💭 Our approach to claims

Over and over again when we talk to our customers, we hear horror stories about their experiences with legacy couriers in the past. One of the areas we hear the most about is the claims processes when deliveries go wrong.

We started Packfleet to enable and empower independent businesses and so we set out to change the way claims are approached in this industry. This blog post outlines how we’ve approached doing this — if you just want to see what our policy is, head to https://packfleet.com/help/claims-insurance!

Minimising issues in the first place

Things do go wrong and there’s no point pretending they don’t. No courier can ensure there are never any mistakes and moving physical things around cities means there’s always potential for issues to arise. However, there is a lot we can do to minimise these mistakes and ensure our failure rates remain the lowest in the industry.

The two main issues that result in claims at a traditional courier are lost parcels and damaged parcels.

Lost parcels

We have never lost a parcel in our system, thanks to our combination of technology and training. Our technology means we know where every parcel is at any time and the team gets automatically alerted if a parcel is not where it’s meant to be or gets stuck in the delivery process for longer than it should. We can then track that parcel down and make sure it’s sorted out before anyone notices an issue. The other big cause of “lost” parcels at traditional couriers is actually through theft. While it’s hard to totally protect against this, our thorough approach to hiring our drivers, employing them on proper, full-employment contracts and treating everyone fairly and equally means that we’ve fortunately never had to deal with this. The final way parcels can get lost is when they get taken from a safe place after delivery. Enabling our customers to choose their own safe place and give personalised instructions to our drivers helps to reduce this far below the industry standard.

Damaged parcels

Damaged parcels can happen to everyone — even with the utmost care, mistakes can happen and someone can drop a delicate package. Again, we use technology and training to minimise this as much as possible. Our technology works to ensure people know exactly where parcels should go at any time, so our team can focus on looking after the parcel. And we don’t have any parts of the process where parcels are sent off large conveyor belt drops, which causes a huge number of issues for fragiles. When parcels are loaded into vans, we make sure they’re loaded safely and properly, in the right order so that there’s no need to risk damage to them.

Overall, this has led to our damage rate for parcels being one of, if not the lowest in the industry. In August, we had x% of parcels damaged, in comparison to an average rate of y% for a major traditional courier with three capital letters in its name.

The claims process

If the worst happens and a parcel gets damaged, we’ll immediately notify our merchant of the issue. We provide photos and information on exactly what happened, so they can make a decision on next steps. Sometimes one bottle of wine in a case can get damaged, but the rest are fine to deliver. Other times, everything needs to be returned to the sender immediately.

We then work to get another package out to the recipient as quickly as possible. We’ll come and collect a replacement as soon as it’s ready and put it on rush delivery to arrive ASAP for the recipient. Of course, we totally waive the delivery fees for both the original delivery and the replacement. And then we automatically refund the cost of the damaged item from our merchant’s next invoice, up to £1,000, so they don’t need to think about it again.

Finally, we examine our internal processes for every single issue to see what we can do to avoid this happening again in future. Sometimes this is a technical change, sometimes a process change, sometimes more training — but the key is that we look at and learn from our mistakes to reduce the chance of them happening again.

The alternatives

All of this is a far cry from the process traditional couriers will make you go through; firstly by not notifying you of any issues so that a merchant will only find out when the parcel doesn’t arrive or turns up damaged to their customer. Then there are numerous PDF forms to print out, fill in and upload, before an investigation process taking weeks (or sometimes months) — all with no guarantee of a refund at the end of it, especially if you’re shipping fragiles or perishables in the first place!

Our approach is designed to first minimise issues and then ensure issues are resolved as quickly as possible at no cost to our merchants or their customers. We’re continually working to improve this and would love to hear from you on what your ideal experience would look like!