The keys to avoiding a nightmare before, during, and after Christmas

delivery nightmare
Isometric Christmas online shopping and winter sale web banner concept. Delivery man with winter gift box. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Small business must consider some key steps to avoid a parcel delivery Nightmare Before Christmas – whether B2C or B2B. But first, let’s consider what is at stake.

Missing, damaged or delayed parcel deliveries can potentially fracture your customer relationship, leaving you to try patching things up throughout the festive season.

Don’t expect customers to understand. They expect you to have things sorted during the Christmas rush and expect the deliveries to be on time.

If it’s your first festive season in charge, note what works well and what doesn’t and see it as a learning opportunity.

If your parcel delivery set-up is less than ideal during slow times, expect a torrid time as any flaws in your system become magnified over Christmas.

What are some keys to avoiding a Christmas nightmare?

Minimising needless returns

Nothing will ruin your Christmas – and probably your New Year – like excess returns. If not handled correctly they can destroy your reputation and create distrust among customers.

Tips for avoiding needless returns include:

Ensure the basics are correct: A sophisticated parcel delivery system can be brought undone by simple human error. For example, a misprinted label, incorrect parcels used for the job (i.e. too big, too small, too fragile), incorrect protection for fragile items, and incorrect handling instructions.

Right delivery option for the right item: Many a business has tried to cut delivery costs by engaging the cheapest courier company, and later regretted it. Double the regret if you are shipping items which are unusual, fragile, and expensive. A broken item could drive customers away for good.

Proof-of-delivery: It’s easier than ever to ensure proof-of-delivery during busy times. Telematics systems protect business owners by noting the correct parcel delivery occurred at the correct time.

Smooth operation

The other major key is ensuring deliveries run smoothly, even when demand increases. How is this possible?

Look at your resourcing: Do you have the flexibility to bring more resources on seasonally? Does the quality stay consistent or does it fall off a cliff?

Focus on customer service: It’s easy to let this slip during busy periods. But it’s important not to lose focus – more research shows customers, both B2C and B2B, expect more from their parcel deliveries than ever before. They want service, they expect reliability, and they like being informed.

Use telematics technology: Telematics helps with efficiency, parcel tracking, and provides you with the right tools to communicate with your customers.

Walter Scremin, General Manager, Ontime Delivery Solutions