Owner Driver Couriers – Your Parcel, Your Responsibility

Good business practices bring in good business – whether you are a small-time owner driver running courier work as a side-business or an executive of a multinational package delivery corporation. So you can just imagine what would happen should you toss a package up on a client’s roof. It’s just one example of how NOT to run your courier business.

Not Quite Air Express

This is exactly what one courier did. According to The Telegraph, the courier had, somehow, managed to wedge a package of clothing from a retail giant on the roof gutter of a home in East Sussex. The courier even had the gall to write a note to the owner saying that the parcel was ‘stuck on roof’ and left things at that.

The disgruntled customer uploaded a picture of the parcel and the note and shared his experience on Twitter – which promptly went viral. The retailer quickly went in to damage-control mode and sent the courier back with a ladder to retrieve the package from its awkward position. Lucky for the courier the customer took the whole thing well, making the point that he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. But that certainly doesn’t always happen.

Lessons to Learn: Sensible Plan of Action

So what does all this mean for the average owner driver courier? The first and most important thing is that drivers should formulate and stick to a plan of action when the recipient of the package is unable to receive the goods. In terms of the note left by the driver in question, there were plenty of other options – including leaving the package with a neighbour, in a shed, in a garage or secured to the front porch. If the courier deemed it unsafe to leave the package, he or she could have retained the parcel and left contact details to schedule a second delivery run.

Choosing to make the mind-boggling choice of attempting to toss the package onto the roof of the recipient’s home was not the wisest course of action, all things considered.

Lessons to Learn: The Power of Bad Press

One very important lesson for an owner driver to learn here is that information about your mess-ups can be quickly spread to other potential clients via social media. In this case, the original message was shared over 3,000 times on Twitter. It’s bad enough that the company received a negative impression from those who retweeted the message 3,000 times – but then you realize that more than one person views the feed of each individual Twitter account. Assuming each retweeter was followed by just five people on average, you now have about 15,000 eyeballs receiving that bad press. And possibly more.

Lessons to Learn: Damage Control

The company in question quickly replied to the customer’s tweet with a promise to investigate the matter and then offer a solution to the problem. This helped mitigate the negative impact of the courier’s mess-up in more ways than one. Firstly, sending the courier back to the customer’s home with a ladder to retrieve the package sends a signal that the company was willing to fix the problem. Secondly, the discussion on Twitter showed anyone following the customer’s dilemma would also see the company’s desire to fix the situation – transforming most of the negative press the company received into a positive, or at least neutral light.

This is something even small-time couriers need to remember. If something goes wrong, immediately offer to do something to fix the problem. Doing so has the potential to return some of the trust and goodwill lost by the initial mistake.

Don’t be lazy

Most owner driver couriers are not covered by as many regulations as those in other occupations, but doing a poor job of delivering packages will only cause you to lose business in the long run. Remember this the next time you are tempted to dump a package instead of doing the sensible and responsible thing.

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