In 2022, shopping begins and ends online. With eCommerce sales predicted to hit an all-time high of $6.169 trillion by 2023, it's more important than ever to make sure the online shopping experience is smooth from start to finish.
Unfortunately, shipping and delivery doesn't always go smoothly. From supply chain issues to weather disruptions, many factors can cause packages to arrive long after their expected due dates. This can cause customer frustration and even brand mistrust.
So how can brands sustain their success even during delivery delays? The answer is establishing a legacy of superior customer service long before problems arise.
The secret to sustainable success is a stellar reputation
Mitto recently gathered the sentiments of 1,000 Americans around delivery delays and the importance of customer experience before and during the process. We found that 93% of respondents would be more patient about shipment delays if a brand was already associated with great customer service. More surprisingly, 45% of respondents would wait two weeks for their delivery if they received outstanding customer service during the holdup.
Our survey revealed that the experience of receiving a product is as important as the product itself. While a business isn't responsible for delays caused by severe weather or congested ports, they are responsible for being transparent and sympathetic towards the customer.
Early, open and ongoing communication is key before and during delivery delays. Over half of our survey respondents stated that if their customer experience was good, they'd keep doing business with a brand despite a shipment delay. However, if the experience was poor, 38% would jump ship. Furthermore, 76% of participants believe that a bad customer experience is worse than a shipping delay.
In order to retain consumer loyalty during a delivery delay, brands must place an emphasis on superior customer service and crystal-clear communication. More importantly, brands must establish an incredible reputation well before any problems can occur.
Communication is pivotal to customer satisfaction
Nobody wants to be left in the dark. This is especially true for customers who are expecting to receive a package they already paid for.
According to our survey, 60% of respondents said they'd feel better if a brand personally reached out to them during a delivery delay.
Brands that have built a solid reputation for delivering unparalleled support to shoppers have a higher chance of retaining customers during shipment delays. However, there is no room for second chances. One in four consumers would never shop with a brand again if they experienced two delivery delays within a year.
When communicating with a customer about a shipment delay, brands need to take a humanitarian approach. They must acknowledge how the customer feels and be prepared to show them a plan of what they'll do to resolve the issue. Brands should never place blame elsewhere or refuse to offer any solutions.
However, many brands aren't delivering on this. Almost 20% of our survey respondents reported that for each shipping delay they encountered, the customer experience was poor 61 to 100% of the time.
Most of our respondents expected personalized, prompt communication from brands during a shipment delay. In order to align with these expectations, brands must implement an omnichannel approach to their communication efforts.
How omnichannel can support superior customer experiences
Omnichannel communications allows brands to meet customers where they are - SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and more. An omnichannel communications strategy not only provides quality customer service to shoppers, but it can also help your brand build a rock-solid reputation.
Strong brand-consumer relationships are the best insurance policy for the next time a package doesn't get delivered on time. Omnichannel communication strategies can solidify these relationships. It can also deepen consumer trust and loyalty.
Omnichannel does this by delivering timely, personalized messages to customers on their preferred messaging platforms. Omnichannel puts the consumer in the driver's seat, boosting confidence and convenience. They no longer have to hunt brands down to learn where their package is. Brands come to them via their favorite messaging channels.
Personalized messages humanize your brand and convey empathy. Addressing a frustrated customer by name and displaying compassion will show that you have an affinity for them. This grows trust and strengthens the relationship.
As our survey findings showed, consistent communication and a legacy of great customer service will help brands overcome the frustration of delivery delays and retain customers. Omnichannel strategies will support both of these efforts by swiftly delivering personalized messages on a consumer's channel of choice.
Brands with mature omnichannel strategies will experience sustainable success and flourish despite storms, supply chain issues and shipment delays.