COVID-19 and Small Parcel Shipping: Three Areas Every Shipper Should Focus on Right Now
As a company that ships small parcels, it’s likely what you do is about to become more important than ever. COVID-19 has, for the time being, changed how people are shopping. It will undoubtedly lead to a spike in all types of direct-to-consumer deliveries as many people avoid public places, like stores.
This means now is a particular opportunity to do right by your customers and employees. It’s also a time for diligence in how you run your business and small parcel shipping operation. It is extra important to not let your guard down and let the relative chaos of the moment lead to bad decision making in your company, especially within your shipping operation.
For most companies, the best thing to do in uncertain times is to take care of the basics. To help you keep things on track, here are three ideas on where to focus your attention and get through what will no doubt be a challenging and crucial period for your business.
Take Care of Your Customers
Now is the time to provide extra attention and care for your customers. They need your products, and small parcel delivery may be the only way they can get them for a while. Your delivery performance and customer service will be more noticed than ever — so this is a great opportunity to earn some real fans and even some customers-for-life.
This is easier said than done, however, especially given all the challenges your carriers and operations are also dealing with.
Pay Attention to Your Carriers
Things, understandably, are extra chaotic for the carriers right now too. So, some understanding on your part and from customers will be needed when it comes to service issues. That said, this is no time to stop doing what is in the clear best interest of your company.
For one, your shipping volume will likely fluctuate greatly in the first and second quarters of this year. Pay close attention to make sure you are hitting your expected volume thresholds and that your discounts will be as expected. If you are trending below where you expect your discount to be, talk to your carriers and ask for a waiver or other accommodations.
It’s also important to watch for service failures and discrepancies. UPS and FedEx still need to perform at the levels spelled out in your agreements, as far as it is within their capacity in the context of changing regulations on movement (especially across borders), so continue auditing your small parcel invoices as diligently as ever. Question and watch everything.
Do Right by Your Employees
First and foremost are your employees. As employers, we need to take care of our employees and recognize what they may be dealing with outside of work. And while they are at work, to help them be safe.
The more you can simplify job responsibilities and allow your staff flexibility (for example, to take care of children who are at home because schools are closed) and at the same time ensure business continuity by leveraging technology and options such as cross-training, the better. The goal for your company in a time of crisis is to prevent business disruptions and continue to serve your customers. And the people who will take care of those two things are your employees.
Patience and understanding are the watchwords of the day.