When a customer backs out of buying something online, there’s a high chance it’s partly due to sky-high shipping costs. Co-founders James Chin Moody, Sean Geoghegan and Craig Davis figured there had to be a better way that levelled the playing field for small-business owners. Since 2014, Sendle has been Australia’s first 100% carbon-neutral parcel delivery service. Its mission? Make it possible for shipping to be good for small businesses and good for the environment.
And it has the data to prove its impact: Since its founding, the company has offset more than 19.5 billion kilometres of carbon and facilitated $2.5 billion of small-business e-commerce.
As a challenger brand, Sendle chose Slack, a channel-based messaging platform so that its global team—distributed across four countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and the U.S.—could work together more effectively.
The team guarantees that whatever small-business owners and sole operators (its majority customer base) pay, it’ll be cheaper than parcel post. Plus, they’ll never have to line up at the post office again and, in partnership with eBay, they can aim for two-day delivery at no extra cost.
“Slack is used wall-to-wall at Sendle, which means everyone uses Slack channels,” says Nicole Olver, Sendle’s Chief People Officer. “We use Slack to collaborate within and across teams, develop new products, provide network and customer support, share company-wide communications, onboard new team members and collaborate with industry partners in a secure environment.”
Sendle also launched in the U.S. in 2019, taking its mission of simple, reliable and affordable shipping for small businesses global—and challenging industry giants like FedEx, UPS, and Amazon. “Slack has been pivotal as we grow from a very small team to a much larger and more complex one across the four countries,” says Eva Ross, Sendle’s Chief Marketing and Customer Officer.
Now that physical offices are less likely to be the heart of the employee experience, having a digital headquarters—a central place for work and social interactions—has become critical. “If we think about what we used to wake up to, for me that’s hundreds of emails. Whereas when you start working with Slack, everything’s triaged,” says Ross. “You’re already in your established groups, whether it be with my team, my executive team, the whole company.”
“Whether you’re a new hire or whether you have been at Sendle for five years, Slack is our town hall, it’s the space in which we have every interaction as a company and a business.”
Solving issues across four countries with searchable Slack channels
Accessing the right information in Slack is key to working faster and smarter—especially across time zones. Teams at Sendle treat Slack as a searchable living archive of relevant messages, files, channels and people across the company. “If an employee leaves, you’re still able to look back over the information or data they might’ve shared and use that,” says Ross. “That’s very different to the world we used to be in.”
As a shipping logistics company, Sendle’s product engineering teams also need to make sure they can ship quality code faster, improve service reliability and stay productive and engaged along the way. “Slack provides open, transparent communication, which is so important when you’re a remote company spread across four countries doing highly technical work,” says Sean Geoghegan, Sendle’s Chief Technology Officer.
Product engineers at Sendle have two main Slack channels to deal with operational issues:
#notifications, to spot and resolve incidents as they happen
#chat, to discuss, troubleshoot and dig into issues flagged by the team
With Slack integrations, developers can also make sure all the tools and workflows they need are in one place, lifting the mental load of context switching between apps. “We use the GitHub integration to feed through any information about code review or any changes they’re having to the system,” says Geoghegan.
Slack acts as an information hub that allows people to filter through relevant information and take action straight away. “You’ll set up a video call, and you’ll do that straight from Slack. Or you might open some tasks on Trello, and you can even just create a task within a Slack channel. It just opens it in Trello automatically,” says Geoghegan.
“Slack provides open, transparent communication, which is so important when you’re a remote company spread across four countries doing highly technical work.”
Turning customer insights into business impact with Slack’s Zendesk integration
Slack makes it easier for Sendle’s customer happiness champions (the company’s dedicated support agents) to escalate customer queries quickly and efficiently.
With the help of support-as-service partner Influx, Sendle resolves more than 27,000 queries per month and maintains a one-hour response time.
“Our customer support team has dedicated channels for flagging customer enquiries so that the information and approach to dealing with each customer is visible to everyone,” says Ross.
Finding answers faster with centralised knowledge has been especially important since Sendle has seen parcel volumes skyrocket by more than 100% in Australia in 2020, with parcel growth in regional areas such as Mullumbimby (New South Wales) and Nambour (Queensland).
“Because Slack integrates with other platforms, the Customer Success team can access all customer enquiries in the one place,” says Ross. “This includes Zendesk ‘escalation’ tickets, which help us handle urgent customer queries.” Slack’s Zendesk integration helps agents connect directly with key customers and partners (such as Shopify and eBay), enabling not only a faster resolution time but also a higher customer satisfaction rating.
Partnering with e-commerce leaders Shopify and Stripe securely and efficiently via Slack Connect
With Slack Connect, anyone can securely speed up how they work together across organisational boundaries. As part of its hub-and-spoke operating model, Sendle relies on a national delivery network that automatically matches customers with the best door-to-door delivery service based on quality measures in its system.
Sendle also relies on a solid network of nearly 30 industry partners (such as Shopify and Stripe) to get work done: from integrations, e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, brand partners and service providers that help ship millions of packages a year.
In 2020, Sendle partnered with Shopify to make shipping easier for Australian merchants—including contactless delivery and free parcel pickups across Australia—with the help of Slack Connect.
“The Sendle and Shopify partnership was of such high stakes that we needed to be sure we had a secure platform on which to communicate, and Slack was able to provide that for us,” says Olver. “The way we use Slack Connect allowed our product team to speak to Shopify and our engineers to connect and troubleshoot together on any issues that they had.”
The results? Less energy spent on waiting for time zones to sync up and less reliance on emails and presentations to share information. All replaced by asynchronous efficiency within channels.
In late 2020, Sendle also collaborated with its partners Shopify and Stripe on a one-hour webinar called “Optimising for Online: How to adapt to the changing retail landscape and own the customer experience.”
Hosted by Australian author Bernard Salt, the panel spanned C-suite and senior leadership representatives from Sendle, Shopify, Stripe and the National Retail Association.
Representatives from all three companies (including their agency partners) collaborated in a Slack channel called
#sss-webinar-sept2020 in the lead-up to the event’s launch.
From speaker coordination to content development and project management, speedier workflows and stronger relationships were built directly in Slack Connect.
As Sendle grows in its ambitions to simplify shipping logistics globally, Slack aims to simplify the team’s working life as the company continues to expand. “Slack’s been absolutely vital in the way that we operate at Sendle,” says Olver. “With add-ons and additional integrations and new channels and new members, I can only see us growing well into the future.”