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 are bound to be some obstacles.
Some of our buildings are up to 1.5 tons 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 on 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.
There are many different challenges we face with transport, 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.
To be fair with over 10 years of experience now, and with online shopping now bugger than ever we see maybe only 1 in 100 people who experience a hiccup with transport.
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.