Thursday, October 29, 2009

Considering a Mail Consolidation Service for Last Minute Shipping Bargains? Questions to Ask...

Each year, especially at holiday time, shippers receive offers for better shipping rates from one of the hybrid services that combine a regular package carrier with final delivery by the US post office. The savings that are promised are often attention getting. From calls we receive, it appears there is strong competition for smaller packages weighing 15 pounds and less.

Are these services the best for you and your customers? Here are some things our CPS multi-carrier shipping software users who use some of these services with CPS suggest considering as you evaluate using these services, especially at this most important time of the year.

Package Delivery Time

Ask how long it takes to deliver a package compared to their normal delivery service. This includes finding out what path the package takes. It's possible for packages to go from your business to a consolidation warehouse, then be held there until there are enough consolidated packages to forward to their destination. If there is a delay like that, is that acceptable to you? This process can vary according to your location, so it's an important question. Finally, how does holiday volume affect delivery times?


If a package cannot be delivered or is refused, how is it handled? Is there an additional cost if a package is returned? Will you know it has not been delivered? You need to know what to expect so you can tell you customers.


We've heard reports of billing for these services not matching the promised rates. Will you receive enough information from the carrier to be able to check your bill? How are unexpected billing issues handled for the hybrid service?


Ask how you and your customers can track packages. Today's customers expect a tracking number and package information with just a "click". If delivery takes longer than the customer expect, being able to track a package without a call to your customer service department is important.

The carriers are also negotiating rates for their regular services that you already depend on. A multiple carrier shipping like our CPS shipping software can automatically rate shop for the best price using your company's rates. You can still get great rates for every package and get the service you (and your customers) expect.

Weigh the answers to these questions above and be sure you choose the best service for your business.

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