4 Things You Should Know About the Scary ‘Delivery Exception’

Annoyed because delivery to your customer didn’t go as planned? Yah… we get it! No one likes a delivery exception.

When customers place an order, they understandably expect to receive it on or before the designated delivery date. Receiving their parcel smoothly is part of a fulfilling customer experience. Unfortunately, deliveries don’t always go the way you planned. Problems with order fulfilment and processing can lead to delays in deliveries. When checking the tracking status of an expected delivery, a customer may notice that it has been marked with a delivery exception. This dampens their anticipation and any negativity generated may then be transferred to your company, even if you are not at fault.

How should you address issues that arise around delivery exceptions? With delivery being an essential part of the consumer experience, you’ll need to have a solid process in place for how to handle these situations. Plans are paramount.

Below is an overview of these exceptions. We discuss why they occur, and how to address them. No one likes a delivery exception. Here is what to look out for.

What Does Delivery Exception Mean?

Delivery exceptions should not be confused with late shipments. A delivery exception occurs when merchandise in transit becomes temporarily stalled due to unforeseen circumstances. Common factors that cause these delays include transportation problems or adverse weather.

Common Problems

  • Missing or damaged labels: If a shipping label is damaged or missing, the carrier cannot read it. They will therefore be unable to scan its barcode. Exception codes are frequently issued in this circumstance. That’s why senders should always double-check their labels before sending to verify that everything is 100% legible. For this reason, some shipping companies put shipping labels in clear plastic to protect the precious information on the labels.
  • Federal holidays: Aside from well-known holidays such as Christmas, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving, there are also a series of federal or national holidays that may delay your package. This is true especially for international parcels, as foreign countries have their own observances. Furthermore, delivery exceptions may still take effect even after holidays as there tend to be backlogs that may require carriers to play catch up.
  • Recipient not available when the package was delivered: Some packages require a signature before they can be marked as delivered. If a customer is not at home when the delivery person arrives, the delivery person may return the next day. After several attempts to make a delivery, however, the carrier may arrange for an alternate location for pickup, or the parcel may then be automatically returned back to the sender. This results in inconvenience and even more frustration that you want to avoid, not to mention the extra costs incurred from reshipping the parcel.

Communication with Delivery Exception

Delivery exceptions do not always imply that the shipment will be late. Reach out! Supplying tracking numbers to customers is a useful way to monitor delivery exceptions and stay on top of shipments. Still, even if you employ a dependable monitoring system, there may be circumstances beyond your control. Delivery delays are inevitable in most businesses.

How you handle these exigencies will be crucial. The quality of your approach will tip the scale between keeping a loyal customer or losing them to the competition. Approach! Notice! Plan Ahead! Make phone calls! When you make a phone call, you make a happy customer. The idea is to reassure them that you are trying your best to ensure that the order they made is on its way to them.

Tips for Responding to Delivery Exception Messages

As a business owner handling a high volume of products, it’s important to know how to rectify issues such as delivery exceptions. Tips include:

  • Contact your carrier

The precise location of a package, as well as the reason for a delivery exception, should always be available online. Keep your tracking number ready so you can check the progress of the shipment. Keep track!

  • Contact the customer

When there is a delivery exception, it is vital that you notify the customer before they contact you. This will let them know that you are aware of the situation and are doing what you can to remedy it. By waiting until a customer contacts you, it is likely that you will find yourself in a customer complaint scenario. When corresponding with customers, always be cordial. Thank them for their patience, and apologize for the potential delay. Notify! Email! I encountered this precise problem lately and by contacting my customer before they raised a complaint, I salvaged the situation and retained a loyal customer.

  • Resend the Merchandise or Provide a Refund

If it is not possible to deliver the merchandise or if it sustained damage during transit, notify the customer. You could offer to resend the product or provide a refund. The cost for most packages damaged during transit will be covered via shipping insurance. Even if it is not, implementing this policy for delivery exceptions will maintain goodwill, which will pay off in the long run. Most times, the customer just wants to see evidence that the company cares and that their welfare and customer rights matter to them. Need some advice? We’d love to help! Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll get right back to you. Our professional team is always at your disposal and enthusiastic in helping you solve any problems that you may encounter.



(your fulfillment advisor extraordinaire)

delivery setup
NO more delivery exception!

Our friends at Logiwa have included a detailed blog post here.
Read this list of tips from Logiwa ” If the package will not arrive at the said location to the recipient any time soon, and if there is no easy solution to fix the delivery exception, make sure to provide your customer with options to either receive a refund or reattempt another delivery. When the carrier has lost the package, or there is an indefinite amount of time until the package is delivered, this may be your only choice. Delivery exception shipment is a tricky process. Online businesses need to tackle both the customer and the carrier requests simultaneously. Following your carrier’s labelling and packing instructions closely, being exact on the weight and size of the package. Always using weather-resistant labels, and verifying that your delivery address is correct are the other important steps you need to take to minimize the damage of delivery exceptions and avoid them entirely. Providing your customer with the tracking number as soon as the delivery is on its way can also reassure them that the process is under control. They need to be present at the specified date and time to receive the package safely. Don’t forget that these strategies will help you minimize the risks that come with delivery exceptions. Don’t leave causes such as inclement weather and natural disasters completely out of your hands.” We agree. This is important but tricky.

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