With what seems like most of the world on Twitter and Facebook, simple mistakes can often lead to a lot of bad press. Whether it’s about a badly cooked burger or a dodgy haircut, disgruntled customers can easily make their complaints heard in a very public way. This is why it is essential for courier managers to have a code of practice in place.
What Is a Code of Practice and Why Do I Need One?
A code of practice is a set of official rules that let employed courier drivers know how they should act on the job. Having a clearly defined code of practice protects drivers and the business from simple mistakes and misunderstandings, as well as providing a framework for dealing with problems as they arise. Even if you are self-employed, having a code of practice can help clients understand and appreciate your professional values.
What to Consider
Though every courier driver has his/her own way of doing things, it’s a good idea to formulate some basic guidelines around common problems, such as missing items and late or damaged deliveries.
· Liability: It’s key to decide who is liable for an item. Questions you might want to consider are: what happens when one of your couriers damages a package? And who will pay for damaged items? My top tip is to get proper legal advice on these matters from consumer rights specialists.
· Problem Deliveries: Always have a plan in place for any eventuality. Whether it is a late delivery or an absent recipient, both the client and the courier driver know what is expected if you have clear rules in place.
· Confidentiality: Confidentiality is another area in which you should seek professional legal counsel. You may want to check the legality of items you are asked to deliver. For instance, how can you do this without breaking the trust of a customer? Who can you share the name of the sender or recipient with?
· Clients: Finally, you need rules that support your staff and help them know how to deal with angry or upset clients. Guidelines that deal with client relations should also cover what a courier manager should do in case of threatened legal actions and fraudulent claims.
Hopefully most of these situations will occur very rarely, but it’s best to be prepared so that you can meet challenges with confident professionalism.
After the Fact
You may think that there is not much you can do after an incident has occurred, but this is actually the most important time to preserve your company’s reputation. The immediate aim is to minimise bad press and begin damage control. This often means responding to a client’s query or complaint quickly and offering a solution as soon as possible. In your code of practice, you may want to include a maximum response time for complaints and regulations about how your company represents itself online and in the media. The most important thing is to keep the client happy and act fairly. If you show that you are trying to solve problems, most customers will appreciate your efforts.
The most important thing is to keep the client happy and to act fairly. If you show that you are trying to solve problems, most customers will appreciate your efforts. Now all you need to do is develop your own code of practice, which will allow you to resume business with the confidence that you can handle whatever may occur!
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier driver work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.