For instance, in its email the day before the scheduled strike, NotontheHighStreet.com included a “Postal Strike Update”. The note was a bit ambiguous: “While any postal strike will inevitably affect some of the delivery times stated on our product pages, many of our deliveries are by courier and will be unaffected. In addition, we will do everything we can to get your order to you as quickly as we can.” While I like the idea of the beautifully groomed NotontheHighStreet founders pedalling a bike in high heels to personally deliver a gift to a customer, that’s probably not what they had in mind by “we will do everything we can”.
The postal note appeared about three-quarters of the way down the NotontheHighStreet email; I didn’t see it until I’d hit the Page Down button 13 times. I also had to scroll down, though just a bit, on the email from Baker Ross to read that “Your order will NOT be affected by a Royal Mail strike”.
Great Little Trading Co, on the other hand, put its notice right at the top of its email. So did Great Universal, which kept its message short and sweet: “Rely on us—we won’t be affected by the Royal Mail strikes.” Others that featured reassurances regarding delivery on the initial screen of their emails were The Book People, The Healthy House, and Vertbaudet.
Another eight retailers made no mention of the Royal Mail strikes or delivery options in the marketing emails they sent out on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the scheduled strike. Maybe that’s because they are Royal Mail customers and have no contingency plans.
Then again, Petmeds uses Royal Mail, yet it emailed customers an update about delivery. “Due to ongoing Royal Mail Postal strikes we ask if you could allow extra time for orders to be delivered. We are currently working on using an alternative postal provider and will update you when this is in place,” the message began. It proceeded to remind readers of its expedited service options and added, “We really value your custom and appreciate your patience at this time”. Come on, everyone: Aww…
Petmeds knows that consumers would rather be kept informed, even if the information isn’t ideal. It also knows how to position that less-than-ideal news, in this instance by couching it as a “we’re all in this together” situation. After all, very often it’s not what you say but how you say it--and that you say it--that counts.--SC