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Two factory workers with overlaid text 'Seasonal Worker Syndrome', highlighting challenges in logistics during peak seasons.

Seasonal Worker Syndrome: How to Reduce the Impact on Deliveries & Customers

by LJM Group

Well-meaning but inexperienced employees can put a damper on holiday deliveries and customer joy.  As businesses enter the seasonal order rush, it’s essential to prepare for delivery issues caused by workers who are thrown into the busiest time of year, often with little experience and training. Just consider the fact that most Carriers hire a team of temporary workers for peak season; UPS is hiring more than 100,000 temporary workers (and nearly 80 percent of those positions don’t require interviews). These unseasoned seasonal employees can affect your business by causing costly shipping errors, delivery delays and, ultimately, customer dissatisfaction. The potential Carrier strikes and ongoing supply chain issues further disrupt deliveries and increase the chances of your orders being delayed or shipped erroneously. 

Fortunately, businesses have access to shipping management technology and other tools designed to ensure that your orders are handled in the most timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner possible. Here are tips to lessen the impact of seasonal worker syndrome on your business and help ensure maximum holiday joy for your customers.

Reduce and Recoup Costs – Hundreds of thousands of untrained seasonal workers will be handling packages, making deliveries, transporting on unfamiliar routes, etc. Gain control and reduce costs at the start by automating your shipping and spend process.  Hold Carriers accountable for increased errors and recover the costs of refunds, re-shipping, returns, and delays. Carefully audit invoices to find mistakes and overcharges and recoup lost shipping spend. If you don’t have the time or staff to audit every Carrier charge, consider  automated Parcel Invoice Auditing that works with great speed and accuracy to help regain back as much money as possible.

TIP: Use a cost-reporting software to learn your true Carrier costs per parcel, after delivery, so you can compare them to what you are charging your customers for shipping. This is also a great way to uncover hidden accessorial fees.

Act Early to Gain an Edge – The Carrier strikes and supply chain crisis are regularly featured in the news, alerting customers to potential delivery delays.  According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are ordering earlier than ever in 2022. Prepare by updating sales forecasts early and often. Closely follow trends and what customers are ordering and replenish stock as soon as possible to be ready for the holiday rush. A sooner-than-later mindset also applies to your marketing, promotions, and auditing. 

TIP: Pick a holiday shipping deadline that works with your order and fulfillment schedule. Motivate customers to order by the deadline.  Monitor orders and inventory closely so you can ensure that your fulfillment processes are keeping pace with demand. If needed, adjust your holiday shipping deadline—and clearly communicate the change to customers. And if you offer free shipping, increase the delivery time to reduce your cost and help ease the order fulfillment process.

Gain Happy & Loyal Customers through Communication – Almost 75% of consumers surveyed by Shopify in 2022 want a high level of communication and transparency regarding their order purchase and delivery. Even if deliveries are delayed, manage customer expectations and build loyalty this holiday season by making communication an automatic part of your order and delivery process. Sophisticated programs like a Tracking Concierge are of great value to businesses during peak season because they automatically track and communicate information about a customer’s order throughout the fulfilment and delivery process.

Communication also goes a long way in transforming bad delivery experiences into good ones. When the inevitable happens and a valued customer falls victim to seasonal worker syndrome over a botched delivery, communicate immediately to validate concerns and address any issues. Follow up with a courtesy discount or free shipping on a future order to help retain the customer. 

Protect Against Employee Theft – Does your business also rely on seasonal workers? If so, you probably deal with an increase in theft and lost inventory during the holidays. In fact, one of the most common kinds of shipping fraud involves the use of contrived addresses for stealing merchandise, enabling employees to divert inventory at will. Consider implementing a Fraud Detection solution to minimize asset misappropriation throughout the procurement, payment, and expense process.

Despite the uncertainty caused by an unprecedented disruption in the global supply chain, consumers will continue to spend this holiday season, and the businesses that succeed in capturing those sales will be the ones that leverage advanced technology, software, and logistics advisory services. To learn more about how your business can substantially reduce the risk and costs caused by seasonal workers, contact the shipping specialists at LJM Group.

Sources:

NBC News, UPS Hiring This Holiday Season – https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/ups-hiring-holiday-season-pay-benefits-information-rcna46693

FedEx, Holiday Peak Season Business Shipping & Delivery Tips – https://www.fedex.com/en-us/holiday/peak-season-business-shipping-and-delivery-tips.html

Shopify, Future of Shipping and Logistics – https://www.shopify.com/research/future-of-commerce/future-of-shipping-and-logistics#:~:text=According%20to%20our%20research%2C%20free,That%20much%20hasn’t%20changed

Yahoo News, Study Reveals Pain Points for Holiday Shoppers – https://news.yahoo.com/study-reveals-pain-points-u-142231268.html

WWD Business News, Survey Shows Consumers Are Feeling Stressed Leading into Peak Holiday Season – https://wwd.com/business-news/business-features/survey-consumers-stressed-leading-peak-holiday-season-1235270522/

National Retail Foundation, Retail Holiday & Seasonal Trends – https://nrf.com/topics/retail-holiday-and-seasonal-trends

National Retail Foundation, 3 Key Factors Led to Record-Setting Holiday Season – https://nrf.com/blog/3-key-factors-led-record-setting-holiday-season

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