How to Communicate Shipping Delays to Customers in 2023

Last Updated: February 2024

Imagine this: An angry customer calls to inquire about their order. It was supposed to reach them in 5 days, but it’s been a week, and they still haven’t received the order.

You tell them that the order is late and will reach them in 3 to 4 days. But, the customer is still not satisfied. They leave bad reviews on your website and might not buy from you again.

Up-front communication about order delays will prevent the loss of a customer because it keeps them updated. It eases their anxiety, as they know the status of their order and they won’t have to worry when they have access to the tracking link.

In this article, we’ll share the most effective ways to communicate shipping delays to customers and talk about how to tell a customer their order is late.


Communicating Delays To Customers Examples

While you can improve fulfillment practices, you can’t completely avoid shipping delays. Customers expect speedy deliveries, and when an order is delayed, it leads to a poor customer experience.

According to a survey by Oracle, approximately 80% of customers say they will not buy from favorite brands again if their order gets delayed.

But, with transparency and proactive communication, you can prevent customers from leaving you. Let’s look at examples of communicating delays to customers.

Examples for Order Delay Emails

  • Indigo

What works here

  • The subject line is clear and concise.
  • Introduction shares the reason for the order delay.
  • The body paragraph expresses an apology.
  • Away

What works here

  • The brand makes the customer feel valuable by thanking them for their purchase
  • The introduction clearly states the reason for the delay.
  • The email shares when the customers can expect to receive the order and information about updated tracking information.
  • They apologize for the order delay.

Example for Shipping Delay Messages

According to SMS Comparison, SMS has an open rate of 98%. Hence, it is recommended that you complement emails with SMS when informing customers about order delays.

Below is a shipping delay message example. The message briefly shares the reason for the delay and the tracking link.

Although SMS doesn’t work well with longer content, it is excellent for providing quick updates to customers. The above message is a perfect example because it includes the most relevant details.

How to Respond to Customers for Late Delivery

Communicating delays to customers is vital for creating good customer experiences. How you communicate order delays with customers can make or break your future interactions with them. Let’s look at some best practices.

1. Set Clear Expectations From the Get-Go

Transparency is critical in preventing future miscommunications. So, if you’ve been experiencing shipping issues, it’s essential to convey the same to your customers early on.

Don’t leave this information for product and checkout pages; communicate it early in the customer journey. For example, share that you’ve been experiencing order delays on the home and category pages, along with the reason for delays and by when the problem is expected to resolve.

2. Proactively Communicate Order Details

Almost all customers want to know the status of their order in real-time; keeping them informed whenever necessary/possible will greatly affect their overall experience. Proactively communicate from the start with transactional emails regarding order confirmation, shipping information, and tracking information. This will show the customer that you care deeply about them, leading to repeat business.

If there is a delay, tell the customer immediately. Explain the cause for the delay, apologize, share an updated delivery timeframe, and thank them for their patience.

3. Follow-up With Customers

Since customers don’t have control over shipping, they live in uncertainty in the case of delays, aggravating them. Solving this uncertainty problem with proper follow-up messages leads to a good customer experience, making them want to return.

When a customer places an order, follow up with tracking and shipping information so that they can check the status of their order. Offer proper communication channels so they can contact you in case of any queries.

Follow up after the order is delivered to know if they’re satisfied with the purchase and their experience. Ideally, follow-up after 2 to 3 days of them receiving the order so that they are not bombarded with messages.

Read this article to know 13 pro tips to enhance the post-purchase customer experience in 2022.

4. When Necessary Compensate the Customer

It is optional, but compensation will communicate that you care about the customer. You can give a discount or coupon code on future purchases, which will also incentivize them to return to your website for another purchase.

This is a wonderful tactic used by several industries to pacify angry customers and/or quickly build rapport with them.

Summing Up

Shipping issues are part and parcel of all e-commerce businesses and can prove to be troublesome at times. However, with proactive communication and transparency, you can maintain a good customer relationship.

Communicating order delays to customers removes their anxiety and update them about the status of their order. As discussed in the above examples, be upfront about the delay, state the reason, apologize and thank them.

But, as your business grows, it will become difficult to implement adequate customer support by yourself. And the last thing you want is a lack of communication during order delays.

You can outsource customer support to Helplama to take care of this problem. Our team is equipped with US-based customer service experts with proper training. If you’re still unsatisfied with the work, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

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