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What Is a Delivery Exception?

What Is a Delivery Exception

Delivery exception, or, in simple words, a parcel delay, is something every merchant wants to avoid. Shipment exceptions can happen for different reasons, like bad weather or a mislabeled address. Whatever the cause, delayed shipments are a major source of frustration for customers and could harm your company’s reputation.

Learn more about why delivery exceptions occur and how to handle them.

What Does Exception Mean in Shipping?

The term “delivery exception” applies to any shipping anomaly that means the customer doesn’t get their package in time (or at all). When you run a delivery-based online business, some of your deliveries will inevitably encounter the following scenarios:

  • Weather-related shipment delays
  • Address verification issues
  • Customs clearance delays (if you ship internationally)
  • Failed delivery attempts

Bad Weather

Even the most dedicated couriers may fail to deliver a package because of bad weather or extreme weather events like floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Some areas routinely experience shipping delays in winter because of heavy snow.

The good news is that customers usually understand they can expect delayed shipping when local transportation grinds to a halt. However, a courier may sometimes have to pass through an affected zone en route to the customer’s home in a different area. That’s why you need a robust and efficient package tracking system.

Delivery Address Issues

Many packages get lost in transit because of an incorrectly typed address or a missing address label. When this happens, the courier won’t know where to deliver the package or will misdeliver it. A misdirected parcel will go to a Lost Packages pile, and locating it can take time. 

Sometimes, your delivery process will be flawless, but the package will still arrive at the wrong address because of a customer error. For example, a customer may enter their old address out of habit after a recent move or give their home address when they mean to have a parcel delivered to their office. In this case, your business may not be responsible for the delay, but you still need robust tracking to prevent misunderstandings.

Customs Delays

In international deliveries, packages may get stuck at the border. This can happen because of missing documentation, failing to comply with certain regulations or various package review delays you can’t predict or control. 

To reduce customer frustrations, list realistic delivery timelines for international shipping and mention that delays at customs may occasionally happen. It’s also important to work with reliable third-party carrier services that know how to handle international deliveries. 

Failed Deliveries

Sometimes, a delivery attempt will fail at the last moment. For example, a customer might not be home during their chosen delivery time window, a courier may be unable to reach a customer by phone for delivery that requires a signature, or the premises may be inaccessible for some reason. 

When this happens, the courier will try to deliver the package on another day, but it may take a while. It’s crucial to leave the customer a message about the failed delivery so they know shipping was on time and their package wasn’t lost or misplaced.

What Delivery Exceptions Mean for Your Business 

There’s no doubt shipping delays are bad for your company. When they happen, you may face:

  • Unhappy customers. Customers will be disappointed when a package doesn’t arrive on time, especially if they order an item for a birthday gift, a trip, or another time-sensitive occasion. 
  • Customer loss. A customer with a bad delivery experience may turn to your competitors next time, even if the delivery issue wasn’t your fault. 
  • Bad reviews. Customers who don’t get their parcels on time may give your business a low rating or write a scathing review that deters other potential buyers.
  • High costs. Returns, re-shipments, and replacements are costly and will damage your bottom line.
  • Waste of time. When many deliveries run into delays, your customer support team could waste hours handling inquiries from frustrated customers.

How To Reduce and Handle Shipping Delays

While you can’t avoid delivery exceptions, you can reduce their rate and mitigate their negative impact on your business. The three pillars of quality shipping service are seamless tracking, fast outreach, and reputable third-party carriers. 

Real-Time Tracking and Delay Notifications

Your customers should be able to track their packages in real time to know when to expect delivery. In the event of a delay, they should get a clear and fast logistics exception notice.

You can avoid a lot of frustration with an automated message like “Your package has an exception in delivery. The estimated delay is X days. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to get your items to you as soon as possible.” Once you’ve sorted out the issue, a follow-up message about the shipment resolution progress should come next.

Customer-Oriented Solutions

Your customers need to know you prioritize their delivery experience. Reach out and offer customer-centric solutions even when delays happen because of circumstances that aren’t your fault, like poor weather or a mistake by a third-party carrier.

If the customer still wants the product, offer free, fast shipping on replacement items. You can allow the recipient to keep the original item if it arrives eventually or arrange for a return to the customer at no cost.

If the customer no longer wants their order, issue a seamless refund. You can let buyers choose between a money refund or a store credit with a bonus. The latter may encourage customers to give your brand another chance.

Reliable Carriers

As an e-commerce business, you probably use third-party carriers to deliver your packages. Choosing a reputable carrier for large items like furniture and small parcel deliveries is vital. At Encore Home Deliveries, we provide advanced home delivery and warehousing solutions, simplifying your supply chain logistics and making the shipping process more reliable. Some delivery exceptions are inevitable, but you can take steps to make them less frequent and handle them correctly when they happen. Follow Encore Home Deliveries to stay on top of the latest news in e-commerce logistics and ensure your business creates a satisfying shipping experience for customers.