Sociable Couriers win customer attention and loyalty

Nov 27, 2013 • FeaturesCourier softwareCouriersDavid UptonSocial MediaParts Pricing and Logistics

Many of the UK’s courier businesses are small to medium sized operations, frequently employing fewer than 10 staff. For smaller firms like this operating in a highly competitive space, service reliability and customer satisfaction is everything and couriers understand the importance of having the right technology to achieve a competitive edge. Scheduling and proof of delivery systems are essential elements for any courier company but in addition, social media offers an opportunity to both improve competitive advantage and build a compelling brand offering.

As well as helping to create a distinctive brand, social media activity has a direct impact on the effectiveness of a search engine optimisation (SEO) programme, since, properly done, it signals to Google and other search engines that you are communicating relevant content on a regular basis with your community. This will inevitably improve search rankings and mean your website is more likely to be found by prospective customers looking for courier services.

One of the issues with social media is that although entry costs are low and anyone can set up a Twitter or Facebook account, the process of communicating itself can be time and resource intensive. Given how important it is for SEO and inbound lead generation - how can courier companies and especially the small to medium sized providers - incorporate social media into their business offering?

Don’t delegate to the most junior person

The first point to understand is that regardless of how small a company is, they should be dedicating some time and thought to social media.  The second point is that social media is important and should not be relegated to an activity controlled by someone very junior at an organisation, even if they are an expert on Facebook or Twitter. Would you let a trainee loose with your most important customers? Probably not, so why let them be in charge of your company’s social communications? Whilst it is unlikely they will create a social crisis, their industry knowledge is probably lacking and this won’t help you to build credibility amongst customers and industry peers. Instead ask them to share their knowledge of techniques and combine this with your deeper knowledge to create more compelling content.

Plan the content calendar to balance quality with quantity

Next, decide what to say and what content to share. Planning needs to be done on a weekly basis and involves creating a spreadsheet detailing what messages are important and on what platforms they will be shared. Working this way means you won’t overlook key messages and also means you can be more time efficient because it becomes possible to schedule announcements. When compiling a content calendar for the week, be mindful of the quality vs. quantity balance. It is more worthwhile to make two or three valuable updates a day than be ‘twittering on’ about something inconsequential.

Demonstrate your industry expertise with blogs

For an effective social media strategy, relevant content is everything and having regular, well written blog posts to share is essential. As a courier firm using social media, your primary goal should be demonstrating expertise and the fact that you are more knowledgeable about your industry than competitors. This strategy will enable you to differentiate your offering more easily and win a regular following.

One of the top ways to demonstrate expertise is by posting relevant blogs. For a courier, this could be on topics such as e-commerce shopping trends, delivery efficiency levels or industry statistics - all of which would feature relevant search terms or keywords. Having keyword optimised blog posts means that they will be found easily online and become an important source of traffic to your website.

Introduce social customer service

Social media offers a chance to engage directly with customers expecting deliveries and parcels. Many couriers rely on text messages and emails, directing customers to a website for real-time updates. Social media is also a real-time and very visible medium so why not communicate via Twitter or Facebook to confirm delivery times and gain feedback on your service? Certain customers will prefer this to more traditional channels, so by adapting your approach to suit their needs, you will help to build stronger brand loyalty.

Be analytical to determine what works well

Finally, measure everything you do with social media to understand what works and what is less effective. Be prepared to see a wide range of results from different activities and be open minded enough to accept when a strategy is less effective and change the approach.

A cursory scan of the social media activities of different courier companies shows that whilst some are actively using Twitter and Facebook for instance, a larger number have yet to take the plunge. There is also a wide difference between the tactics used by those using social media already and some couriers are using it very effectively to communicate with customers whilst others are taking a less interactive approach and using it for one way communication primarily.

Top tips for creating interesting blogs

Ten ideas for potential blogs relevant to courier companies, which provide keyword rich content.[unordered_list style="bullet"]

  • Any interesting / unusual parcels delivered on time and in perfect condition?
  • Celebrate important new contracts won with customers
  • Discuss the latest technology and how it is of commercial benefit
  • Discuss how technology helps job scheduling and miles on the road
  • Highlight any use of bio-fuels or green vehicles
  • Contrast regional trends in customer behaviour, e.g. popular delivery times, delivery to home or business addresses
  • Comment on industry developments – mergers, funding, new launches
  • Fundraising and work in the community undertaken
  • Highlight important media coverage and include links to the articles
  • New personnel who have joined the company and further expansion plans