Have Urgent Shipments? Here's What You Need to Do
Running a business can be overwhelming especially when you have lots of international orders to fulfill. Urgent shipments are inevitable and you have to be prepared for them when they do arrive.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to handle your urgent international shipments better, here are some steps you can take:
1. Prioritise your shipments
You need the means to choose which shipment receives top priority if you have several large shipments that must be sent out right away.
We’ve put together a list of some criteria you could use to prioritise your shipments. Depending on your business’ needs and strategic direction at the moment, some criteria would be more important than others. Here’s the list of criteria:
Customer Level Priority
According to the Pareto Principle, only roughly 20% of a company's customers account for 80% of its sales or revenue. You can categorise your customers into high, medium, and low priority using this method. As a result, orders from your most valuable customers are given first priority.
Order sequence (First In, First Out)
You send orders as they come in if you decide to prioritise using this rule. New orders are at the bottom of the list and oldest orders are given top priority. Although this could appear to be the most straightforward and equitable way to prioritise orders at first glance, it might not be the greatest option for your business if you have one or two highly essential clients who might be annoyed at the delay.
When receiving or accepting an order, you might promise a shipping date, or the customer might request a specific date they want their package delivered. In that case, orders that have the earliest dates will be prioritised first over those with later dates. Thus, this rule requires you to continuously update your list of priority orders as new orders are made.
Another process of prioritising orders is by using processing time. Priority may be given to orders with the quickest or slowest processing times. Prioritising orders with quicker processing times will ensure you satisfy more orders, while the reverse will ensure you satisfy the most complex orders first.
2. Declare your items properly
When shipping out your packages, it's important that you declare your items accurately and clearly. Customs officers will assess if your items could be prohibited/restricted and whether your shipment requires further scrutiny, based on your product description.
By providing the right product description, you can avoid misunderstandings and custom delays. This speeds up shipping. If you want to find out more about what you can or can’t ship overseas, you can check out the Global Prohibited and Restricted Items.
At JustShip, we will help provide you with an expert review of your package documentation to determine if your items will be able to clear customs and be sent to its destination successfully.
3. Keep the customers informed about their delivery times
When we're eagerly waiting for something, hours that go by seem to last for days. Keeping your customers informed about the progress of their scheduled delivery can make the waiting process feel shorter for them.
Thanks to modern technology, informing your customers about their delivery is also made simpler. Customers can now use their specific tracking reference code to track their package straight from their mobile phone at any time. They can also sign up to get SMS updates on their package's arrival status for more pertinent package delivery information.
To let your customers feel more involved in the shipping process, you can use a personalised message to inform your customers about their item delivery time. A personalised message is a notification on top of the ones your carrier might send. Creating a personalised SMS or email helps your customers feel more secure about their delivery progress.
If you are not sure of how to create a personalised message, there are a few online providers that help you to create personalised messages to your customers automatically and minimise your customer support efforts.
4. Choose a fast delivery provider
When handling urgent shipments, you need a delivery provider that offers a fast shipping solution. On top of that, you need to ensure that the delivery provider is reliable and will ship out our packages to their destination in a safe condition. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your delivery provider:
When choosing a shipping service to handle your urgent shipments, you should make sure that they can deliver your shipments as fast as possible to your destination.
One tip for speedy delivery is to use air shipping services instead of sea shipping. Sea shipping would be a better option when you have larger shipments that can afford a longer lead time. However, air shipping is the best option if your shipment is urgent. This may be necessary for the timely launch of new products or for eCommerce deliveries to customers living internationally. However, you'll need to keep tabs on your budget and determine whether the value of your product and its need for urgency is worth paying the higher air shipping costs.
You also want to ensure that your delivery provider is able to handle your urgent shipments successfully without any hiccups. Hence, it’s important that you do your research on the different delivery providers even though you need your urgent shipments delivered on time. Check out the customer reviews on the different delivery providers to find out if they are reliable or not.
Here are some other factors you should consider when choosing a courier for your urgent shipments:
- Professional Appearance
- The ease of doing business
- The overall customer experience
JustShip uses air shipping to ship packages internationally within 2-5 working days. If you are looking to ship packages internationally as soon as possible, you should consider shipping with JustShip as we offer competitive rates! On top of that, we offer next day free pick-up of your items from your doorstep so you save on additional costs and get your parcels delivered at a reliable and efficient rate.
5. Pre-pay your taxes in advance
When you ship something to another country, your recipient may be asked to pay additional duties and taxes when the shipment reaches the destination country’s customs. However, you can’t afford any inconveniences when you are dealing with an urgent shipment.
One huge tip is to pay your duties and taxes in advance. This minimises the risk of your shipments getting delayed by customs and additional payments/actions being required.
JustShip offers DDP services (delivered with duties paid) so that you avoid any custom delays from taxes, especially when you have any urgent shipments to complete. By opting for DDP with JustShip, you can rest assured that your urgent shipments pass through customs comfortably without additional tax payments required!
How to tell a customer their order is late
Although the ideal outcome is for all urgent shipments to be completed on time, late shipments are inevitable. When that happens, the crucial part is breaking the bad news to your customers. Here are some ways you can tell a customer their order is late:
1. Take responsibility for the late order
Although your natural tendency may be to avoid blame in order to safeguard your company's reputation, customers value honesty and openness. Many businesses have lost their sense of personal connection as they have become more corporate, but customers still prefer to deal with real people rather than faceless corporations. Instead, explain what caused the delay, what you're doing to fix it, and how it will be avoided moving forward. People are more likely to forgive mistakes made by an individual than by a company that tries to place the blame elsewhere. Avoiding accountability displays poor business management.
2. Make it up to them
After a problem has been identified and addressed, you must put in a great deal of effort to gain back customers' trust. This requires more than just fulfilling the order in accordance with a later time frame. This can mean giving them the option to cancel their order and get a refund or giving them a discount to make it up to them. In order to avoid appearing disingenuous and uncaring, make sure that these gestures are supported by clear and real comments of your regret for the delay and how you're resolving it.
Urgent shipments shouldn’t be something to be afraid of, but rather a chance to prove yourself reliable to your customers. Completing urgent shipments on time can be essential to helping you earn the trust of your customers, which will be great for your brand image. By following the steps mentioned earlier, handling urgent shipments will seem much easier!
If you want to leave most of the work with handling urgent shipments to someone else, JustShip will help pick, pack, and ship your items to your destination at a fast rate while ensuring that your items are able to clear customs smoothly! Need an urgent shipment delivered ASAP? Create a shipment with us now!