Royal Mail is just pathetic. Do I even need to say that? Does anyone question that? Yesterday we learned that the Royal Mail plans to lift its limit of three items per week of unaddressed mail being delivered to homes. Great. Here's a radical thought. How about just concentrating on delivering the ADDRESSED mail you're legally obliged to deliver for me. That would be good. In fact, I reckon that's the very minimum you should do.
Rubbing salt in the wound, I read today that in a vain attempt to fulfil their obligation, the Royal Mail's final collection times are getting earlier - as early as 9am.
Here is my biggest complaint, though, and it's indicative of the poor level of customer service we receive in Britain today:
Special Delivery "guarantees next day delivery before 1pm - or your money back". You pay £4.10 for this service.
Isn't this what First Class postage is meant to be? However, with 14.4 million letters "going missing" each year - 60% of which are posted in the wrong letterbox, just throw that vital pitch document in the rubbish bin and cut out the middle man.
So, as a businessman, to have delivery "guaranteed", I have to pay, not 32p, but £4.10. Isn't that the definition
But wait. The "guaranteed delivery time" has just changed again. It used to "12 noon" (this picture by the way came from Royal Mail's own web site - then it moved to 1230, and now it's 1pm. In a demonstration of Doublethink ask someone at the Post Office about this and they'll tell you that it was always 1pm...
But, 1pm is the afternoon! It's not a "next day" service at all. The next day would be sometime in the morning, not half a working day later. As a deadline-driven business, this service is utterly useless to us.
"Ah, then you can use our 'Special Delivery 9.00am' service - from "just" £8.95".
£8.95?! I could hire someone to personally deliver it for that!
Incidentally if you do use this service, the embarrassed Post Office worker will then make you sign their terms and conditions, which basically breaks it to you that delivery isn't "guaranteed" at all.
How did this situation come about?
Well, Royal Mail have a performance delivery target of 98%, then compensation kicks in. Clearly, with a 12 noon delivery time, they weren't hitting it.
If DHL, FedEx or UPS couldn't hit their targets, they'd invest millions in a new hub, instigate a new training regime or introduce some brand-new technologies to improve their service and meet that target.
But the Royal Mail - and I bet someone got a bonus for this - figured that by just guaranteeing delivery later they could meet their 98% target for free.
Fabulous! Everyone's happy!
Except the customer - but who cares, the Royal Mail is a monopoly and there is no competing service we can use.
The Royal Mail last year saw its profits rise 17% to £355m.