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Delivery calendar    Apr 25, 2023

3 tips on how to deal with delivery exceptions in 2023

Customers' expectations of delivery times are increasingly precise. How to meet them while bypassing any pitfalls along the way? Read in this blog post.

Parcel tracking is an absolute must-have for the logistics customer experience these days. In the same way that people used to look out of the postman's window, today we use courier services applications that allow us to track our orders in real time.

But have you ever wondered why this is happening? The answer is very simple: we are afraid that the timely delivery of the package will be delayed, lost, or that the courier will not be at home. In short: we are afraid of a Delivery Exception.

Therefore, in today's post, we will tell you what the causes of such problems are - and what the remedy is. We invite you to read on so that you never have to deal with such logistics nightmares again!

Most common reasons for delivery exceptions

Let me start with a definition: delivery exceptions occur when an already shipped consignment is delayed in transit, usually for reasons unknown to the final recipient. These in turn can be many and varied: from problems beyond the control of the logistics operator (e.g. severe weather conditions or even a natural disaster) to fortuitous events such as a flat tire or a road traffic accident. Whatever the reason, the effect is the same - the delivery date is disrupted which in fact means, that the delivery process was in some way exposed.

In addition to this, we cannot forget a whole list of other problems that affect the delivery time - such as the wrong delivery address, customs delays, or missing documentation. While a natural disaster is probably understandable for the customer, errors due to oversight on the part of the logistics service provider have a negative impact on delivery exceptions that affect the customer experience.

Unfortunately failed delivery is reflected in real-life statistics - as Metapack's data from The E-commerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021 shows, after a negative delivery experience, respondents mostly took three actions:

  • 59% contacted the retailer to make a complaint.

  • 36% decided to use another shop for their next purchase.

  • 29% gave a negative review.

However, in order not to end on such a negative note - there are, of course, certain ways to avoid delivery exceptions - therefore, in today's article we will show you how to deal even with an incorrect address (to anticipate questions: the telephone does not bite and as long as we have such data, it is always a good idea in an emergency to call the intended recipient and simply talk a bit) or shipment exceptions.

Delivery process: what can go wrong (shipment exceptions, wrong recipient's address, inclement weather, and co.)

In fact, the delivery exception occurs sometimes despite our best efforts. not everything is within our control. However, there are factors that are significant delays that can be controlled. So let's take a look at the factors that contribute to delayed delivery - and then we'll look at how we can prevent them.

  1. Delivery exceptions: shipping carriers' issues

The problem with international shipments exceeding the expected delivery date usually arises from a variety of challenges related to shipping exceptions. As far as smoother preparation for shipment is concerned, there may be problems with shipping labels or problems with incorrect addresses (or, miraculously, no addresses at all). In the case of international shipping, due to the long delivery chain, the number of processing errors can be even higher.

Given that shipment times are also dependent on cut-off times in some cases - everything that happens on the market has direct consequences for transport and delivery delays as well.

  1. Delivery exceptions: customs delays

    Customs controls are unfortunately beyond the reach of logistics influences - and they have an impact on the entire supply chain. Situations in which we have to deal with a delayed package that is stuck at customs are frustrating for all parties in the logistics process.

  2. Delivery exceptions: problems with documentation

Missing documents at customs, incorrect address details, or lost shipping labels (or damaged ones) - as you can see, there can be many reasons for this. Even the most efficient logistics will not be able to deliver shipments on time when faced with these kinds of obstacles.

  1. Delivery exceptions: the matter of last-mile delivery

    Clue of the program, i.e. the last-mile delivery encountering a kind of shipment exceptions in the form of.... courier companies responsible for handling the last mile, i.e. delivering the package from the warehouse to the hands of the end customer (or parcel machine or other OOH point he/she chose when placing the order). Situations in which a courier's vehicle breaks down en route are unfortunately not as rare as they may seem (as well as the delivery driver becoming ill or his workload being reduced, for example during the Christmas period). On top of this, traffic jams, the need to plan alternative routes, and other random situations have an impact on delivery times.

    What's more, at this stage probably the least pleasant situation can also happen, which means damage to the package, which should also appear in the tracking application.

Example of information about a damaged shipment from the UPS company's application

Handle delivery exceptions with care

We know - running an e-commerce business is not an easy job. Online shoppers have really high expectations and nowadays getting customer satisfaction is really challenging; you need to take care of business growth, marketing, and product quality improvement - and you also need to avoid delivery exceptions.

There are several ways in which you can do this, including the following:

  • verification of the correctness and completeness of the documentation provided (as well as the correctness of the shipping label);

  • improving the shipping process by investing in delivery route optimization;

  • use of real-time tracking status and other carrier delivery management tools.

An example od delivery exception message displayed in the application.

The impact of delays on ecommerce businesses (and reasons why you should minimize delivery exceptions rate)

As you already noticed, there are multiple factors that are causes of delivery exceptions. They are not without real impact on your brand. In fact, common delivery exceptions affect really serious areas of your business, including:

  1. cost - shipping process is an expensive part of the supply chain provided by courier companies. Not only does a delay in delivery involves more staff to make up for lost time, but it also involves a real financial contribution to the customer in connection with the delivery guarantee in terms of an exception notice period. If you do not comply with this, you may not only gain frustrated customers unhappy about missing the promised expected delivery day - but also legal problems for your ecommerce businesses;

  2. poor customer experience - we have the bad news: the client will not care if your subcontractor is the entity responsible for the situation and they will not wonder if it is a matter of UPS delivery exceptions, USPS delivery exceptions, Fedex delivery exception, or whether they are dealing with DHL delivery exceptions. At the end of the day, bad service will be associated.... probably only with your company and instead of thinking in the future about choosing another form of delivery in your shop, they will simply not be loyal and will go to your competition. This is why it is so important, firstly, to select responsible suppliers on whom you can rely for your business, and secondly, to give your customers the widest possible choice of delivery (believe it or not, every shopper has had some negative experiences in this area and has been discouraged to such an extent that they would prefer to avoid doing business with a particular company).

Summing Up

Every business can have an unexpected event. The important thing is nevertheless to keep a cool head and, in the event of a crisis, contact the customer, explain the situation in brief, and inform them about delivery status and the estimated delivery time. As a nice touch, the customer should be contacted when the package arrives, reassured that everything is OK, and apologized once again for the situation.

Let's face it: customer expectations in terms of delivery times are really high and range from same/next day delivery to short delivery times (around 2 hours). Unfortunately, delivery routes such a short period is extremely susceptible to unpredictable delays - some of which are beyond our control: wrong delivery address provided by the customer, the national holiday occurring at the time of delivery (which really affects late shipment, even if your employees work both weekends and holidays - just think of the congested streets, trips to the home country, etc.), whether the sudden appearance of inclement weather conditions.

Linker Cloud's fulfilment service process

It should also be remembered that there are specialists on the market whose experience makes it possible to avoid part of the reasons for the delivery exceptions discussed today - these are, for example, companies providing ecommerce fulfillment services. They handle the entire logistics for ecommerce - the responsibility for ensuring customer satisfaction with the supply chain service therefore rests on their shoulders, as well as they have an the duty to ensure that no logistics mistakes occur on the ecommerce side. It is therefore worth establishing a partnership with them - and not having to worry about all these aspects yourself.

Head of Marketing at Linker Cloud who gained experience in the insurance and tech industry. She also has a marketing agency perspective.

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