‘Remarkable’ decline in customers’ satisfaction with parcel delivery companies during lockdown

The service offered by parcel delivery companies failed to keep customers satisfied during lockdown, with a “remarkable” decline in their service rating, research shows.

An online survey of people using the Royal Mail, Hermes, DPD and other companies showed that their satisfaction with 13 measures of performance, such as parcels being delivered within the promised time, had fallen.

Mingyang Huang, of the University of Leeds, and Dr Luisa Huatuco, of the University of York, carried out an online survey of 121 people based in Leeds, London, Liverpool and Manchester who had used companies to send parcels before and during the first lockdown.

Dr Huatuco told the British Academy of Management online annual conference that before lockdown those surveyed said on average they were ‘slightly satisfied’ with the parcel service overall, but by the time of the survey, in August 2020, this had fallen to ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’.

The largest falls in satisfaction – around 1 on a 1-7 scale – related to parcels being delivered within the promised time, the time taken for delivery, parcels being delivered in the agreed time slot, and the convenience of parcel collection.

There were smaller falls in other aspects of service including satisfaction in relation to parcels damaged or lost, getting through to customer service, and the cost effectiveness of service.

“Respondents’ satisfaction on five factors – time, cost, reliability, responsiveness and convenience of service, and overall service – face considerable decreases during the pandemic, and overall customers’ satisfaction are found to have a remarkable decline,” Dr Huatuco told the conference.

She said that one reason for the decline in parcel services was that companies were busy meeting an extra demand for masks and other pandemic-related items.

“There is an obvious decline of parcel delivery performance because of the pandemic because there is a significant increase in delivery service demand for parcels like masks, sanitizers and other essentials.

“Various parcel delivery companies are trying their best to handle the demand-side shock while considering the safety of employees and customers at the same time.

“Parcel delivery service providers should concern and focus on improving their delivery performance on delivery time and convenience during Covid-19 pandemic.

“As limited research has focused on parcel delivery companies in supply chain disruptions, this research fills the gap of investigating parcel delivery performance during Covid-19 pandemic.”