When you run a business, choosing the right courier service partner is crucial, but it can also be hit or miss.
You need a provider who is reliable and cost-effective but who also offers a delivery service that will keep your customers happy.
The good news is that there are lots of courier services out there; it’s just about narrowing down the right one for you.
You could, of course, use a courier comparison service to help get you started.
But if you want to find the perfect courier partner for the long term, there are several important factors you need to consider:
- Communication and Support
- Range of Services
To ensure you get this right, here is our in-depth list of six of the most important things you need to look out for when choosing a courier partner for your business.
1. A reliable reputation
First and foremost, you need to look for a courier service provider that is always going to be reliable.
If you choose the wrong company to partner with, you could be faced with a wave of delays, additional costs, and/or unhappy customers.
This is why it is so important to get it right!
There are some simple but effective ways you can judge how reliable a courier service is, starting with their company website.
You should also look for any feedback or reviews being left about them online, be this through testimonials, social media, or review sites.
It is important to do thorough research into any of the companies you’re considering partnering with.
Getting in touch with the company is also a good idea!
When you do this, you can ask about what insurance options and contingency plans they have.
By reading many reviews and feedback and getting in contact with the potential company, you can then determine if they are going to be reliable now and well into the future.
2. Communication and support
In today's digital world, there are many courier service providers popping up.
The problem is that often, these are faceless companies, and you can struggle to speak with a real person.
Communication and professionalism are crucial for a courier service, particularly if something goes wrong.
Therefore, you want to choose a partner that offers great customer support.
Again, you need to do your research and check out their website to see what kind of support they offer to their partners/customers.
These are a few questions to keep in mind:
- Do they have an FAQ page?
- What are their office opening hours?
- Do they have a physical location?
- Where is it?
- Can you speak directly with an account manager?
- Do they have a webchat option?
You need to take all of this into account and look out for a courier service that puts their customers first, so you can do the same with yours!
3. A range of different services
Before choosing your courier partner, you need to make sure they offer a range of helpful services and that those services are what you and your customers are going to want/need.
So, if you’ve found a provider you think might be right for your business, look at what services they offer.
If you can’t find what you're looking for on their website, get in touch with their team in order to ask about their services.
It is likely that you're going to want to offer a range of different delivery options to your customers.
As such, it's a good idea to look for couriers who offer:
- Same-day delivery
- Next-day delivery
- International shipping
- Overnight shipping
- Digital print and postal services
- Other specialist services like warehouse storage or pick and pack
Of course, you might not need all of these, so choose a courier that covers the service you do need.
Keep in mind that the needs of your business might change in the future, so in order to future-proof your courier service partner, choose a company that offers the fullest range of services.
4. A speedy delivery
As well as a courier service that offers a range of options, you also need to check out the company’s average delivery time.
In a world where retail giants like Amazon can have goods to you within 24 hours, consumers have become accustomed to having things almost instantly.
Therefore, you’re going to want a provider that offers speedy deliveries.
Some of this will be covered depending on the services they provide, such as, next-day delivery.
You want to look for a courier that always does their best to make deliveries in as short a timeframe as possible and that communicates delays before it becomes an issue with your customers.
Again, you should be able to find out either from their website or by speaking to a member of the team, how quickly they can deliver your goods.
Then, when it comes to choosing your partner, you can compare different providers and choose the most efficient one.
5. A budget-friendly provider
Of course, it’s all well and good saying you want the quickest provider with the most options, but all of this comes at a price.
You need to find a balance between the right courier service and an affordable price.
This can be especially important if you are just starting out or you are a small business.
So, before you settle on any partner, you need to do a price comparison.
Look for those offering the best services for the most reasonable prices and weigh all the pros and cons.
You may choose to spend more on a better provider, but just be careful that the cost won’t break the bank!
6. A secure service
Finally, despite being last on the list, this is the most important things you need to look at when choosing a courier partner.
Securing data has become a top priority not just for businesses but for consumers as well.
From a business perspective, you need to protect your customer’s data to ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Otherwise, not only could you could face a hefty fine, but you could also damage your reputation!
As a consumer, you will only share your personal information with brands you trust to keep it safe.
Therefore, you need to do all you can to protect your customers and show them you care about data security.
A good way to do this is to find out if the provider offers security systems like real-time GPS tracking, secure deliveries, and full audit trails.
You also need to know that everyone involved in the supply chain, from top to bottom, is taking their security seriously.
Now that you know what to look for in a courier company you can be safe in the knowledge that you will find a partner you can trust to deliver your products safely and on time to your customers
Stuart Cooke is the Marketing Manager at Irish Parcels
They are a courier comparison service that helps e-commerce businesses to find the best shipping solutions for their products.