Apr 11, 2023
Tanner is the CEO at Order Protection.
Running a business is complicated. This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many elements that go into owning, running, or managing a business that many don’t think about until…well, until things go wrong.
And for eCommerce retailers who ship products to customers, there’s an additional, complicated layer in managing the shipping process that can add even more stress and complexity. Handling the logistics that come with shipping is a monumental task for small businesses, but even established brands can struggle, especially when it comes to resolving issues that occur in the shipping process.
As a veteran of the shipping protection industry, I know that what happens from the time a customer places their order to when they actually receive their purchase can make or break their experience with a brand. In general, especially in retail, you want your brand to be at its best when customers are upset or something goes wrong.
Today’s customers have high expectations for brands, especially when they’ve already spent money and an issue occurs with their order. And the last thing you want as a business owner is to subject your brand to negative reviews for issues that could’ve been resolved.
To give your business a leg up on the competition, and to best serve your customers, you’ll want to have a solid plan and process in place for handling shipping issues. For most, the best way to do this is by partnering with shipping protection specialists.
How do you know if your business could benefit from an outside shipping protection service? There are a few signs, which we’ll get into in more detail in this article. To start, you’ll need to understand the current state of your business, and where you want to take it from here.
Is your customer support team bogged down with shipping claims?
Is your brand’s reputation suffering due to negative online reviews?
Do you want to grow revenue by increasing your average order value?
Are you looking to improve your customers’ overall experience?
Let’s take a look at each of these key indicators to find out if you’re ready to look for a shipping protection solution.
1. You have a high volume of shipping claims and a small customer support team
If your brand is operating with a small customer support team, you understand the strain an excess of shipping claims can put on the team.
There are two main resolutions for shipping claims:
Refund, where the customer receives a credit for the item
Reshipment of the product at no charge to the customer
In both cases, the support reps will need to communicate with the customer to understand and investigate the claim, then make a decision on how to resolve and make arrangements to provide the solution to the customer.
In addition to impacting your brand’s bottom line, shipping claim resolutions require a great deal of time and effort from support reps. And, as I’m sure you’re aware, shipping claims aren’t the only issues landing on the desks of your support reps. They have to deal with every type of customer service issue that your business receives. So with a small team, reps will be stretched thin as they try to resolve all issues, including time-consuming shipping issues.
Fraud becomes an issue here as well. Many customer support teams don’t have the information or tools they need to determine if a claim is fraudulent. Background information on a customer’s purchase and return history is key, and while most retailers will have that data, it isn’t always stored in an easy-to-access place or readily available to reps.
When brands attempt to handle all shipping claims in-house, it’s often a clunky, manual process. One rep might own the spreadsheet where they document claims, manually copying and pasting information from the eCommerce platform, while a different person communicates with the customer and provides the actual support. Yet another rep might be responsible for filing the claim with the shipping carrier, or handling the refunds and reshipments. In these situations, it can take a minimum of three days and sometimes even up to two weeks to provide a resolution.
This kind of cobbled together system opens the door to human error around every turn and, most importantly, doesn’t deliver a seamless, efficient, or positive experience to the customer.
How a shipping protection provider can help
Partnering with a shipping protection provider can help take the stress off of your existing support team. They’ll be able to focus all of their time and energy on helping customers with issues outside of the shipping process, while a specialized team steps in when something goes wrong during shipping and delivery.
Let’s look at the specific ways this outside support can help:
24-hour support from shipping experts
It’s likely that your brand is not available to provide 24/7 support, especially if you’re operating with a small customer service team. When you partner with a shipping protection solution, you get access to reps who not only specialize in this exact type of support, but who can respond to claims at any time, on any day of the week.
Direct integrations with eCommerce platforms
Most shipping protection solutions integrate directly with all of the major eCommerce platforms. This helps to solve the manual issues we mentioned above, keeping all of the customer and order data in one place. Reps can investigate claims and provide resolutions directly from the platform, making it a seamless experience for both the reps and the customers.
Personalized support and industry-leading response times
Remember the scenario above where multiple reps step in to resolve one claim? Not only does this introduce opportunities for error and add days to the resolution process, but the customer can feel as if they’re being passed around and not prioritized. Shipping protection providers like Order Protection will respond within the hour that a claim is submitted, and one rep will work directly with the customer within the platform until the issue is resolved.
2. You have a high volume of negative online reviews thanks to shipping issues
Reviews, especially in eCommerce, are a necessary evil. A 2021 report revealed that over 99.9% of customers read reviews when shopping online.
With nearly 100% of consumers relying on reviews to help them make purchase decisions, making sure your brand is providing an exceptional customer experience is more important than ever. And when it comes to reviews, the unfortunate reality is that people are more likely to leave reviews of their bad experiences. A study found that consumers are 50% more likely to share negative reviews on social media, and 52% more likely to share their bad experiences on review sites.
Brands should take negative reviews seriously. The same 2021 report found that 96% of customers will actually look specifically for negative reviews before purchasing, up from 85% in 2018. And these bad reviews can take a serious toll on your bottom line—86% of consumers will hesitate to buy from brands with negative reviews.
So how does this tie into shipping protection?
How a shipping protection provider can help
When you take a closer look at negative reviews, two out of five complain about shipping errors, with one in ten one-star reviews complaining about wrong items being sent. Research of 1,000 UK consumers found that two-thirds of customers will leave a negative review when delivery is delayed, or they’re unsatisfied with responses to WISMO (“where is my order”) inquiries.
Poor customer service in general is responsible for over half (53%) of negative reviews, while nearly a fifth of respondents in the report rated insufficient or little-to-no post-purchase communication as the most common reason they would leave negative reviews about their experience with a brand.
So while it’s super important to have a quality product or service, the actual experience you create for your customers—from start all the way through post-purchase—is extremely important.
And while many brands will blame shipping partners and carriers for the issues, consumers consistently relate their experience back to the brand, and it’s your company that will receive the poor review if the issue isn’t handled properly.
When you partner with a shipping protection provider, you can make sure customers receive prompt and efficient responses and resolutions to your customers’ shipping issues. The UK report found that consumers have high expectations for retailers when it comes to resolving shipping and delivery claims, with 47% expecting a resolution within 1-2 working days.
With a solution like Order Protection, your brand and reps have visibility into the entire shipping and delivery experience, with access to the insights needed to take action to ensure customers have an excellent post-purchase experience. Reps will send initial responses to shipping claims within the first hour, with many resolutions completed within the same day.
Your brand’s reputation and profits are on the line when it comes to playing the review game, and the first step in avoiding negative reviews is in making sure there’s a process in place to deal with hiccups in the customer experience.
3. You want to increase your average order value
As a retailer, the only thing better than making a sale is making a bigger sale, right? Increasing your average order value (AOV) is a great way to increase revenue and grow your business, but how to improve this metric isn’t always simple or clearcut.
Acquiring new customers is one way to grow your AOV, but retaining existing customers is oftentimes a better strategy when trying to boost order values. With new customer acquisition costs on the rise (up nearly 60% in the last five years alone), there’s pressure to really cultivate the relationships you have with your current customers to really capitalize on revenue growth.
According to a study by Motista, customers who have an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value, and will spend $699 annually, compared to regular, satisfied customers who will spend around $275. It’s easy to see the opportunity here, right?
You’re probably also starting to see a pattern. We keep coming back to that concept of creating and maintaining happy customers who have a great relationship with your brand. It might seem obvious, but simply offering more to your customers in the form of useful, post-purchase services is a quick way to not only improve their experience, but can encourage them to make larger purchases with your brand.
How a shipping protection provider can help
You probably know what’s coming next: the shipping experience is one of the biggest areas where you can add value to your customers’ journey with your brand. Free shipping, tracking, and shipping protection or insurance are great offerings that can help build trust and boost loyalty.
And all of these services come at little to no cost to you or your customers, while making the consumer feel as though the shipping process is in their control. A study by PYMNTS found that 60.1% of consumers would purchase insurance, protection, or warranties from eCommerce retailers if presented with the option at checkout.
These offerings often make consumers feel more comfortable and provide a sense of security when buying more expensive products or spending more overall. When your customer knows their shipment is protected, they’re more likely to increase their order value. In fact, the same study found that 78% of customers would be more inclined to spend more online if offered protection or warranties at checkout.
Further, shipping protection offerings can boost customer engagement and overall customer lifetime value. Data from the PYMNTS study showed that once a consumer made a retail purchase including shipping protection or insurance, 82% of those customers would buy from that brand again in the same way in the future.
4. You want to provide a premium customer experience
Finally, the biggest sign that your brand is ready to explore shipping protection solutions is a desire to provide a premium experience to your customers.
While the cost is minimal, there is still a cost associated with providing shipping and order protection services. And if you’re asking your customers to tack on a few extra dollars at checkout to ensure they have a smooth and effortless post-purchase experience, you need to actually provide that experience.
We’ve seen many brands decide to take on the shipping protection process internally, with mixed results. And when it’s done poorly, it’s a mistake that can taint the entire product, service, experience, etc. that customers have with a brand.
Bottom line: if you don’t provide the level of experience consumers are getting with brands who use shipping protection providers like Order Protection, chances are they’re not going to come back and buy from you again, if at all. And while it might sound like a scare tactic, the trends and data show that consumers have high expectations from brands, and they have no problem taking their money to the companies that will actually provide a top-level experience.