The holidays can be a busy time for anyone, especially anyone delivering signature required packages. It’s a busy time for your customers, too, and often catching them at home can be a problem. But during the peak season for FedEx Ground, no one wants to have to go back to the same address three times in order to make a delivery (or not being successful at all). Customers don’t want to have to travel to a terminal or FedEx location to pick up their packages either.
So what can drivers and route owners do? Here are a few strategies for delivering signature required packages.
What is in a Signature Required Package?
There are a couple of common reasons a shipper might require a signature from the recipient, and those are important factors to consider. While what is in the package might not be obvious, it may be easier to determine than you think.
- Packages requiring the signature of someone over 21 often contain alcohol. Wine of the month clubs and liquor deliveries are common examples.
- Signature required packages may contain expensive items like electronics, jewelry, or collectibles. The shipper may want to ensure the package arrived at the right location and was accepted by the right person.
- Signature required packages may be due to high claim rates in an area or by an individual or company.
While the latter is uncommon, fraud is always possible. A signature protects you and the shipper from a claim that the package was never received, that it was received damaged, or some other type of claim.
While you cannot simply deliver a package that requires a signature normally, you can take some steps to make a smooth, timely delivery more likely.
Hit Residential Deliveries Early or Late in the Day
This may sound obvious but catching your residential customers at home is key to getting a delivering signature required packages. A simple solution is to hit residential deliveries early in your route or late in the afternoon and early in the evening. These are the times when it is most likely your customers may not have left for work yet or may be home for the day.
An alternative is to leave those deliveries for any days you may work over the weekend and attempt to deliver them then. During peak, many customers may be out shopping or engaged in other activities on the weekends as well, so this is not always a perfect answer, but if you hit those deliveries early in the day, finding customers at home might be more likely.
The key is to pay attention to cars in the driveway, lights on, and other indicators of customer behavior.
Leave a Door Knocker
This also may sound obvious but leaving a door knocker letting the customer know you attempted delivery is a good way to communicate. You can also leave a note asking the customer the best time to make a delivery. They may have a solution, time on their lunch hour, or an alternate delivery method you can use.
The key is to be sure the customer knows the package is coming, the times when you will be in their area, and what options they have for delivery. This saves you time and effort as well, two vital commodities during peak season and beyond.
Remember that you should not give your personal cell number to customers. Direct them to call FedEx or go online to provide specific delivery instructions if they have them. Giving out your personal number can result in some unexpected and sometimes unpleasant results.
Get to Know Your Customers
When you know your route and customers well, you may learn about alternate delivery methods available to you. For example:
- Many residential customers may work for businesses you already deliver to. You can deliver their signature required packages to their workplace if that is permitted, saving you both time and trouble. Just be sure to ask before you assume this is acceptable, but most employers are pretty understanding and flexible.
- Customers in remote neighborhoods or those subject to inclement weather often have drop-off locations that are central or closer to the rest of your route. Ask about these before the first incidents of inclement weather strike, and you can save yourself a lot of headaches later on.
- Get to know neighbors. Often you can deliver a package to a neighbor the customer knows. Remember to use caution in this area, and make sure you know and trust both parties.
It is important to look at the type of signature required as well. Some require the signature of the actual recipient accompanied by an I.D. check. Others simply require an adult signature. Depending on the type of signature required, your options may be more limited.
Signature delivery required packages can seem like a pain any time of year, but especially during peak season. However, they also offer opportunities to make customers happy as well. Handle them carefully, attempt delivery when customers are home, leave a knocker, and look for alternative delivery methods, and your route will run much more smoothly.
And if you are just considering purchasing a route, or you want to expand your route business, contact us here at Route Advisors. We know how to find you the best route at the best price, and we’ll be with you through every step of the process.