How do you respond to or explain late delivery to an angry customer? Is there a way you can increase your customer retention rate by virtue of how you email them when there’s a shipping delay?
According to the Office of Consumer Affairs at the White House, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. The implication is that an increase in customer retention of only 5% can cause profit to increase between 25% and 95%.
This is to remind you how important it is to satisfactorily explain reasons for late delivery to a customer. Before we proceed, let’s look at the definition of late shipping delivery
What Does Late Delivery Mean in E-commerce?
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Late delivery is a form of a shipping delay. It happens when a seller is unable to deliver a product or service to a customer at the agreed time. The fault might come from the e-commerce store or logistics company handling the shipping.
Take a quick look at the common reasons most companies experience a shipping delay.
Common Causes of Late Delivery in E-commerce Business
Before you begin to explain to a customer the reason for the late delivery of their order, you need to identify the root cause of the delay in the first place. If you fail to do that, chances are, you will make the same mistake again. Your customers will assume you are not serious about business if all you do is explain and explain.
What causes e-commerce delivery delays? To help you curtail excessive e-commerce refunds, here are the top causes of late delivery you must deal with:
- Unusual increase in order volumes
- Incorrect address
- Custom clearance issues can result in a shipping delay
- The unavailability of the customer (order recipient)
- Labour strikes, political unrest, and bad weather conditions can lead to a shipping delay
- Bureaucratic processing time
Have you experienced late delivery before? Which of these reasons we gave caused it?
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How to Explain Late Delivery to an Angry Customer
The day you stop caring about your customer’s perception of your brand, that’s the day your business will stop growing. While some of the root causes of late delivery or shipping are beyond your control as the vendor, how you explain them matters the most.
Using the right words in your emails, you can win back the trust of an angry customer who’s disappointed in your speed of product delivery. But the big question is, how do you explain late delivery to a customer who is disappointed in your service? I will share with you a couple of them:
1. Do not transfer the blame to the customer
Chances are, the core reason for the late delivery was that the customer entered an incorrect address. When such happens, the logistics company is likely going to return the product or find it difficult to locate the customer.
The natural thing any amateur merchant would do is to blame the customer, but don’t do that. You are not an amateur, not after reading a blog post like this. If you are a regular reader of our business and marketing categories, you’ve learned enough to prepare you for running a successful company.
Take the blame and apologize before you can remind them why there was a delay. Such an expression of honesty will endear your brand to the customer. Making excuses first tells the customer that you are not in charge of your business. If you are not in charge, hardly can you take the right decisions to improve the business.
If you think it’s okay to blame the customer for the shipping delay, what stopped you from reconfirming the order? Instead of making excuses, explain what you’ve done to ensure they don’t experience late delivery in the future.
2. Express gratitude
Once you’ve made it known to the customer that the fault isn’t completely theirs, it shows that you are taking responsibility. The next ideal thing to do is to express gratitude to the customer. There are thousands of businesses selling the exact same thing you are selling yet they chose to shop with you.
Appreciate the customer for their patience and explain in detail why there’s a shipping delay. An act of gratitude will help to lessen the burden of pain or loss the late arrival of the product may cost them.
When you show that you value their time, money and business at large, they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand. Oftentimes, what annoys most customers isn’t always about what happened but how it was presented.
3. Offer reassurance of your commitment to serve them better
The reason for the delay could that the product they ordered was faulty, so your quality control department withdrew it. Or you felt there’s a need to add an undisclosed bonus that will make it a mind-blowing offer. Whatever your reasons are, you need to reassure your customers of your commitment to serving them better.
Don’t stop at that alone. Set expectations. Give them a date that they should expect to have the product.
Together with your virtual assistant or in-house customer service team, try to keep in touch with the customer. Give them a link and a follow-up guide on how they can track their order. This is not the time to make promises you can’t keep. The negative impact of lying to a customer outweighs any profit you can get from them.
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How to Avoid Delivery Delays and Improve Customers’ Loyalty
According to e-commerce shipping and delivery statistics made available by Deloitte, 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping. But if you can guarantee both, this will earn you maximum customer loyalty.
When you understand the impact late delivery has on customer retention, you won’t like to do it again. According to a survey conducted by Voxware where 500 consumers shared their opinions on late delivery, 69% of consumers “are much less or less likely to shop with a retailer in the future if an item they purchased is not delivered within two days.
Acquiring a new customer, according to Harvard Business Review, will cost your business anywhere between 5 to 25 times the cost of retaining an existing customer. In order not to start explaining back and forth your reasons for late delivery, here are what experts do to avoid shipping and delivery delays:
- Outsource e-commerce order fulfillment
- Start using logistics and freight software to track your orders
- Plan and schedule orders in advance
- Set realistic minimum and maximum delivery time
- Call the customer to confirm the address you received
- Swift and effective communication with customers through the help of your call center manager will save you some costs.