7 Qualities to Look for in a Reliable Courier Delivery Service

Anirudh Pulikonda

7 Qualities to Look for in a Reliable Courier Delivery Service

As the global parcel shipping volume surpasses 161 billion parcels, the need for reliable and efficient courier services is rapidly increasing.

Recent research projects the demand for global courier services to reach USD 658.3 billion by 2031. But with an ever-expanding market saturated with options, choosing the right courier service can feel like navigating a maze.

Conflicting information, unclear service level agreements, and limited insights into service capabilities are some of the business-specific challenges.

Other challenges include – technical compatibility, integration challenges, data security concerns, complexities in managing multiple partners, limited reporting and visibility, etc. 

To help businesses overcome these challenges and choose the best courier service providers for their unique use cases, here is a list of the top seven qualities to look for in a reliable courier service.

7 Qualities to Choose the Best Courier Service Provider

#1 – IT Capabilities

Powered by the internet and smart technology, the digital customer is obsessed with tracking and overall visibility over order movements.

Stats reveal that as many as 91% of customers track their packages actively. Further, 70% of American consumers prefer self-service tracking over contacting customer service for delays. 

Therefore, the best courier service providers offer diverse and robust technical infrastructure. Real-time tracking capabilities, digital information management, and automated alerts or email notifications for key milestones – are some of the must-have IT capabilities. 

#2 – Vast 3PL Network

According to McKinsey, the volume of cross-border deliveries will continue to rise, and in 2020 alone, out of 9.3 billion cross-border parcels, 60% were intercontinental.

As mCommerce and eCommerce penetrate the Tier-2 and Tier-3 masses, the demand for courier delivery is definitely going to surge. 

To cater to these rising demands for cross-border and region-wise time-critical couriers, businesses are looking for courier service providers with a vast 3PL network.

A large network not only promises timely and reliable deliveries but also ensures better reach across multiple geographies and the ability to cover them without having to partner with multiple service providers.

#3 – Delivery Types 

Customer expectations in relation to courier services are touching the skies and are only going to increase in the future, given the rate of adoption and technological advancements.

Hence, the delivery windows are getting smaller, giving rise to different types of deliveries – planned, on-demand, next-day, same-day delivery, etc. Courier companies with a good reputation offer fast delivery times as well as flexible scheduling.

The 2-3 day delivery is becoming a norm and a recent survey reveals that 56% of online shoppers expect to have same-day deliveries, and 61% are willing to pay more for the same.

Hence, choose courier services that offer multiple delivery types, such as white-glove deliveries, same-day deliveries, document deliveries, etc.

#4 – Delivery Flexibility

Customers across the globe are increasingly seeking flexible deliveries that align with their preferences and availability.

However, having a courier partner that offers only fixed or planned delivery services might fail to help businesses deliver across such requirements. Hence, another important factor to keep in mind while choosing a courier delivery service is flexibility. 

Most courier services that use advanced courier management software and other tools can create highly efficient delivery schedules based on delivery locations, requirements, and more such custom parameters. Courier service providers using such advanced platforms enable businesses to deliver great customer service.

#5 – Digitized Documentation

Documentation is crucial in the outsourced courier services ecosystem. Invoices, consignment labels, carrier labels, and bills of lading – there are multiple types of documents that businesses deal with on a daily basis. Managing them manually not only disrupts the speed of operations but also affects the overall information flow. 

Manual settlements and management of finances, settling claims, and remitting penalties – all such activities become error-prone and vulnerable to fraud when not managed properly in a transparent manner.

Look for a courier service provider that offers digitized documentation services to ensure uninterrupted consignment flows, immediate access to urgent documents, and freedom from financial audits at multiple ends. 

#6 – Pricing Models 

Seasonal rush, market demands, types of goods and services, etc., are some of the factors based on which courier services pricing is determined.

Some businesses with high consignment volumes might prefer courier delivery services that come with volume commitment pricing, while others with critical/hazardous goods might prefer providers with more competitive pricing as per the services. 

Businesses should consider their shipping and transportation requirements and then opt for a courier delivery service that offers flexible pricing, or pay-as-you-go or standard pricing models, accordingly.

Always keep in mind the demand surges and seasonal lows to ensure profitable operations and ask for detailed pricing structure to avoid hidden fees.

#7 – Proof of Delivery and Non-Delivery Management

Proof of Delivery (PoD) and NDR (Non-Delivery Report) are two critical aspects of high-quality services for courier delivery.

The ability to add proofs of delivery or non-delivery, such as images of the parcel, images of parcel contents, videos, etc., with timestamps enables customers and delivery drivers to attach proofs for any delivery-related event. 

Likewise, the NDR management empowers customers and delivery drivers to record and report reasons for non-delivery of the courier in a reliable and transparent manner. Businesses can analyze and leverage the PoD and NDR to improve the overall quality of operations and assess the courier service provider. 

**Bonus Tip**

Reporting and Analytics

Getting data-driven insights for field operations, like delivery times, delayed and timely deliveries, failed attempts, lost or damaged packages, etc., helps businesses work on the operational loopholes and improve the courier delivery processes. It also helps reduce overhead business costs.

Hence, prioritize a courier service that offers reports with actionable insights for constant improvement that facilitates great customer service.


When it comes to choosing best courier companies, every business needs to consider its business requirements and compare the service offerings of the available options against them.

Taking a demo of their management systems, checking the utility and ease-of-use of the software interface and the level and types of service offerings are some of the crucial considerations. 

With the list of the top seven qualities to look for in a reliable courier service partner, businesses can make a well-informed decision and unlock profitable, reliable, and transparent courier services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a courier company?

When choosing a courier, consider service quality criteria, such as speed, reliability, cost, size/weight limits, special care options, and customer service.

What is most important in the courier industry?

Reliability and speed reign supreme in the courier industry. Customers want their packages delivered safely, on time, and every time. They seek timely order movement updates and real-time tracking for better visibility.

How can I improve my courier service?

Here are some things you can do to improve your courier service – Optimize routes, track performance, invest in advanced courier management software, train drivers, and prioritize customer feedback.


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