that tell him when shipments are predicted to miss their Estimated Delivery Date (EDD), allow him to assess the urgency of the issue, and most importantly — give his logistics teams the tools to quickly and easily resolve the problem. [Learn how Convey’s Supply Chain AI technology helped top retailers detect 17% of peak season shipments destined to be delayed during 2019’s peak season.]
Best Practices to Take Control of Shipping Delays
Even though there are so many variables in the last mile that can delay a parcel shipment, customers expect brands to take responsibility of the situation and uphold delivery promises, or they won’t come back. According to our last survey, 98% of customers base brand loyalty on their shipping experiences, so it is imperative that retail teams understand when an issue occurs, so they can immediately manage consumer expectations. At a basic level, brands should be providing their customers with visibility on when their order is arriving, sending them information such as tracking numbers, confirmation emails, and estimated delivery date of the shipment.
However, brands that want to keep their customers in the know will go above and beyond these tactics, especially when packages are impacted by shipping exceptions.
Best Practices for Brands Shipping out Time-Sensitive Deliveries:
During peak season and time-sensitive holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, shipping delays can wreck a customer experience. Brands like Bonobos and UncommonGoods can detect any shipments that are damaged or destined to be late, and they can go the extra mile to ensure their deliveries arrive on time. After the brands identify delivery delays using their Delivery Experience Management, they halt delayed shipments and expedite a new package to their customers, and notify their customers.
Monitoring and acting on OTIF (On-time, in full) rates has helped both brands to build up cult followings, save money and increase their NPS scores this way. Through insights and actionable visibility, they can attain more efficient transportation and happier customers.
Here’s how both brands make their customers happy and move their packages efficiently throughout their delivery networks:
- Detect early on if there are any issues that can cause a delivery to go off the rails.
- Collaborate with any internal or external parties to find a solution or resolution to the issue.
- Resolve any delivery exceptions or delivery cases before they impact customers.
- Communicate to your customer that there was (or may be) an issue, but that a plan of action has been put in place to resolve the issue. If no positive resolution can be achieved, still ensure that the customer is aware and understands the best possible next steps.
Learn more about Convey’s new product, Discover, a high-level dashboard into your delivery network, or how to detect when shipments are likely to miss their EDD. To read more about the WISMO saga, start from the beginning here.
This blog was originally written by Christina Singh on 5/16/19, and was updated by Christina Singh on 12/26/19.