What to look for in a courier
Engaging a courier service isn't something that you'd do simply to post your nan's birthday present; it's something you'd usually only do when you had something important, valuable, time-sensitive or perhaps unusual to send. As such, it's important to choose a courier in which you can have total confidence; about whom you can have peace of mind. Essentially, you want to pick a service that you can trust implicitly.
To help with your quest, here's what to look out for in a courier:
These days, few people buy goods or services without first doing some research - and rightly so. The same applies with courier companies; you'll want to make sure you are using the best, most reliable one. A firm could have the best delivery rates in the country, but if it fails to deliver on time, then what's the use? You want a courier that fulfils its promises, but how can you be sure that's what you've found? Feedback, of course.
To get a good idea of the company's track record, it's advisable to check customer reviews. These might be included on the courier's own website, otherwise a simple Google search should yield more. These reviews will give you a thorough indication of the level of service you can expect and crucially, how reliable the courier firm is.
As you're probably sending something fairly precious, you will want an assurance that the courier company operates strict security procedures - that extends from the firm's actual website right out to its partners in other countries, if applicable.
A reputable and safe firm should initiate safety features straight from the off - such as email verification prior to booking a collection and an enhanced signatory service to help with proof of postage. These small factors are signs that the firm is serious about security.
A wide network
Naturally, you would want to choose a courier that operates a wide network, both domestically and internationally - otherwise your parcels aren't going to get very far. Also, if you can rely on the same company for the entire transition, your parcel is far less likely to get lost than if it was to be passed from courier to courier to courier. It's also more convenient to have collection and drop-off depots nearby, no matter where in the UK you are based, so choose one which highlights its vast network.
Let's face it, no one posts a parcel in the hope that it will reach its destination within the month; we want it to arrive as soon as possible. To ensure quick receipt of your mail, look out for guaranteed next day delivery options. These usually apply if a parcel can be dropped off / picked up by a certain time, but promise delivery within 24 hours. This typically works best with couriers that operate the afore-mentioned wide network, without the need for a middle man.
The point of using a courier service, as opposed to the more - shall we say - 'traditional' postal methods, is for convenience. How much more convenient can you get than home collection? Not much. Forget wasting your precious lunch break by standing in a long queue - a decent courier service will allow you to specify the date and time online on which you want your parcel to be picked up. That way, there is no interruption to your day. An ultimately convenient service will offer to label up your package, too - all you'll need to do is open the door and take the tracking receipt. Even better is if it can pick up and deliver outside usual office hours.
Value for money
You get what you pay for, or so the old adage goes - but it's possible to spend over the odds and not receive commensurate customer service. We all want to receive good value for money, so it's worth comparing delivery charges and seeing where you might be able to shave a pound or two off, without compromising on quality. For example, bypassing the home collection option could cut the cost (unless the service if free, of course).
One of the most important considerations in your search for a good courier service is whether it is easily contactable. Heaven forbid there should be a problem, but in the event that one does arise, it's reassuring to know you can carry out an online chat with an expert, send a dedicated email or request a call-back, to have your issue resolved in a timely manner. You would also want a courier that contacts you, too, informing you at all stages of transit, so look out for any email or text notification options. These are well worth paying a little bit extra for.
There are many courier services out there, however not all operate at an equally high standard. Hopefully, the tips above will help you to choose one that doesn't just meet your needs, but far exceeds them.