Timely delivery is most crucial during the holidays, and unfortunately, it’s when shipping challenges are most rife. Delays and damage to packages can ruin a business’s reputation, but it’s also an opportunity to win customers forever if handled correctly. In a world where customer feedback is publicly available, it’s vital that you address mishaps immediately.
Apology letters are usually in the form of an email, but in widespread cases, social media is an appropriate platform to get a message to your customers. Hopefully you’re only dealing with one disappointment at a time, however, in which case the more immediate the message, the better. So that leads us to our first tip:
- Address the situation as soon as humanly possible. Your tracking system should alert you to delays in shipping, and when you know a package will be late, tell your customer right away. If you were unable to predict the issue, and you’re responding to a complaint, the sooner your response, the more likely you’ll be forgiven.
- Own the problem. Even when the situation was completely out of your control, your customer’s experience is with you, not a carrier. Hold yourself accountable for it in your letter.
- Be sincere. Acknowledge that you have let your customer down and that it is not the way you build relationships.
- Empathize with the customer. Explain that you know how the mistake has impacted this customer and that you care about the consequences.
- Be specific. Explained what caused the delay or damage. Again, hold yourself accountable. If a carrier fell ill, for example, and you didn’t find a new driver ASAP, then that is the problem in your customer’s eyes, not that the original driver failed to deliver.
- Offer a solution. Tell your customer what you’re doing to resolve the issue, and if possible, how you’ll avoid the same mistake in the future.
- Make it easy. Give them appropriate links, like to provide additional feedback or access new tracking information. If you’re offering a refund or gift, make that easy, too. Don’t make them work to get their money back – refund the card they used to purchase before they ask. Or include a gift in the new product you shipped. Whatever you do to make this right for the customer, he or she should not have to make any more effort for you to correct your mistake.
At the end of the day, customers know that sometimes things go wrong. They’re more likely to forgive you when you’re up front, sincere, and quick in making it right. You can find specific examples of how companies have dealt with such issues here.
Delayed shipment is something you can’t always escape, but avoiding package or product damage is more within your control. Preventative measures can spare you the need to apologize. Packnet specializes in both custom and standard packaging. Contact us to see how we can help you maintain a stellar reputation: 952.944.9124; CustomPackagingSolutions@packnetltd.com.