Yet again, the Royal Mail chose exactly the hour from 11:30 to 12:30 on Saturday when I was out having a coffee to try to deliver a parcel.
Gone are the days when the card they put through you door indicated that just 4 hours must elapse before you can drive to the sorting office to collect your parcel. Now, in their infinite wisdom, you must wait 48 hours.
Except this was a Saturday, so I would have to wait 72 hours to collect on Tuesday.
Let’s put this in perspective. The parcel contains 3 copies of a book I have just written. The book was ordered on Wednesday, and eventually printed on demand on Friday, and then shipped to me at the lowest shipping cost. The whole process lasted the same length of time that I must wait for Royal Mail to simply redeliver the parcel.
Except that I cannot face waiting in all day on Tuesday, so I arranged to collect at the nearby post office. And I have to pay £1.50 for the privilege of this redirection, some 800 yards from my house.
The slippage from 4 to 48 hours is a 12 fold degradation in service redelivery efficiency. This is enormous, and we are expected to just accept it. When Amazon books are delivered to my house by an a commercial company, they automatically try to deliver again the next day.
It is as if the Royal Mail have given up and do not care. If they took a more proactive approach, as this other company has, then things could be very different. Failure to deliver parcels must be a large destructive factor in their business, so it is to their advantage to reduce the chance of re-deliveries. Like keeping an eye out for neighbours who might take parcels in. I am always willing to help out. But this is somewhat ad-hoc.
Why not look at a different approach – allow Royal Mail customers who have gone onto the Internet to redirect a parcel the means to furnish a list of neighbour houses that can take in parcels? The delivery man can take a mobile device that can swiftly look up alternative delivery addresses for a house with an absent owner and too small a letterbox.
Now this is not ultra high tech. It is common sense. But such an idea will never be implemented unless the fundamental attitude is one that embraces change and improvement.