It doesn't happen often but when it does it can be a doozy. Has the US Postal Service ever misplaced your package? That really awesome goodie you ordered that you can't wait to get in the mail? Maybe you even had a deadline but you definitely ordered well enough in advance so you knew you shouldn't have any problems. That one. Right? Then the tracking showed the item was sent but it's clear that something has gone wrong. Maybe the tracking shows that your package is in Alaska but the item was sent from California and you live in New Jersey. Or things looked fine for a few days but then nothing happens. What happens next can make or break whether you get your purchase on time (though there are no guarantees).
As an online seller, I want the entire buying process to be as smooth as possible for my customers. I take pride in doing what I can to provide solid customer service. I work with a lot of brides. Having planned my own wedding, I remember well not needing one more problem to fix (hello caterer who changed things around at the last minute and said I was going to have to change my perfect table set up. No, no, no).
Here's what I do as an online seller
1. If a customer informs me there's a problem with their tracking, I check into it.
2. I try to check tracking on packages I've mailed about once a week.
3. If I see something that looks wrong, my first step is to send a message to my customer to see if they had received their package yet (it's rare but sometimes a few steps are missed by the postal service). If I hear that they haven't received their purchase, I call the post office. Sometimes I ask that the post office start a case. Once the postal service has started a case, I find that they generally contact me within a day or two. While it's not an immediate process and can take several more days for the package to be delivered to my customer if not lost, so far it's resulted in all but one of my packages getting rerouted to the customer.
In the end, it's so worth it when I get such kind feedback from a customer like this when I know it must have been pretty annoying on the customer's end:
Tell me if you've ever had a problem with a package you ordered and what happened.