Rant: pass the parcel

Due to unforeseen circumstances I have been handling customer service on top of my own full-time job for the last 18 months. (Seriously, who could possibly have predicted that opening an English-language e-commerce site would lead to a need for an English-speaking customer service???)

This means dealing with a lot of irate customers for a fair chunk of my day, every day.


The worst part of it* is that in most of the cases (aside from the odd client from hell), I completely agree with them! We deliver to customers worldwide, and most of the queries are about parcel delivery. Some people are just a little impatient, or don’t realise that the parcel is coming from overseas and therefore takes a little longer, and that’s ok. But in most cases, there is actually something wrong with the delivery or the parcel.


Dear parcel companies (Dear as in expensive, I don’t mean that I like you),

I get that you want to reduce costs, and that therefore you are giving twice or three times the amount of work to the same number of delivery people to be done in the same time. I get that that means that they no longer have time to handle the parcels like they actually matter. That they drop them at a random nearby drop point without leaving a slip for the customer, and that that place could be the post office, or a shop down the road, or under that tree down a muddy lane just past the third rock, the one that looks like Elvis. It’s so much more fun for the customer to guess anyway.

I get that in the rare cases they actually reach the customer’s home, they have to shoehorn the parcel into the post box rather than knock on the door, even when it’s 3 times the size, and that sometimes, to soften the parcel enough to do that, they need to drop it in a puddle and stamp on it a bit.

I don’t blame the delivery people, the guys on the front line. I really don’t. Hell, if I was being ridiculously overworked and underpaid, there would come a point when I’d get angry and stop caring too.

But here’s the thing, parcel companies, you’re damaging our business. When people get a parcel in this state, or don’t get it at all, they don’t blame you, they blame us. In their mind, they order from us, and our company is one person. Therefore, that one person takes the order, puts the stuff in a box, travels to their door and drops it there. That’s how we all think. I work in a mail-order company and even I get annoyed when I order something and it’s late or the parcel is damaged, and I know how it works, so imagine how Average Josephine feels!

So the thing is, they will end up going back to the shops and off the Interwebs. And that means less business for you. And for us.

Stop being dicks and hire enough people to do the job properly. You’ll get more customers and fewer complaints. It’s just basic business sense.

Even a complete moron would understand that.

Rant over.


*The worst part, apart from my total lack of training, having none of the basic tools required to actually do anything about their queries and the fact that something I hate doing is taking up about half the time I have to do a job I like and am qualified for. Apart from that, totally the worst part.


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