How Transit Time Impacts Customer Satisfaction

Feb 15, 2022

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Let’s admit it. Being a carrier business in this day and age is no easy task. Besides the surge in demand for home deliveries during the pandemic, they also have to cater to ever-changing consumer behaviors. When it comes to customers’ expectations, getting their purchases delivered to their doorsteps as quickly as possible and having a variety of shipping options to choose from are just the tip of the iceberg. 

With this in mind, our data team examined customer feedback across the globe for both domestic and international packages. The compiled ratings were based on parcels tracked during the one-year period from August 2020 to August 2021. Do longer delivery times affect customer satisfaction rates? Did the ratings for domestic versus international parcels differ in any ways?

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The Longer the Transit Time, the More Negative the Reviews Get

It is common knowledge that carrier transit times can enhance a customer’s experience. In the world of logistics and supply chain operations, “transit time” refers to the interval (hours/days) it takes for a shipment to reach its final destination after being picked up from a designated pick-up point. While you can easily shorten the transit time by paying a premium, the prevalence of “free shipping” nowadays has made customers more reluctant to foot a standard delivery fee, let alone an expedited one.

Keeping with this behavioral trend, our data showed how customer satisfaction decreases with increased transit time. This was especially pronounced for the case of international parcels, where customers reduced 1 star in their rating for each 0.82 days increase in transit time, as compared to the 1.52 days for domestic ones. While a negative review or two may not be a big deal for most businesses, there is always the possibility of them becoming a roadblock to customer acquisition, while simultaneously causing a decline in customer retention rate in the long run.

Customers Are Willing to Wait 2.5x Longer for International Parcels

Based on our findings, expectations seem to differ across international and domestic packages. For starters, an average customer is willing to wait approximately 2.5 times longer for an international package as compared to a domestic one. More specifically speaking, customers rated their experience as “good” when the transit time was below 7 days for domestic parcels. For international parcels, on the other hand, the number was slightly higher at 18 days or less. 

The difference in the customer ratings for domestic and international parcels makes perfect sense considering the distance involved and the amount of times the packages change hands for the latter group. At the end of the day, the carrier is ultimately responsible for setting expectations for international orders; one way to do so is to inform customers of the possibility of packages getting caught in the respective customs.

Most Reviews Are Linked to Speed of Deliveries, Quality of Customer Service & Accuracy of Parcel Information

How Transit Time Impacts Customer Satisfaction - reviews

With reference to our data analysis,  the majority of reviews were addressing the speed of deliveries, quality of customer service and accuracy of parcel information. While the positive section contained words such as “quick”, “fast”, “courteous” and “timely”, the negative one included words like “slow”, “late” and “wrong”.

Moreover, it was interesting to observe that customers only leave reviews when their experiences are extremely positive or extremely negative. In other words, if we manage it well, rating scores could turn into a powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool for carriers. We must remember, however, that if we handle the parcel journey poorly, the rating system may also become a breeding ground for negative remarks that could very well tarnish the carrier’s reputation. Since customers also rate the skill set of employees, make sure to use ready made work automations so that you have everything well-organized.

Improving Transit Time & On-Time Delivery 

Meeting customers’ expectations and delivery requirements are no doubt two of the most important priorities of every carrier out there. Problems with on-time delivery and customer service affect every area of a business and can in turn damage customer relationships. Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to automate human coordination in freight and logistics in real time. This will help boost security and prevent loss of goods along the supply chain, thus enhancing transit time over time.

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