More than a third of transport and logistics businesses have increased their customer communications in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to new research from SMS communications provider TextAnywhere, while online shopping and home delivery has risen significantly in the past few months, 57% of logistics firms still reported a decline in overall operations of at least a quarter.

TextAnywhere asked transport and logistics firms about how they had used customer communications to maximise service during the pandemic.

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%). One in ten businesses said they’re sending fewer messages right now (12.2%).

The majority of messages sent by logistics businesses related to delivery information (45.5%), the survey found. Delivery information accounted for 45.45% of messages, customer service and process updates stood at 18.18%, whilst appointment management and emergency information both accounted for 13.64%. Marketing and promotional activity was 9.09%.

Demi Edmunds, communications specialist at TextAnywhere, said: “The challenges for logistics firms throughout the pandemic have been unique - while it’s been well documented there has been a significant rise in home deliveries - this is not the full story in terms of how the pandemic has impacted this sector.

“For many industries, such as non-essential retail, activity within the supply chain has significantly reduced and in some cases has paused altogether, meaning firms have needed to provide the best possible service to maximise productivity in other areas.

“Maintaining a great level of customer communication has never been so pressing, and companies have already had to adapt how and what they message customers. The rise in SMS messaging, in particular, may be in part due to businesses trying to ‘cut through the noise’ and content saturation, preferring a method that has significantly higher open rates when compared to other channels such as email.”

Kevin Buchanan, group chief executive at Pall-Ex Group, said the network has enhanced the way it communicates with clients during the pandemic as B2C deliveries soared.

He said: “Improvements in Pall-Ex’s B2C service and our enhanced communication with customers via our MyNexus tracking system have enabled us to adapt to customer needs during the boom in e-commerce that started mid-March.

“We have seen a year-on-year increase of 11% in our freight handled during Q1 and Q2 of 2020, Black Friday saw a 29% increase on the previous year mainly due to our ability to provide a B2C service with first-class customer communication and real-time visibility.

“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.”

The data forms part of a wider survey which asked 656 international businesses to state how Covid-19 has impacted their business messaging. When looking at all industries, 38% of companies said they’re sending more business communications and just 13% confirmed they were sending less, when compared to pre-pandemic levels.