Royal Mail beat quality of service targets

By Chris Dawson May 20, 2014 - 12:03 pm

Royal Mail beat their 93.0% First Class mail target with 93.2% of this mail delivered the next working day, for the financial year 2013-14. They also exceeded their Second Class mail target of 98.5 per cent, delivering 98.9% of this mail within three working days. Royal Mail also point out that they have one of the highest service specifications of any major European country.

At an individual postcode area level, 114 of 118 postcodes met or exceeded their targets over the year. In the fourth quarter of the year they delivered 93.4% of First Class and 99.0% of Second Class mail on time.

What this means for online sellers is that 6.8% of First Class isn’t delivered by the second day and 1.1% of Second Class Mail is also delivered late. That’s enough to affect your eBay DSRs and more importantly get people sending messages asking where their item is – think order defects!

What we don’t know is how much of the delayed mail is parcels and how much is letters. From personal experience I haven’t a clue how many of my letters are delayed and I don’t really care. What I do know is that invariably parcels turn up on time and online sellers should take encouragement from that.

The Royal Mail in general do a fantastic job of delivering mail, but what’s your experience, both from sending items and receiving them?

  • DBL
    4 years ago

    Royal Mail as a whole the best for my type of despatch on all three accounts but this bbc article from last November makes interesting reading on the Ofcom report.

    When Royal Mail delivery has such a bearing on the eBay sellers defect rate, Royal Mail targets need to be better or eBay need to allow longer than a next day delivery expectation.

    On some despatches when postage is paid for by paypal, the next screen warns the item may not arrive in the allocated time by eBay for first class. What chance do sellers have of getting the item to the buyer in the time expected?

    eBay expects a high standard from it’s sellers yet they are marked on a service that clearly is out of their control.

  • 4 years ago

    I recently received a small (LL size) package that took 10 days to arrive by 2nd class post from a seller around 5 miles away.
    Being a seller myself I did not open an INR or leave any fb that would result in that seller receiving a defect.

    eBay need to set realistic delivery estimates and extend the time a buyer must wait before opening INR or leaving adverse fb.

  • Marie
    4 years ago

    I’ve just discovered that Royal Mail send a proportion of airmail by surface mail. I don’t know what that proportion is, but it is happening. A recent post on the eBay postage topics forum by another eBayer reads “Apparently, when the parcel is scanned if RM cannot identify the contents they can refuse to ship by air” . I’ve recently had two experiences of innocent parcels being paid for airmail and sent surface mail by RM and getting INR messages from buyers. I doubt Royal Mail count the failure in delivery time when they send an airmail item by surface mail but it makes for unhappy customers.

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    delivery is quite good
    but return stinks, if an item is undelivered it disappears even though a return address is on every package wesend

    • admiralhardinge
      4 years ago

      Concur fully. The same experience.

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      it says something when you can rely on an undelivered items being returned from China yet I cant remember the last time a lost package was found or an undelivered item was returned from just about anywhere in the UK using Royal mail.
      a royalmail dimwit sent an item to Minsk Belarus rather than Luxembourg recently and the
      Belarus postal service redirected and tracked the item with great efficiency even though it was not their mistake ,

    • Kyle
      4 years ago

      Most stuff seems to come back to us, even if it takes 2 months.

      Roughly 80% of parcels are “not called for”,15% are refused by business addresses, and 5% other.

      99% of the packages are from Amazon and we simply don’t get many lost or returned items from our website. Some people (even our RM account manager) say that Amazon customers are just a bunch of scammers but I think it’s more that they’re stupid (wrong address, trying to deliver to work address without permission, not reading product description, etc).

      Funny thing is, some customers never ask for refunds for the packages that come back to us. How much crap must you buy online to not realise something hasn’t arrived?

  • radroach
    4 years ago

    Interesting news today that Royal Mail are to begin delivering parcels on Sundays (not everywhere at first)

    This could actually put more pressure on eBay sellers, from buyers expecting to buy on Saturday and receive on Sunday

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      Sunday delivery at a price maybe that buyers are not willing to pay?

      Ebay will do a survey that claims that buyers want Sunday deliveries. Don’t buyers ever get out these days or are they happy to wait in every day of the week for post to arrive?

  • stuart
    4 years ago

    As others have mentioned and Dan in the article the real issue here isn’t Royal Mal. If you send orders standard post, yes you take your chances that it will arrive, yes customers may say it hasn’t when it has and other variable.

    The real issue is ebay over estimating delivery times to customers, it effects all sellers from big to small and for some reason they don’t listen or care that this is a real issue.

    As a consumer I would rather be told it takes 3-5 days to arrive and it arrive within 2 days, that makes me think, ‘oh it’s arrived early isn’t that good service’ rather than told it’s arriving next day and it’s doesn’t.

    It’s always been a rule of customer service not to over promise, an under promise wins more customers rather than letting them down.

    Ebay please listen to your sellers on this point!

  • admiralhardinge
    4 years ago

    I should say I am a Royal Mail customer and am very pleased with their service. I have an OBA and it works very well.

    However, I would like to know how Royal Mail know how good they are. Now that business customers can no longer claim compensation for lost or delayed items unless sent by a premium service, and considering the huge volume of shipments from internet sales, I’d suggest large numbers of RoyalMail “defects” are swept under the carpet. After all, who is going to spend the time reporting a problem, particularly with a lengthy form to fill out, when there is no compensation forthcoming?

    • Cambridge_Blue
      4 years ago

      Completely agree.
      Quite apart from the delivery targets needing to be raised much higher by Ofcom the dirty little secret of fraud and ‘missing’ mail continues to grow.
      We were outraged when compensation for business mail/packets was stopped some time ago and we were told to use the more expensive tracked service which does include compensation!
      Simply a cynical attempt by RM to force business customers to use their overpriced tracked services.
      So if we are not logging missing mail how do they know the scale of the problem without our compensation claims to provide a clue?

  • J
    4 years ago

    I increased my handling time ages ago, to counteract ebays optimistic delivery times.

  • 4 years ago

    Based on the number of my customer complaints when using RM 1st & 2nd services, I would question these figures.

    Although there are other reasons why it may be ‘late’ (eg recipient friend, neighbour, family member, colleague received it instead and has not informed the buyer), I would like to know how these stats are developed. Is there a sample test or (as someone earlier suggested) based on complaints?

    Has eBay made a proposed change to prevent the buyer opening a case before the delivery due date? And yes, I agree with others here, the timelines are overly aggressive, or at least, the marking of missed targets is overly aggressive when dependent on RM. Would it not make sense for eBay to differentiate between a missed RM standard service target and a missed premium service / tracked courier service target?

  • Danny
    4 years ago

    Royal Mail do a great job, but eBay sets expectations beyond that.

  • Maz
    4 years ago

    We used Royal Mail 2nd class recorded for years and after getting fed up with their level of service, lack of tracking and price jump from £2.39 to £3.89 within a year, we decided to give Hermes a try who were offering £2.78 (up to 1kg pack) instead of £3.89. Few set up teething problems but we are now on track.

    I can honestly say this has been the best decision we have ever made. On average we used to receive 2 to 3 “where is my item” emails daily. Hermes email tracking to buyers and are delivering on time and so far we have only received 2 emails in 6 weeks. One got delivered the same day and other the next. One parcel arrived damaged and dedicated business support helpline sent claim form within minutes and all we had to do was fill in basic details and attach photo of a damaged product. No fuss and lengthy process like RM.

    Due to cheaper postage, we reduced the prices and our dispatch of packet post jumped from 100 parcels a week to 250+. Had a chat with Hermes account manager and now we are on £2.64 rate (including Vat, no fuel surcharge). Next target is 500+ and we will be on £2.02 plus vat (£2.48). A local friend also a seller has negotiated under £3 for upto 5kg (500+ a week).

    New RM international prices also affected our dispatch with them and now we are using dpd for Europe.

    I don’t know about other areas but word of mouth is getting around faster in Glasgow area and number of sellers we spoke to have now moved majority of their dispatch to Hermes. We are all using royal mail too but they are no longer a major carrier.

    Not surprised at increased Royal phone calls and visits here offering to help. They must have felt the pinch or noticed the change in volume.

    This is not personal but is a business decision. Anybody who can dispatch 100+ a week should give Hermes a try and see the difference in level of service. By switching over from royal mail to Hermes, 150 parcels a week means at least £600 saving a month and £7950 a year.

    Hope above information will help other fellow sellers. End of the day you have to choose what is right for your business and Royal Mail may suit many but it’s good to know that there is a strong competitor out there now. You can stick to royal mail but I think you are in a bargaining position now.

    • Cambridge_Blue
      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this useful information – much appreciated.
      We certainly will be looking to trial both Hermes & Collect+ this year before Q4 to reduce our costs versus using the RM tracked delivery service and check their service quality.
      As far as European deliveries are concerned DPD are providing an excellent service even based on the rack rates without discount.
      Despite the improved financial results RM are living on borrowed time and Lady Moya knows it!

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    quality of service is a joke when you can receive more tracking information from a russian third party website than you do from royalmails own

  • moo
    4 years ago

    Royal Mail is full of it…

    I had about 50 parcels sent out last xmas period recorded signed for….none of them received a signature,it was a miracle i had honest buyers who didn’t claim they hadn;t arrived…

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