Advice on delivery problems
UK consumers whose delivery is late, turns up broken or doesn’t arrive at all spend on average two and a half hours sorting out the problem, according to new research from Citizens Advice.
Citizens Advice’s latest consumer advice trends report found that UK shoppers experienced 4.8m delivery problems in 2015/16.
“Customers who didn’t manage to get compensation were left £148 million out of pocket – £30 per parcel – due to damaged/loss of goods, hours wasted and time away from work,” claimed Citizens Advice – which is preparing for a rise in people seeking help for problems with deliveries as the “peak season” builds up.
“This time last year there was a 32% increase calls about this issue (between October and December 2015). And a 60% spike in people getting online help on 18 December – as they try to track gifts down before Christmas,” said Citizens Advice.
“As many as 390 million parcels will be handled by parcel companies and Royal Mail between November and December this year.”
The trends study, which includes analysis of more than 2000 calls made to Citizens Advice about deliveries in the last 12 months, identified the most common problems as:
Difficulty getting through to the parcel company to find out where their parcel is
Not knowing who is responsible for sorting out the problem
Unexpected handling fees when receiving a parcel from outside EU
Confusion about getting compensation when parcels are lost or damaged.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented: “It’s really important people know that if an item they’ve ordered doesn’t turn up – or if there is a problem with it – it is for the retailer to sort out. Businesses also need to make sure they are upholding people’s rights by looking into delivery problems themselves instead of passing customers onto the parcel companies.
“There are plenty of things families need and want to do at this time of year – but chasing deliveries shouldn’t be one of them.”
Responding to the Citizens Advice study, players in the industry emphasised how important delivery can be to a retailer’s reputation.
Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro, commented: “Depending on the way it is approached, the Christmas period can provide a real boost or a real burden to retailers. Some will be left with healthy profits as the orders roll in, while others will struggle to meet the demands customers are making of them. To get it right, it is essential that retailers get their house in order early when it comes to deliveries and returns.
“Recent YouGov research showed that the majority (60%) of UK shoppers would ultimately hold a retailer, rather than a carrier, responsible for order problems, so retailers must take action to seize control of their delivery experience. By reclaiming more of the responsibility from carriers, they can own the last mile customer experience.”
Jason Shorrock, vice president, retail strategy EMEA at JDA, also picked up on the importance of a good delivery experience: “The online retail juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down in the build-up to Christmas – with retailers competing ever more aggressively for sales and offering an increasing array of fulfillment options.
“Delivering a high level of service in an efficient and profitable manner remains a challenge for many retailers. As our YouGov research shows, last-mile issues continue to negatively impact the customer experience and customers are more willing to go elsewhere if their expectations aren’t being met.
“The good news for retailers is that customers appear to be willing to exceed order thresholds if it qualifies them for free delivery or collection.
“Now, more than ever, it is important for retailers to ensure they are offering outstanding customer service, or they risk damaging customer relationships and revenue.”