Shortlist three good courier services, and send small parcels through all of them to short distances. This practical experience will tell you a lot about the agencies as compared to any referrals, testimonials, or fancy advertisements.
With so many courier service agencies in the market, it becomes a herculean task to decide which one will work as the best option for our needs. One of the ways to tackle this problem is to see their online ratings, recommendations, reviews, etc. As people will speak about their firsthand experience, you will be able to make a decision based on this information. Also, check their market reputation by consulting the actual customers. This way, you can select a few agencies and compare them on the basis of service, cost, reliability, and on-time delivery. It will definitely help understand which courier service is best among the lot. It is important that if you have any sensitive documents or an urgent courier, the company understands the gravity of the situation and delivers the parcel accordingly. Hence, your requirements and needs will also play a vital role in choosing the right agency. Here are a few tips to guide you.
The vast experience of a courier service will definitely earn it some brownie points over those with a few years of activity. Consider the number of years that the courier service has been active and conducting business. In most cases, an established company will have a better network, reach, and ability to help you out in case of a courier urgency or mishap. Also, with their seasoned experience, they will ensure that your parcel reaches safely to the decided destination. Owing to the reliability, all-rounded service, and professionalism that established courier companies offer, they are always a safe choice.
Many courier companies do not operate in certain countries and areas, and outsource the delivery to another agency. This may cause a delay in delivery or even loss of the parcel. Needless to say, it will become very costly for you. Hence, it is important that you choose a courier service that has an office in the area where you intend to send the parcel. On the same lines, it is advisable that you choose a domestic agency for local parcels and an international one for consignments which you need to send abroad.
Customer Service and Support
No one likes to deal with rude people, especially if you are going to interact with them almost on a daily basis. Imagine a scenario where you can clearly see on the tracking software that the consignment which was intended to reach Boston is now on its way to Siberia because it was loaded on the wrong plane. You panic and call your courier agency immediately. However, the customer support person shows absolutely no urgency in dealing with this problem and is rude to you. As this gets on your nerves, you next speak to the manager who is of little help himself and blames the entire responsibility of this mishap on you. If you want to avoid this, you must ensure that the courier service has employed capable and helpful people. You can speak to the managers of all the shortlisted courier agencies before zeroing in on one.
Terms and Conditions
You must not only ensure that the service is good, but also check out the facilities offered by the courier company. They must offer an online chat service and toll-free number in case you want to contact them at any point of time. They should have a user-friendly website that will give all the details about the services offered and a comprehensive list of FAQs. The website should also have a package-tracking facility with GPS for knowing the status of your consignment as it proceeds through the network. Some courier service agencies also offer volumetric weight calculator and an estimate calculator on their websites for getting the exact amount to be paid. Some agencies have started offering mobile and computer applications for helping out their customers. They will even package the parcel as per your requirement. If a courier company offers all these facilities, then it will be a good choice for you.
Courier service is one business which is heavily dependent on its credibility and trustworthiness. Do not just choose one because they claim to offer you better services at a reasonable rate. This will be part of their marketing strategy. Try to verify the authenticity of these claims from third-party sources. Word of mouth is perhaps the best way to get to know about a courier service. Ask your colleagues, friends, and family members about their experiences in dealing with the courier agency. Apart from this, you can also refer to consumer reports with watchdog agencies to understand about the kind of complaints registered against them. You would not want to entrust the job to someone who will default on the delivery, misplace the parcel, or even break a fragile one. Try to get an agency who will handle insurance claims, delivery issues, etc., professionally. Hire an agency only if you are satisfied that it actually walks the talk and delivers your parcels safely.
The best way to conduct a research on your own is to search for the courier companies on the Internet. There are many consumer review websites, like Yelp, Yahoo! Local Listings, Insider Pages, and Google Places which can give you firsthand information about the experiences people had with the courier company. Also, you may utilize the social media pages of these companies to study their interactions with the public. This will tell you a lot about the credibility of the courier agency. There will be people who will claim to be dissatisfied with the agency, so read their posts to understand the problem. Apart from this, also read the testimonials on the courier service's website to get to know about them. However, ensure that the companies who have written the testimonials are genuine ones.
Try to conduct a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to hiring the best courier service. List down all the shortlisted agencies and the services they offer. Then compare the details to decide on the best one. It is advisable that you do not compromise on quality. You can always negotiate the amount with the agency. Most courier charges will be based on the weight, size, location of the pickup and drop, and type of delivery. It will also depend on the urgency of having the parcel delivered. The charges will also vary if you have a door-to-door delivery, which includes pickup as decided every day. Keeping all these points in mind, try to gage which agency will offer you maximum benefits at a reasonable cost.
Imagine sending an expensive crystal vase to your friend as a gift for her wedding. However, in spite of having all the stickers saying 'Fragile' and 'Handle with care', the vase reaches your friend in a broken condition. You will have to bear the losses and send her another one. Now, if your vase was covered by the courier service through their insurance, this loss would have been insured. Most agencies will offer an insurance that will cover any theft, damage, or losses of the customer's goods. Try to find about the insurance coverage and select a company which will offer you a fair deal. Don't avoid paying a little extra for the coverage, as it will insure the safety of your shipment.
Deals and Discounts
There are many courier companies that have great deals, offers, and free vouchers to attract the attention of customers. You can take advantage of these schemes. Not only this, but if you send out many shipments every month, then it is highly advisable that you allocate the responsibility to a single vendor. This will ensure that he will give you a good amount of discount on the prices. Also, they will take care of all your urgent courier needs. Hence, choose an agency which will give you the benefit of a good discount and attractive offers. Having a yearly bond or contract with this agency is advisable.
Initially, try to send smaller parcels to understand how the service is faring before trusting them with anything important. If you send out frequent international couriers, it is advisable that you hire a big player who will have a global reach and seasoned experience. Try to hire an agency which has world-class processes and policies in place so that your goods will safely reach their destination. Do not sign on a bond or contract unless you are completely satisfied with their terms and conditions. Don't settle for an agency that offers substandard service.