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Failing to deliver: parcel delivery companies disappointed customers during lockdown

Posted on 2 September 2021

Parcel delivery companies failed to keep customers satisfied during lockdown, with a “remarkable” decline in their service rating, according to new research.

Parcel deliveryThe study looked at 13 measures of performance. Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash.

Dr Luisa Huatuco from the York Management School, University of York, and Mingyang Huang, from the University of Leeds, carried out an online survey of 121 people based in Leeds, London, Liverpool and Manchester who had sent parcels using the Royal Mail, Hermes, DPD and other companies before and during the first lockdown.   

Their results showed that customer satisfaction with 13 measures of performance, such as parcels being delivered within the promised time, had fallen.


The largest falls in satisfaction 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.

Dr Huatuco said; “Respondents’ satisfaction on five factors – time, cost, reliability, responsiveness and convenience of service, and overall service – faced considerable decreases during the pandemic, and overall customers’ satisfaction was found to have suffered a remarkable decline,”


“There is an obvious decline in parcel delivery performance because of the pandemic due to a significant increase in delivery service demand for parcels containing masks, sanitisers and other essentials.

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

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


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About this research

Conducted by researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds, this research measured customer satisfaction levels among 121 people who had sent parcels using delivery companies before and during the first lockdown in 2020. The researchers shared the results of their study at the British Academy of Management online annual conference. The Academy is the leading authority on the academic field of management in the UK, supporting and representing the community of over 2,000 scholars, from the UK and around the globe.