Your clients and business contacts draw their perception of your business and how it operates from various sources, which are not just limited to your product lines or how your website looks.
Customer impressions may begin when people first click on to your website, but they only end when an order has been received.
The quality, ease and speed of delivery of orders can be a real determining factor in whether that customer is happy to place another order with your business, so these things are just as important as what your products themselves are like.
Effectively, your courier is an extension of your own brand, and says as much about your business as you do yourself. So it’s perhaps surprising that this importance is often underestimated.
When it comes to sourcing a cheap courier, here are some of the key factors and business points to bear in mind:
· Flexibility – A good cheap courier service will offer a flexible service, and be eager to suit your needs, while being keen to become a partner in your business.
· Tracking ability – If you are sending parcels long distance, it may be a good idea to have the capacity to track where your goods are, so that they can be readily traced in the event of a late delivery.
· Strong customer service – If you need to, you should be able to speak to someone at the company directly, and without having to hang around. Equally, go with a provider offering a good number of favourable reviews on its website.
· Is a uniform worn? For some businesses, it may be important that delivery staff are wearing some kind of uniform. Bearing in mind that a courier service is a direct extension of your brand, are you happy for them to show up sporting jeans?
· What if the parcel can’t be delivered? There are various ways of dealing with what happens if a parcel cannot be delivered because the recipient is not at home. Ask the courier what they will do in this situation. Some may text ahead to ensure someone is there, others might get the customer to give alternative delivery options, or, in some cases, parcels can be left with neighbours.
· Costs – Clearly, a lot will depend on the shape, size and weight of what you are having delivered if you are using Royal Mail, but with cheap courier companies, larger deliveries may not necessarily cost that much more. However, “fast tracking” is obviously likely to increase your bill, as will delivery at busy times such as Christmas or weekends, while end-of-business day delivery may cost you less than going for a specific time. As ever, keep an eye out for hidden or extra charges and costs.
Of course, a number of other factors also come into play, including delivery times, where the company delivers to and whether they operate internationally.
In many cases, an ideal and cost-effective solution might be to use a broker, rather than going with a parcel carrier direct, since companies like this often have access to extensive savings from the biggest carriers.
Juliet England is a blogger who writes across the Internet, in particular for parcel and pallet delivery companies such as Cheap Couriers.