Transparency is so much more than a buzzword. It’s a fundamental aspect of good business, and one which should guide every decision that we make. When it comes to courier work in particular, transparency is of paramount importance. It allows for trusted, fluent relationships between management, driver and client. This article lays out the crucial factors to bear in mind when creating a truly transparent courier workspace.
A client will be automatically put off the company if they’re hit with hidden costs at any point during the transaction. For example, keeping back a customs charge until the point of checkout will not only infuriate the client, but will also suggest that the number one motivation behind your business is to wring maximum profits from the consumer – without consideration of fairness or value for money.
Similarly, it’s important to make all delivery costs clearly available and easy to understand in order to set the client’s mind at ease. This is primarily a matter of good web design: a smooth, simple transaction is a successful transaction.
The days of crossing fingers and anticipating that a load will be delivered have well and truly gone. Rather than completely giving up control over a package when they hand it over to the delivery company, clients now want to keep their sense of agency. They want to know what’s happening to their package, where it is, and what stage of the delivery process it’s at. As with all things in this information age, clients expect to have that kind of knowledge at their fingertips.
A related priority is that of customer communication. Another obsolete image of the world of deliveries is that of the customer waiting at home for days in order to receive their package when it’s delivered. These days, clients want to know exactly when their parcel will be delivered.
Equally, it’s vital to tell the customer when the delivery has taken place and where the package has been left. While we might not want to go as far as Amazon – with its notorious Key system letting drivers unlock the customer’s doors – we do need to keep all lines of communication open.
We’re all human, so things are bound to go wrong sometimes. Research has overwhelmingly shown, however, that it’s not the fact of something going wrong that distresses the customer, but the way that problem is handled. Careful management of errors or confusions is therefore of critical importance.
First off, it’s vital that we come clean when something goes awry. We need to explain exactly what happened with the courier, work alongside the customer to come up with a solution and, most importantly of all, avoid keeping anything back. As with the issue of hidden costs, the sense that a company is not being totally honest really gives a bad taste to any transaction.
Generally speaking, what works for the courier works for the customer. It’s all about open communication, straightforward pricing and measured, even-handed management. The client needs to feel in control of their product, while the courier needs to feel that they are delivering a service that is properly professional, and yet personal at the same time.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier 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.