What makes a good courier service?
It only takes a quick trip down the motorway to see just how many courier companies operate in the UK. Each one serves the same purpose, of getting your items from one place to another, but not all do it to the same standard.
So how do you go about separating a good parcel delivery company from the not-so-good ones? Well, there are a few different qualities to look for on your search. To make your decision a little easier, we've compiled some of the biggest factors to consider below. Here goes!
The best courier services will be able to offer you plenty of options when it comes to what you're sending and when you want it delivered. If, for example, you have something particularly large and heavy but want it delivered for the lowest possible price, the company should be able to provide a slightly slower service that takes two or three days. If something needs to be delivered as quickly as possible, you'll want the option to have it picked up from your home or workplace and delivered the following morning. It's all about satisfying your needs.
Fantastic customer service
Should you have any questions about your delivery, whether you've booked it already or not, you expect quick, concise and friendly answers. These should be obtainable through a number of channels too - online enquiry forms, social media and email are crucial these days. At the other end will be a professional member of the team ready to go out of their way to help you.
Great customer service should extend beyond the company's HQ to include its delivery drivers too. Expect service with a smile every time, from a team member who takes care of your parcel throughout the process.
A reliable tracking service
They might be a relatively recent invention, but tracking services are an essential part of parcel delivery these days. They give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your item is on its way, so you don't have to waste too much time sitting and waiting.
Traditionally, the location of your parcel would be updated and displayed online every time it was scanned on its journey. This could be at collection, depot arrival, sorting and departure. Now, however, using GPS technology, some companies are able to give you real-time updates. Before long, this will be the standard.
You'll find the best courier firms are able to give you estimations of when an item will arrive too - a one-hour slot is all it takes to prevent the recipient from sitting at home all day waiting.
Most drivers use satellite navigation every now and then; they make getting around a lot easier, so why wouldn't you? Well, technology doesn't always work - batteries run out and cables get lost, causing problems for those who rely too heavily on it. Your courier company should employ drivers and staff who know their local areas well, and don't always have to depend on digital maps to get around.
The delivery firm as a whole should know a bit about the international industry too; helping customers send items to customers and friends in other parts of the world. Did you know, for instance, that anything leaving the EU must be sent with the right customs forms? Or that you can't send playing cards to Greece? It's this kind of knowledge that will help ensure your package arrives at its destination.
When things don't quite go to plan, you'll want a provider ready to do everything in its power to make things right. At the very least, though, it should have the right insurance measures in place to ensure you're never left out of pocket. When using a reputable delivery firm, you'll find that most items are insured up to a certain amount as standard, although you may be required to pay a little extra if the goods you're sending are particularly valuable or fragile. The company's customer service team will be on hand to advise you on your options.
Cheap rarely means good, but that's not to say you need to fork out loads of money to get your item from one place to another safely. Look for a company that provides a range of services at clear and reasonable prices, whilst also offering the odd special promotional deal. If you're a business owner sending products to your customers regularly, working with a well-priced courier service is a great way to cut spending.
When it comes to finding a courier service, you have plenty to choose from, but be aware that not all firms are created equal. Some will tick one or two of the boxes above, while others won't be able to tick any; find one that has everything covered, though, and satisfaction is all but guaranteed.
Also see our related content...
Sending parcels to the UK
Sending parcels internationally