Cheap Sheds has supplied more outdoor storage buildings to Australians and New Zealanders than any other online retailer and one of the most challenging parts of our business is delivery. Delivering Garden Sheds, garages and carports is tough. If you think about the size of the products we are carting around the country there is bound to be some obstacles.
Some of our buildings are up to 1.5 ton and very fragile.
I never forget that when the idea of Cheap Sheds was born back in 2007, anyone I shared it with told me to reconsider. Back then selling sheds and garages on the internet was a foreign concept.
Most people looked at me and asked “Sheds … online?” or something along those lines, and then sharing their thoughts why it would not work.
Delivery was on nearly everyone’s list…
Being the largest online retailer of these products in Australia, we have developed a reputation for customer service over the years and won the Award for the Most Trusted Australian Retailer in 2015. We were also interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald about our practices as well as the Australian Government who covered our story in their Digital Business education department. So I think it’s fair to claim that we do know what we are doing.
Delivering Garden Sheds Challenges
No control of the Interaction
Our biggest challenge is that delivery is the last and the only ‘in person’ interaction with the customer. So even though we value customer service extremely highly at Cheap Sheds, the transport companies’ contractor may not know or even care about those values.
We, unfortunately, don’t have control over this interaction apart from engaging the largest transport companies that we believe would deliver a good service. They have often publicly listed companies that you would think be offering great service.
This is not always the case, unfortunately.
Limited Couriers to Choose from
Sheds are big and not easy to deliver. A 3m x 3m shed is about 120 – 150 kg of steel panels come in odd boxes.
They require a 2 man delivery and/or a lift-gate van or truck. This kind of vehicle is not on every courier companies fleet, so our products are not quite suited for couriers that are often concerned about customer interactions. Our products are often delivered by transport companies that are delivering larger freight, often depot to depot and have some faculty to deliver to the door, but they are not a courier company as such. Therefore they are not as concerned about customer interactions.
Having said those courier companies can also deliver unexpected surprises…
How We Deal with Delivery Challenges
After supplying tens of thousands of sheds across Australia and New Zealand we faced many challenges with delivery, some of them are totally unbelievable.
We always chase freight. Even though our items are big, they still get lost in transit and we have to chase them up with transport (strange right?).
We were once chasing a transport company trying to find 3 of our triple garages in transit. Not one, but 3 of those huge massive 1 to 1.5-ton pallet of steel were missing in transit… go figure.
Losing an envelope or a small parcel would make some sense, however losing such a big freight should not happen in my opinion.
The latest challenge was an interesting one and one we have not dealt with before.
A transport company contractor drove off the gravel driveway of a customer and left the below scene behind. As you can imagine, if you were the customer you would not like returning home to this scene.
After 3 weeks of trying to get in touch with the transport company to put them and the upset customer in touch to resolve the issue we got nowhere.
We then posted the issue on the transport company’s Facebook page and it generated some heated discussion there. Here are some points people raised:
- Some people said that a driver shouldn’t drive off the driveway on a private property. (Which I agree with).
- Someone raised that the driver might have had to drive off to be able to take the turn with a large vehicle (Also a valid point).
- Then some people thought it was nothing and should not be worried about…
What do you think about this situation?
This issue is still being resolved as we work with both parties to try and reach some kind of a solution.
But as you can see, we never know what issues may come about, but we are always dedicated to assisting the customer through the entire journey of buying a shed online, to delivery to assembly and beyond.
After 8 years in the industry, delivery remains the hardest and most frustrating part of the system, as it is for most online retailers, but it is the nature of the industry.
So this brings me to ask you – How do you think Cheap Sheds or any other company that maintains award-winning customer service should handle situations when a transport company upsets customers?
Transport charges on such large items are on the higher end, Cheap Sheds doesn’t make money on deliveries, as a matter of fact, we lose on most deliveries.
Let me know in the comments box if you have any suggestions.
Here are some of the comments people made on our post when we addressed it on the transport company’s Facebook page: