Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Right Royal Rant...

Before I start, I should say that I use Royal Mail a lot - and they rarely let me down.  Mostly, they surpass my expectations by getting first class mail to its destination, often hundreds of miles away, in less than 24 hours, which makes me (and my website customers) happy.

But when I pay extra for a "guaranteed" service, I expect a bit more.  Or, at least, for the parcel to turn up when it's supposed to!

So when I got an email from Craftseller magazine saying the hearts hadn't arrived, I was disappointed.  What made it worse was that the email was delayed because of technical problems at my end so I didn't receive it until around 6 pm.

heart bunting

Apparently, the recipient of a delayed or missing parcel can't do anything at all about it, even if they have the tracking number.  Is the system wrong here?  Surely at some point that parcel becomes the property of the recipient? When?  Only on actual delivery? 

By the time I rang Royal Mail, the call centre was closed. Of course.

This morning, it took 20 minutes of pressing various numbers and listening to various recorded voices telling me about options I never knew existed, before I found my way through the confusing audio-maze to discover a real human. Oh great joy!

No disrespect meant, but I seriously can't imagine many worse jobs than working in Royal Mail's complaints department call centre (I once worked on BT's complaint line so I have some idea!) - however, despite being unable to help, the person I eventually stumbled across was very polite and did apologise (several times).

So, for legal reasons, they can't send a parcel already in the post to an alternative address (I did think that was a long shot, but we missed the photo shoot so its arrival at the photo shoot address today is a bit pointless).  They can't do anything, really, apart from refund the postage charge. 

parcels awaiting posting

Right now, I have to remind myself that they deliver a lot of parcels for me that get there without problem.

Oh, but I really do think there's something seriously wrong when what should be a very simple customer services phone call is so complicated.  It's not a unique story, is it?

No wonder people comment on the excellent customer service a small business can give them.  One phone call or email and you're speaking to the business owner, who cares and who can make a difference to your experience - another reason to buy handmade?

Although we do generally rely quite heavily on Royal Mail to get the goods to you...

11 comments:

martine said...

Hi, in our defence, as you point out this is a huge business and Royal Mail's attention is taken away from dealing with real problems by people who call to complain about the postman walking across the grass and serial complainers who think that because they haven't had a letter in a few days that their mail must be being taken to the wrong address (I too have worked in a call centre, it really brings the crazies out of the woodwork). Also in our defence I once had a call at our office at Chrsitmas from a woman who had posted a parcel with half of one address and half another. Although it was nothing to do with me or our office I contacted the office where it was due to arrive, told them what would be written on it and what the correct address should be and asked them to look out for it, which they did and sent it on it's way. This was not strictly allowed but what the hell. Never ceases to amaze me the number of people, even people paying a fortune from special delivery, who fail to put a return address on their packet, so if it goes astray or they have made a mistake in the address they will never get it back.
Am glad that mostly you get good service and I know I always appreciate it when people answer the door and say 'how wonderful i only ordered this yesterday'.
best wishes
martine

Wendy said...

Hi Martine, thanks for the reply from the "other side of the fence"! I did edit out a sentence about mail even being brought back to me when undeliverable, which is actually excellent service, when you think about it. I think the most frustrating part is the call centre system (and this isn't specific to Royal Mail, as anyone who has ever picked up a phone knows). Oh, if only we could solve that one we'd really be onto a winner!

Rena Naylor said...

So sorry to hear about your ordeal...things happen for a reason and sometimes for the better! Trust you are all sorted now! Luvvies

Wendy said...

Thanks Rena - yup, the hearts arrived eventually and the magazine will sort out photos...

say it said...

Oh no, that's such a shame when you had worked so hard to get them done on time. I hope it works out ok and the magazine can still use them so your efforts aren't wasted.

Wendy said...

I think they'll still be able to use them, but it definitely caused them problems because it was last-minute to begin with!

Clever Blonde -Donna G said...

From the other side of the world, from one who has had the same problem...it's the same over here in Australia but I've never been offered a refund of postage charges. That extra seems much fairer. We wouldn't pay a store for a can of Baked Beans so why should we pay for not providing the service that we were bupilled for? Royal Mail seems a little bit better than Australia Post. The bunting looks super btw.

Wendy said...

Hi Donna, yes, I guess the problems are the same the world over. The refund does seem fair. Thanks, re the bunting - I'm just glad it finally arrived!

The Bathtime Team said...

We've had issues a couple of times with Royal Mail. We are going to use My Hermes for some things (recommended) and Scotts for part of Cambs and Norfolk and I know Scotts take extra special care and no fuel charge!)

The Bathtime Team said...

oh what happened about the goods for Craftseller in the end? Did you have make more?

Wendy said...

No, they did arrive but just late and after the photo shoot had happened. However, they managed to make it all work in the end! x