Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and businesses have had to figure out better, more efficient ways to get their products out to customers. From small businesses to restaurant chains, delivery has posed an interesting puzzle. The demand for food delivery has seen a substantial spike in popularity since people have been discouraged from dining in restaurants. When dining in, customers are at a much higher risk of catching COVID due to proximity, the need to eat without masks, and HVAC systems that weren't designed to filter airborne disease.
Similarly, customers have been discouraged from spending time in brick and mortar stores, forcing all customer interactions online. You want your business to make a great impression, so you'll have repeat customers, but how do you accomplish that without face-to-face interaction? The way your business can really stand out is by creating a stellar delivery experience for online orders. Here are a few tips that will help you give your customers a top-notch delivery experience.
Use a trusted delivery app.
For restaurants, being on a delivery app can be a game-changer when it comes to creating a wonderful delivery experience. Even if you already have a hired delivery person, with the influx of demands, you may find you need the extra hands to efficiently make all of those orders in time.
In such demanding times, people want their food as quickly as possible, which is why major companies, like Chick-fil-A can be found on all three major delivery apps, like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. Chick-fil-A made a smart move by being available on all the major apps because it also means people are more likely to buy from them just out of convenience. No matter what app customers are using, you can find their business.
You don't have to be as big of a company as Chick-fil-A to deserve that kind of representation on apps. Places like DoorDash will even let you sign up for a 30-day free trial, so you can see if your customers enjoy having that kind of access to your food before fully committing.
Encourage your customers to use informed delivery.
If you're a business that is delivering goods via mail, you can only control the quality of the delivery so much. Once the order leaves your warehouse or shop, the timeliness of delivery is in USPS, UPS, or FEDEX's hands. In order to make sure your customers know when their package is arriving in the mail, encourage them to use informed delivery.
Informed delivery is a service that USPS offers for free that allows your customers to see their incoming mail that's letter-sized and manage the delivery of their packages that are set to arrive soon. With informed delivery, your customer will never miss a beat and is able to retrieve his or her goods the second that they make it to their door. Informed delivery can even work with a PO box.
With an increase in package deliveries, there's also an increased risk of someone stealing your packages off the stoop. With informed delivery, your customers will know when to expect their package, so their view of your business won't be tainted by a third party.
Take a picture of the package before you send it.
For a stellar delivery experience, it never hurts to go the extra mile. Sometimes packages get damaged en route to your customer's house. You don't want your customer to think that this happened while the product was still in your possession. Right before you send it out for delivery, have one of your shipping team members take a picture of the package, so you have a record of it. It may take a little extra time, but putting in the work could be the difference between a repeat customer with great reviews and a former customer who encourages their friends and family not to shop with your company. If their package doesn't arrive in tack, you have proof that you packaged it well, and it left your business in great condition.
Email updates even if it's a small change.
Once your customer hits the purchase button on your website, in order to give them great service, send them email updates every step of the way. If you have to custom create their product, let them know when you're making it, tell them when you've completed it, inform them when it's packaged, and finally let them know when it's on it's way. This would be a great time to attach a picture of the well-packaged delivery mentioned above!
Due to COVID-19 and an influx of deliveries, depending on which mail service you're using, your package may take longer to arrive at your customer's doorstep. Transparency about this matter is key. Even though you might hope that your customers are staying on top of what's happening in terms of mail, they may have their fingers crossed that they'll just get lucky with the time it takes to ship. In your confirmation email that will let them know you received their order, make sure that you include an elongated timeline to account for how slow the mail is moving. Many people are hoping that special gifts for birthdays and anniversaries will come in time. Help them be realistic if they've procrastinated, so that they can purchase an additional present that will come in time.
Be accommodating when you can.
Some delivery experiences aren't great for customers due to third parties. For example, maybe their package wasn't handled with as much care as it needed, and something broke, or the food they ordered came cold. If a customer reaches out to you about an issue, try to accommodate them as much as possible. Just because the initial delivery wasn't ideal doesn't mean they can't ultimately have a stellar delivery experience. Providing great customer service can be a game changer, and ensure that customers keep coming back for more. Many times you won't need to break the bank in order to help a customer. Replace the item or give them a gift card. A little kindness goes a long way.