With the UK in the midst of a third national lockdown, the demand on transport and logistics firms continues to rise. With the British population confined to their homes for the foreseeable future, millions of people are once again opting for home delivery services.

Many people have now become accustomed to speaking with businesses online or over the phone. Consequently, it’s vital that delivery firms continue to invest in customer communication in order to further enhance client relationships, display transparency and reaffirm themselves as a leading brand in the industry.

Here, Will Hoare, communications specialist at TextAnywhere, explains how transport and logistics firms can maintain effective conversations with customers during this third national lockdown.

Advancement in technology comes hand-in-hand with higher expectations. People have become accustomed to receiving almost instantaneous support from a business relating to a product query, delivery update or general service question. This is undoubtedly a great move forwards as customers and brands reduce the barriers to communication, however this also brings with it additional challenges. This is especially true for delivery firms, with customers requiring in-depth information relating to their order such as tracking the location, exact delivery time and delivery driver details.

Transport and logistics firms have grown and changed with their customers during the pandemic and despite the various restrictions, have been able to step up their communications response – with more than a third of businesses featured in our latest research suggesting they were now providing more updates to customers compared to pre-pandemic conditions.

While online shopping and home delivery have risen significantly in the past few months, 57% of logistics firms still reported a decline in overall operations of at least a quarter. This has meant that businesses have had to adapt and change to ensure they continue to offer maximum transparency and the best possible service to ensure the customers they are servicing return again and again. Consequently, effective communication will be of paramount importance during this third lockdown.

When looking at the stats compared to pre Covid-19, 36.6% of businesses said they’re sending more messages to potential and existing partners and customers, while just over half are sending the same amount (51.2%). This is particularly encouraging, however it’s important that businesses maintain this level of momentum as we head towards the 12-month mark since restrictions were first put into place.

Diving a little deeper into the kinds of messages sent over the past few months,, the majority of messages were related to delivery information (45.5%). The full breakdown of how delivery firms are using business messaging during Covid-19 is as follows:

  • Delivery information – 45.45%
  • Customer service / process updates – 18.18%
  • Appointment management – 13.64%
  • Emergency information – 13.64%
  • Marketing / promotional activity – 9.09%

This need for effective communication is being felt across the supply chain as Kevin Buchanan, Group CEO at Pall-Ex Group, explains:

“Today’s customers need detailed updates on their deliveries and with long-term shopping habits anticipated to stay online following the coronavirus pandemic, this is increasingly important for logistics firms delivering directly to customers.”

Here are three ways for delivery firms to maintain effective communication during the current lockdown and as restrictions begin to lift in the coming months.

Proactive communication is now the norm

It is rare for a customer to complain about receiving delivery updates, the trouble will arise if you fail to adequately inform them of the delivery status of their parcel. Applying this mantra to all areas of customer communications will leave your clients with fewer questions or concerns. This type of proactive communication will also improve the level of confidence and trust felt by your customers.

Sending proactive messages to customers with updates can also reduce call centre volumes while enhancing the customer experience. Companies who have not yet experimented with proactive messaging will likely see an instant change in customer behaviour and satisfaction levels. The ultimate goal being the delivery of a parcel should be low touch, self-serve and with limited input from a business’ customer service team.

Personalise messages to achieve customer loyalty

While it can be difficult to draft a bespoke message to each and every customer, taking steps to personalise your messaging can do wonders for customer engagement and loyalty.

Using a CRM to effectively track first names, product details and any information surrounding previous orders can be a great way to demonstrate that you understand their needs and requirements. Statistics also suggest that 75% of marketers believe the customisation of messaging can lead to increased engagement, which for brand building, is invaluable.

Use communications to garner valuable feedback

A great way to use enhanced messaging is also to carry out research on how customers currently view your business. Even a simple SMS Survey can prove a powerful tool to collate customer feedback.

Not only will this feedback be valuable to your business to identify areas of improvement, it also showcases to customers that you are truly thinking about their needs. Use this feedback to personalise future updates between your business and the customer and establish this long term relationship.

For the full results of this research, visit https://www.textanywhere.com/content-hub/blog/technology/how-covid-19-has-impacted-business-messaging-for-7-industries-across-5-territories/

By Alison