Choosing a new courier service is a massive undertaking. The right courier service can mean the difference between a successful busy period and one that ends in disaster. Without the right courier service in place, it can have a knock on effect to your whole business operations, especially in the pick, pack and despatch stage.

To prevent this, we’ve outlined our top seven tips when choosing a new courier service:

1. Cost effectiveness

2. Courier reliability

3. Global presence

4. Delivery options

5. Order tracking capabilities

6. Recruitment processes

7. Money-back guarantees

1. Cost effectiveness

The most obvious concern is how cost effective is your courier service? Do they provide an affordable service that is highly rated by consumers, or do they charge extortionate amounts for a subpar experience? This has been made very evident recently with BBC’s Watchdog exposing Hermes for not properly vetting their staff, poorly handling deliveries and leaving customers embittered towards the courier service. Customers will then relate their experience with your company, leading to a downturn in repeat purchases.

2. Reliability

This is a key factor when weighing up your courier options. Do they have a reputation for breaking packages, losing parcels a little too often or forging fake signatures? Stay well clear, as the lower price are sometimes a scam in disguise. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Choosing a new courier service stats.

If you’re choosing a well known courier, it’s a good idea to check out their customers reviews. Sites like Trustpilot give customers the chance to share their experience with couriers, and filtering through a few reviews for each of the rating breaks (i.e. great, good, okay) will give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses, which can help you with your decision.

3. Global presence

A global presence is a good indicator as to the health and efficiency of business, after all, if they had poor logistical infrastructure, they would never have grown to such a size. It also says a lot about the capacity in which they operate, they will easily be able to accommodate large orders, as well as being able to deliver on short notice with immediate deadlines. When evaluating courier services’ global presence, a good place to start is considering couriers that are already household names, like Hermes and FedEx. These signify a strong global presence, and a high capacity in which they can operate.

4. Do they facilitate next day delivery?

Convenience is king, and people are willing to pay through the nose for it. In an age where information access is as simple as clicking a link and social media allows for immediate gratification, we expect everything ASAP. This has extended to our deliveries and ecommerce platforms such as Amazon are keen to take advantage. When choosing a new courier service, you can whittle down your list by crossing of those that don’t have adequate next day delivery options.

5. How effective are their tracking systems?

Tracking deliveries is a huge bonus in the eyes of any customer. Being able to follow your parcel as it makes its way through the streets allows consumers to better allocate their time, so they can avoid staying in all day waiting for their parcel. According to research, 83.4% of households want to receive information about the progress of their delivery, with 61% of them preferring a time window of when the order will arrive.

Person using an Iphone.

Some tracking systems allow the customer to watch in real time as their courier makes their way to them, whereas others only offer minimal information and imprecise delivery times. Consider what is most important to you and your customer base, and if up-to-the-minute delivery tracking is a must, ensure you’re choosing a courier service supports it.

6. What is their staffing structure like?

The way in which courier companies hire their staff has a huge impact on the quality of service. Some are vetted, paid adequately and are held responsible for the parcels they deliver. Others allow anyone to become a driver, with minimal selection procedures in place, thereby inviting mistakes and mishaps. One way to identify the steps in the recruitment process for a courier is to find any job listings on sites like Indeed. If you have time to collate a few job listings, you can compare them to each other and find out more about the vetting process and pay for successful job applicants.

7. Money-back when something goes wrong

Even with the perfect courier service, and smooth running process, you’ll need to prepare a ‘Plan B’ in case something goes wrong. When it comes to couriers, this could include products being delivered late, or packages turning up damaged to the customer. In these cases, it’s a good idea to choose couriers based on if they offer money-back when something goes wrong and it’s attributed to their service. You can usually find this in the terms and conditions from the couriers themselves, though you can always double check with their customer service team if you can’t find it straight away.

If you’re looking for a place to start when choosing a new courier, check out some of the courier services we partner with.