We previously published a blog looking at how difficult some companies make it to buy from them. The initial purchase though is of course, only one stage of the transaction, albeit an important one.
After the initial purchase but before the after sales support is the delivery. This includes, but is not exclusive to, a literal, physical delivery of a product to your customer.
Recently we purchased some promotional material from a company, one we have used before so we knew the prices and they had all our designs on file meaning the purchase was a simple process. However they let us down at the next stage, delivery.
Every other time we have ordered from them we have received delivery in around five working days, so about a week in real time. On this occasion we hadn’t received after eight working days so I sent them a message chasing, I didn’t complain I simply enquired as to an ETA. (Estimated Time of Arrival)
I heard nothing back for two days then on the 10th working day the items were delivered. Only after that did I receive a reply saying the goods should now be with me, no apology or even an explanation.
Now had they managed our expectations to begin with, let us know that there would be a delay, or simply replied to my message and let me know the situation there would have been no problem. The way it was handled however means the next time we are looking for these products rather than simply re-order from this supplier we’ll shop around. Just goes to show it’s a lot easier to lose a customer’s loyalty than it is to gain it.
Delivery of products and services is so important as it is the first thing you do after your customer has parted with their money. It will be now that they feel most vulnerable as you have their money (even if you have invoiced you have an agreement to take their money) and they don’t yet have their product.
The example I gave is about a physical delivery of goods but deliverability can come in different forms, for example if you are a software vendor how does the end user access the product? Are they required to install it themselves? Is there training? If you are a photographer how do you provide the finished copies? USB? Email? File sharing?
Make sure your customer knows what to expect when it comes to receiving what they have paid for, make sure you meet those expectations and make sure you are always looking at ways in which you can deliver more efficiently.