Whistl Magazine Winter 2020


Winter 2020



may I help?’ The changing role of the Contact Centre



Wells Said

Online shopping

Amost unexpected and unpredictable year...

With the unprecedented pandemic and successive lockdowns, it’s been a challenging and unpredictable year for the retail sector. Habits and patterns have been constantly disrupted and trends have been difficult to identify and pin down. One thing’s for sure though: online shopping has continued its upward trajectory. ‘the new norm’

64 % say online shopping is the new norm

We’re approching the end of one of themost unexpected and unpredictable years ever. The climate for industry and commerce remains challenging, but let’s hope the corner is about to be turned.

During thefirst lockdown...

36 % increased their online purchases

49 % of over-65’s

As we look forward to 2021, I must once again thank Whistl’s recognised key workers for their commitment to providing essential services to our customers up and down the UK throughout 2020. I’mproud of all that they have achieved in this extraordinary year. 2021 of course brings a new set of circumstances in the form of Brexit. Inevitably there will be some disruption to the UK logistics sector, but the familiar motto says it all: be prepared . See page 10 for guidance on how you can do that. Here at Whistl we continue tomake plans for, and invest in, our future. The boom in online retail has created demand for our Fulfilment Services, and we have added 450,000 sq ft of warehousing with a new site in Northampton and expansion at Rushden. Just completing as I write this – you heard it here first – is our

acquisition of highly-regarded Clientbase Fulfilment. We’re delighted to welcome this Devon-based operation into the Whistl family. Very shortly, too, we will be strengthening our presence in Bristol, with a new, bigger depot for parcel andmail handling. On the subject of mail, I’m thrilled that after a rigorous tendering process, NatWest Group appointedWhistl to handle their mail – see below. Finally, i’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and, more importantly, a prosperous New Year. Thank you for choosing to work withWhistl, and we look forward to helping you throughout 2021 and beyond.

increased their online shopping frequency

Approaching Christmas...

36 % said theywould be spendingmore online this Christmas than last

44 % of all fashion sales this Christmaswil be online

29 % of all giftswill be purchased online

NickWells , Chief Executive, Whistl


“The retail landscape in the UK is changing, driven by a longer- term trend to shop online accelerated this year by the pandemic”, commented Melanie Darvall, Director of Marketing & Communications forWhistl. “It is particularly interesting that the over-65’s are increasingly embracing online shopping, and I am sure retailers who target this demographic have taken note. AtWhistl, we offer retailers scalable and flexible fulfilment solutions – we are experienced at working with existing multi- channel retailers, and also those looking tomigrate to an online model”.

Whistl is delighted to have been chosen by NatWest to handle mail across the Group, including RBS, Ulster Bank and Coutts. It’s a substantial win, with an expected 185 million items of NatWest mail to be collected and processed each year. That will be a mix of pre-sorted and unsorted mail, ranging from monthly statements to customer promotions. NatWest was particularly impressed by the proactive

approach to account management demonstrated by Whistl, focused on innovation and optimisation of processes. ‘Whistl went live with us in early November, and the implementation and transition was seamless’, commented Allan Salvona, Service Delivery Manager, Document Services at NatWest.’ We are looking forward to reaping the benefits of the efficiencies our newpostal partnershipwill bring.’

2 Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020


Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020

It’s been a year like no other, but in this Covid-disrupted world, two of our core activities – Doordrops and Mail – have reaffirmed both their importance and effectiveness.

A record 96% of all mail was engagedwith during lockdown. The biggest rise in engagementwas amongst 18-34 year olds. The average mail itemwas interactedwith 4.5 times. Digital marketers take note – therewas a 70% year-on-year increase in online traffic driven bymail. 72% of people thought mail was the rightway for the government to communicate.

Doordrops deliver during lockdown…

Mail is enhancing its effectiveness as patterns ofworking and living have shifted during 2020. Remote working – mainly from home – is part of the new normal, and physical mail is an important part of that landscape. Recent research reveals the extent to which mail is anticipated, revisited, shared, trusted, retained and acted upon – now, more than ever. “Print had near universal reach during lockdown, which no other medium can match especially for the older demographic who are less digitally connected. It is really encouraging to see that the greatest rises in engagement came from the 18 to 34 age group which should give marketers something to think about when looking at the best ways to engage with them.” commented Melanie Davall, Whistl Director of Marketing & Communications. …whilst Mail matters more than ever

The ‘stay home’ message has had a significant impact on the latest statistics for doordrops (see panel). This data from JICMAIL – the gold standard industry audience measurement body – is reinforced by our own findings. Indeed, some of our doordrop clients experienced some of their best ever results during lockdown including: • A furniture retailer increased online sales by 11% by using doordrops, whilst their stores remained closed. • A charity received £37K in donations from phone calls alone in the first week of their doordrop campaign. • A food company exceeded forecast response by 40% in the first weeks of their doordrop campaign. ‘2020 has been an extraordinary time in so many ways, not least in terms of media consumption’, commented Mark Davies, MD of Whistl Doordrop Media. ‘With a nation at home, the latest JICMAIL data informs us that all mail channels benefited in terms of reach, frequency and longevity in the home. This backs up the compelling results we are seeing from client campaigns that are live now, indicating that there’s no better time to be planning a doordrop campaign’.

Doordrops during lockdown



80% of people remembered a government mailing.

Buying response rates up 50% from 2% to 3%


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Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020

Contact Centre CASE STUDY


Handling inbound emails in multiple languages

Ringing the changes In an online world, great customer service calls for a great Contact Centre. Outsourcing is often the best answer... Today’s shopper is more likely to interact with a delivery driver or Contact Centre agent than a shop assistant. Likewise, today’s Contact Centre teams aren’t just taking calls. They’re live chatting online, answering customer e-mails andmonitoring social media. Outsourcing this activity to specialists likeWhistl means you get a bespoke customer service solution, with substantial benefits: Reporting – driving efficiencies withmetrics including contact drivers, handling times, abandonment rates and checking ratios etc... Scalability – we can scale your teamup or down, tomanage peak periods, provide weekend cover or simply to cope with rapid growth Reliability – a Contact Centre team you can count on to understand your brand, know your product/service and respect your customers Our 500-strong teamof dedicated Contact Centre agents is entirely UK based, delivering best-in-class service for our clients and their customers. Outsourcing really is a great option.

Popsa is an established platformthat allows customers to create personalised products via its iOS andAndroid apps. The companywas created in 2016 and in four years has built an international presence in 50 countries around the globe. Whistl with Popsa The Soho based company has appointed Whistl Contact Centres to support its London team from its Gateshead facility. Whistl will handle inbound email in both English and 10 additional languages. What they say... “Winning Popsa in a competitive race shows that Whistl has the experience and flexibility to support clients wherever their customers are based. We have amazing people here at Whistl who understand our clients’ needs and integrate seamlessly with their teams. ” NickWells, CEOWhistl “We have already noticed a positive effect working with Whistl and are looking forward to building a strong relationship with them” Declan Mellett, Executive Chairman, Popsa

Congratulations to our Gateshead Contact Centre Whistl featured prominently in the recent North East Contact CentreAwardswithfinalists in two categories: Charlotte Lawson was a finalist for Customer Multi-Channel Star, whilst the team was also recognised as a finalist for Outsourcing Provider of the Year – having demonstrated commercial value in client relationships whilst maintaining a strong commitment to staff development. Well done to everyone at Gateshead.

Call our Contact Centre specialists for more information on 01628 703 782

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Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020

What’s stopping more shopping? Why international shoppers abandon the cart – or don’t even start. • High delivery costs • Complexity of the returns procedure

Secrets of selling to overseas online shoppers INSIGHTS INTOSETTINGUP SHOP FOR INTERNATIONAL SALES 24% 23.5% Why? Cross-border B2C ecommerce is growing exponentially. IS THE EXPECTED COMPOUND ANNUAL GROWTH RATE EVERY YEAR UNTIL 2027.

• Poor quality of goods • Delivery time too long • No access to customer services


We can help you overcome these barriers


An initial dip in March/April 2020was followed by a massive rebound as the pandemic drove digital adoption inmany countries, amongst all age groups.

What’s stopping you? It’snot ahuge step.You just needthe right partnerexperienced inecommerceexporting whocanaddress thosehygieneobstacles. AtWhistl, we can help you: • Minimise overseas delivery costs • Take care of customs/border clearance • Implement a robust, seamless returns policy • Offer a multi-channel Contact Centre for customer services

Where &what? A snapshot ofwho’s buyingwhat fromwhere.

Top purchases fromUKwebsites

Entertainment (books, music, games)

Biggest UK export markets

Let’s get it online! Cross-border commerce isn’t just gathering pace, it’s going gangbusters. No time towaste – contact us atWhistl to find out howwe can help you accelerate your growth in this market.



Beauty and Personal care

Art, Collectibles, Hobby related



Talk to yourAccount Manager or visit www.whistl.co.uk/international

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Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020

Fifth ecommerce fulfilment site nowopen The boom in ecommerce has led to Whistl Fulfilment adding 450,000sq ft of newwarehouse space in the last quarter of 2020. Demand for end-to-end fulfilment services has grown rapidly and we have now significantly expanded our Rushden fulfilment centre and opened a fifth site at Moulton Park, Northampton – the distribution ‘Golden Triangle’, close to the M1, M6 and M40. “Medium-sized online retailers need an agile and scalable partner who can manage fulfilment fromplacing an order to returns,” said Natalie Sehnal, Business Development Director for Whistl Fulfilment/Contact Centres. “Our purpose-built new site, together with extra capacity at Rushden, means we can tailor and customise our services tomeet the immediate and future needs of online retailers.”

After a stringent audit process, Whistl has achieved the internationally-recognised ISO27001 Standard for Information Security. Certification is recognition not only of our robust Information Security Management System (ISMS), but of the commitment and professionalism of our ISMS team. As well as this new achievement, we have also been re-certified for ISO9001 (Quality), 45001 (Occupational Health & Safety) and 14001 (Environmental). All this comes on top of our recent award of the FSQS (Financial Services Qualification System) Registered Mark – an accreditation increasingly demanded by banks, building societies and insurance companies as part of their procurement processes. Top marks, all round! STEPPING UPTOTHE INFORMATION SECURITYMARK

DISABILITYON OURAGENDA Whistl is one of the latest signatories toTheValuable 500, the global movement putting disability on the business leadership agenda. The aimof themovement, launched in 2019, is to get 500 private sector corporations to be the tipping-point for change, and to unlock the business, social and economic value of people living with disabilities. Whistl inThames Valley top ten Whistl has climbed into the top ten of the annual Thames Valley 250 listing compiled by Business Magazine. We were placed seventh in the 2020 ranking, up from 11th the previous year. The listing ranks private companies located in the region by turnover. As the largest independent deliverymanagement company in the UKwith a turnover of over £600m, we eclipsed household names including Hovis, Unipart andDirectWines. Top of the list wasWest Coast, theTheale based distributor of global ITBrandswith a turnover approaching £3 billion.

Brexit –beprepared! Brexit is no longermonths or evenweeks away – it’s happeningwithin days. We knowthat many of our customers have already adopted the newprocedures that will bemandatory from 1 January 2021. If you are yet to do so, go straight to our ‘ Post Brexit Checklist to ship viaWhistl ’ – a quick reference point to help prevent your consignments being held at customs, rejected or returned. Fuller details are included in our ‘ Are you ready for Brexit?’ guide. Of course, your Account Manager is on hand to help, too. They are all fully up-to-speed on the changes Brexit is bringing and the steps you need to ensure smooth business continuity.


Clientbase Fulfilment acquired byWhistl. Just aswewent to press, it was announced thatWhistl had acquired Devon- based Clientbase Fulfilment. With a 250-strong team, twowarehouse sites and a 140-seat Contact Centre, Clientbase brings significant resources to our rapidly-expanding presence in the fulfilment sector. Full details of this exciting development follow in the next issue.

As one of The Valuable 500, Whistl has committed to: • Ensuring both visible and invisible disability is on the agenda at board level • Developing its Diversity & Inclusion strategy andmaking D&I training mandatory for all people managers • Reducing the stigma around discussing mental health, through various initiatives focused on awareness and support “By joining The Valuable 500, we aim to continue to build an even more inclusive, supportive and diversive business,” commented Lynn Dillon, HR Director ofWhistl.

OUR HGVHEROES GLASGOW Fraser Hickman JohnThomson BEDFORD Vincent Ambridge David Bareford Piotr Lipinski KarimMeridji JohnWelbourne BrynWilliams

In June, the Road HaulageAssociation (RHA) launched its HGVHeroes campaign to recognise transport industry workers, and the nation’s reliance on themto deliver not just in times of hardship, but every day of the year. “The UK’s Road freight industry isn’t just about trucks, it’s about people”, commented RHA chief executive Richard Burdett. “It’s about those who’ve quite

literally gone the extra mile to keep the nation fed and protected during an incredibly difficult and challenging time. HGV heroes will ensure that they are not just remembered as getting us all through some very dark times – we should be celebrating them every single day.” Eight Whistl employees were nominated for going the extra mile, each receiving an HGV hero ‘thankyou’ certificate.

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Whistl Magazine • Winter 2020

We’re here to provide solutions to support you and your business. Whatever you are looking to deliver and wherever you need it to go, we have a service for you. Any other business?

• Tracked • Part tracked • Standard • International Our range of UK and international parcel shipping solutions can help you meet your customers’ expectations.

Global reach for mail and parcels through a network of leading partners worldwide.

• Sorted & unsorted mail • Tracked & untracked parcels

Choose from our range of mail delivery solutions developed to save you time and money. • Sorted • Unsorted • International • Partially addressed • Admail

Providing tailored solutions for inbound and outbound Contact Centre services for brands and retailers.

• Order handling/processing • Live chat/social media monitoring • Customer complaint resolution • Ecommerce customer services

Give your customers a high-quality, seamless experience from first click to final delivery.

Increase customer engagement, acquisition or retention with our intelligent approach including targeted leaflets, catalogues, samples and partially addressed.

• Pick and pack • Systems and technology • Despatch and distribution • Returns management • Inventory management

• Leafletdrop • Partially addressed • Customer insights • Print solutions • Leaflet advertising • Product sampling

Existing customers contact your account manager New customers call 01628 702 413 email whistl.magazine@whistl.co.uk visit www.whistl.co.uk TO FIND OUT MORE

We hope you enjoy reading Whistl Magazine. If you have any news or views that you’d like us to feature in future editions, just get in touch! email whistl.magazine@whistl.co.uk write Rina Maisuria, Whistl UK Ltd, Meridian House, Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1TB

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