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The problem

We have a client with an issue regarding send and receive of material through couriers. This courier's office acts as a virtual office for our client, and there are 50-60 of these virtual offices. The current flow is as follows: user visits the client's site and gets the price quote and info on where to drop the device (for example's sake, let's say a TV remote control), then take the device to one of these virtual offices and the courier sends it to the appropriate closest real office. Just in case, there are 11 of them across US.

Problem is competition started to do the same, including using the same courier, which leads to users going to the courier, asking to send to "Service X" and then the courier sends it... to the competition (because the competition locked the Service X name). For reference, let's say our client's name is John Doe's Remote Controls, while the competition's name is... Remote Controls. So the user's flow is as follows: they arrive to the courier and say "I have to send this to the Remote Control's factory". And well, the courier sends it to the competition, because that's the name of the competition. So our client is losing money, but they also get requests about devices that never arrived, and the users believe they sent the device to our client.

Possible Solutions

So we thought of a drop off coupon with our client's name and address, which is a very easy way to make it work. However, this would require PRINTING the coupon. Based on some tests, we know this is not a very good idea since many people doesn't even have a printer, or uses mobiles not connected to printers.

Our second idea was to use QR codes the users could get on their phones, but this would require interaction from the courier, and we just learned they can't do it.

A third option would be to use a barcode, but I think the answer from the courier will be the same

The question

So, we're basically stuck with the drop off coupon right now, but is there a better idea? The idea could be a technical implementation on our side, or just a different user flow, whatever works

  • Not sure I understand everything. What's the quote? What's the device? Why can't the client just use a different name? What is the drop off coupon replacing? – Andre Dickson Oct 4 '16 at 18:40
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    you always so helpful :) well, I have added some context and explained things to answer the questions in your comment – Devin Oct 4 '16 at 18:54
  • So is it that the courier never asks the user for an address because of the relationship they have with the client? – Andre Dickson Oct 4 '16 at 19:02
  • What's the "competence" level of these users, can IDs of some sort not be assigned to these business names so that they're all unique? I'm picturing like stock market business names, AAPL, GOOGL, etc. – DasBeasto Oct 4 '16 at 19:04
  • @AndreDickson, the courier is UPS, and they do this for several businesses in different branches, the particular problem is that the competition uses the service itself as company name. – Devin Oct 4 '16 at 19:16
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I think the problem you need to solve here is ensuring that the user reliably communicates all the required information at the courier's office.

You should give the users specific instructions for interacting with the courier and ensure they know that they must follow these instructions. They need to be educated about the pitfalls they might encounter if they fail to follow instructions.

Instead of producing a printout. Send users the client's information in an SMS or some other form that's easy for them to access on their mobile phones. It should be no problem for them to retrieve the information and pass it on to the courier.

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