How to use "process" to destroy goodwill and lose revenue (2)

The second story in this 3-part series illustrates how being in financial hot water can not and does not always compel organisational change.

I try to support small British businesses as much as I can. In late June, I ordered some things, including perishables, from a small business in SW England. It was due to reach by July the 1st.

On July the 1st, I arrived home to find a Parcelforce card dated “31/06” (31st June! – see picture) that said they had tried to deliver the package. There was a cross-mark across “the package has been returned to our depot”.

Did they really attempt to deliver this parcel on "31st June"? (c) Me
Did they really attempt to deliver this parcel on “31st June”? (c) Me

The recorded message on the helpline number at the back of the card says that if they had attempted to deliver the package on a weekday, there was no need to book a re-delivery as the package goes out the next day automatically for a second time. So on July the 2nd, I waited for the package. It did not arrive. At 630pm, I telephoned them and this time spoke with a human being. This is how the conversation went.

Instead of telling you about the processes they deem silly, are your employees telling your customers how to bypass those processes?

Me: I was expecting this package to be delivered today but it has not arrived. What can I do next?

Parcelforce CSA: Madam, did you make a re-delivery arrangement?

Me: Well, I phoned but your recorded message says there was no need to do that and it would go out automatically.

Parcelforce CSA: That is just a recorded message. That is just process. Don’t pay attention to it. You should have tried to talk to a human bein’.

Me: Just a recorded message? See you talk to customers, your managers don’t. Have you tried telling them how frustrating this is for your customers? What would you do if you heard that recorded message when you telephoned?

Parcelforce CSA: As I said it is just a recorded message. Personally I would ignore what the message says and talk to a human bein’.

The CSA was beating a recorded message in repeating information. I resisted telling him that I had patiently listened to their IVRS 4 times, without pressing any buttons, to bypass it and get to a human bein’. I have suffered the Parcelforce IVRS before and learnt that getting to a human bein’ is nigh on impossible.

Me: So now I am talking to you. What should I do? My package number is 202.

Parcelforce CSA: It should begin with a set of letters.

Me: Well, it does not and for good measure, also shows the date as 31/06!

Parcelforce CSA: Ok what’s the post code? (Checks) The parcel went out today but it is 645pm so I don’t think it will come today.

Me: Oh, thanks for telling me. The package has perishables. I fear they may smell by tomorrow.

Parcelforce CSA: Well, I can put it on pre-noon but if it smells, return it to the sender. You don’t have to take it.

Seriously? He was now telling me that the small business in SW England, their customer, would pay for Parcelforce’s interpretation of its articulated  process. Is it not enough that the small business is already suffering because their delivery partners stymie its efforts?

Royal Mail, the parent company of Parcelforce, is in such dire straits that one hopes they may want to do something extra to keep existing custom and goodwill. This experience gave me no hope in that direction.

The package arrived the following day after 3pm. So much for the CSA putting it down for “pre-noon” delivery. The mangoes in it were wilting but not smelling.

Related reading:

It’s when you deliver that counts

Is your business missing a trick?

How to use “process” to destroy goodwill and lose revenue (1)