Failed appointments cost British business £53bn a year

British businesses that carry out home appointments and deliveries are losing more than £53bn every year due to customers not being at home. Research from Esendex found that retailers, utilities, telecoms and postal service companies bear the brunt with an estimated £238 per failed delivery or service attempt.

Almost a third of all delivery and service appointments fail, negatively impacting revenues by an average of 8.42 per cent according to the survey. The main factor contributing to this figure was found to be a lack of notification or communication of arrival times, as cited by 34 per cent of businesses.

The companies surveyed carry out deliveries from non-perishable goods and parcels, through to groceries and flowers. Other types of appointments include TV & telecoms installations, sales and service check-ups. These sectors have total revenues of £633bn; at an average loss of 8.42 per cent this means that over £53bn is lost by businesses every year through failed delivery or service appointments.

The £238 cost per individual failed appointment is attributed to an associated increase in admin and business process costs, a lack of capacity utilisation, and call centre overburden, among others.

For the retail sector specifically, with total revenues of over £300bn each year, retailers estimate the total impact of failed deliveries to be more than £25bn.

To alleviate this significant cost, 65 per cent of companies said that they are planning to use SMS within the next 12 months – and also considered among the respondents to be the preferred method of communication by customers. Interestingly, only 18 per cent of companies are looking to social media in 2013/14 to improve customer communications.

Julian Hucker, CEO and co-founder of Esendex explained: “We are seeing a shift in preference among companies who are moving towards text messaging in an effort to more easily reach customers at critical times during the transaction process. Most of us have had to wait in for a supermarket or furniture delivery at some point. We all have mobile phones, so texting is able to take that headache away and give businesses and customers a simple and reliable way to solve this issue. It’s not a new technology, but it’s the most widely available and therefore the most convenient for customers.”

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