In a perfect world, every package would be delivered to the right address with the contents in perfect condition every time. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen and no eCommerce operation is completely immune to errors. However, dealing with a wrong shipping address provides eCommerce store owners with an opportunity to wow their customers.

The Service Recovery Paradox is an incredible phenomenon and it has been proven time and again that customers can often be more loyal to your business after they have experienced a service failure, than if the failure had never happened in the first place.

It’s how you handle the problem that is much more important than the fact that a problem occurred in the first place.

Let’s look at the most common reasons why packages end up at the wrong address and the strategies you can utilise to resolve this when it happens.


The common causes of wrong shipping address errors


It is fair to say that in a majority of cases, shipping errors probably aren’t the fault of the eCommerce outfit that dispatched the product in the first place. But regardless of whose fault it is, is it you, the eCommerce store owner, that will have to deal with it:

Here are the three most common causes of shipping errors:

  • Customer Errors: a customer inputs the wrong address when making their purchase. This can be as small as a typo or the completely wrong address (such as a previous address after having moved)
  • Fulfilment Errors: the fulfilment company may have put the wrong label on the box
  • Delivery Errors: the delivery person drops the package at the incorrect address or leaves it outside an unanswered door and it gets stolen

So how do you, as an eCommerce owner, resolve this issue after it occurs?


Methods to resolve delivery to a wrong shipping address


Despite some resolutions to this issue seeming a little like you’re closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted, it is still crucial that you correctly address the issue.

Luckily, there are several things you can do both to prevent shipping address errors and to correct them after the fact:


1. Use tracking emails


It is highly advisable to send your customers tracking emails so they can keep an eye on their packages.

This provides customers with peace of mind because they will be continually aware of where exactly their package is.

It may also help to avoid problems such as a customer erroneously believing their product is late when the actual expected delivery date hasn’t yet arrived.


2. Have clear and open communication with customers


Every eCommerce business should have clear communication channels available to its customers. Always include contact information in emails and other communications with the customer so they feel like you’re easily contactable.

Customers want an easy-to-find, efficient way of contacting you so it’s good to have a phone number or chat option to enable direct communication.


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3. Use personalised responses


Generic, canned responses might save some time, but they won’t impress an already unhappy customer.

While it is acceptable to have their first point of contact be through a chatbot, once the problem has been made known, it’s then time for a human response that deals directly with their specific issue.


4. React quickly to a wrong shipping address


At the end of the day, the main thing any customer cares about is getting what they ordered in a timely fashion.

The quicker you react to the issue they are experiencing, the more likely you are to impress them with your customer service and ensure they come back one day for another sale.

Responding quickly is always important, but it’s even more vital when the customer chose an expedited shipping option when they initially made their order. Make sure you act quickly and expedite the delivery of a new package – remember that eating the cost of that expedited delivery can be more beneficial to your business in the long run as opposed to losing a customer for good.


5. Replace, don’t re-route


While it is logical that your preferred response would be to wait for the package to be found and then re-routed, your customer is only interested in getting their item as quickly as possible.

It is advisable to ditch this approach, take your stock and revenue losses on the chin, and immediately send a replacement order. If and when the shipment is found you can add it back to your inventory but a happy customer is a future customer and this should be paramount for any growing brand.


6. Offer compensation


A small gift or discount is a great way to offer your customer some compensation for the hassle they’ve experienced due to the shipping error.

If you want to impress, you could consider refunding the entire order, and while this approach will pinch your pockets, it can be a great way to win a customer for life, especially if they suffered a big inconvenience due to the shipping error. (But watch out for those sneaky few who might decide to chance their arm if they’ve heard about this practice!)


7. Follow up even after resolution


Be sure to follow up with the customer even after the problem has been resolved.

Reaching out after the package has arrived at the correct address will make your customer feel valued throughout every step of the process, and ensure that they are fully satisfied with the final result despite the initial mistake.


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Choose an order fulfilment provider who can streamline your returns process


While every eCommerce business owner wants to avoid incorrect shipping address issues as much as possible, you can’t control absolutely everything – so stick with the aspects you can control.

One area you can control is the order fulfilment provider you choose to partner up with. At ParcelPlanet, we have incredibly low error rates on our deliveries and we also provide a returns process that is second to none.

Our team takes care of everything for you from start to finish, making sure that every customer issue is dealt with promptly and personably and that customer satisfaction is maintained at all times.

Reach out to us today if you need a trustworthy fulfilment partner for your eCommerce business and together let’s ensure your customers get the very best your company has to offer.

Take a moment to also explore our blog and resources for the latest news and trends in the eCommerce world.