Australia, like every country on the planet, is experiencing domestic and international delays with its postal service due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Australia Post, it’s experiencing domestic delivery delays due to a high volume of parcels in its network, and due to a reduction in air freight capacity and restrictions on domestic flights and health & safety measures across its facilities. The disruptions are also impacting international mail. Last week, Australia Post issued notice of flight disruptions and cancellations impacting all inbound and outbound items to USA.
How to Handle Postal Disruptions
As the days pass in this pandemic, housebound online shoppers will start to lose their patience a bit more and more. Ecommerce sellers may feel that they are the mercy of the postal disruptions. In part this is true, but there are many steps that e-sellers can take to attract new customers and retain brand loyalty. Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the postal disruptions and not only keep your business afloat and experience a significantly smoother sailing through this crisis:
- Keep you customers updated daily and as events occur. There are various ways to keep customers informed—on your site, social media and on YouTube. By keeping your customer consistently informed of potential delays, you relieve customer service the endless calls to get updates.
- Use automation to keep your customers informed of the shipping progress. A quick email or text letting them know of any delays will relieve customer anxiety. Customers want to know where their items are and approximately when they will arrive. Be sure to offer this option on every order.
- Relay real-time messages to your entire staff about potential postal disruptions. It is important that all staff members share the same information about postal disruptions. This will help avoid confusion among staff who can inadvertently give incorrect or outdated information to customers.
- Do not pass the buck. It is important to speak to customers in a positive tone. Rather than blame the post office, focus on the steps being taken to keep customers informed of any potential disruptions.
- Offer special discounts. Be prepared to pay should the postal disruption be serious such as an extended delay (more than a week) or lost item. This is a small price to pay to retain a new customer or maintain loyalty.
Fulfillment challenges presented by the pandemic mean there will be delays with no end date in sight. But unexpected events can happen at any time when selling online. What will make the difference between failure and success is how you manage what you can handle. Customers will appreciate the extra efforts you take to stay on top of the situation. This is what they will remember the next time they need a product. With clear communication you can keep customers engaged and keep loyalty even after this pandemic is a faint memory.