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Yodel boss blames retailers for raising customer delivery expectations

By Dan Wilson March 26, 2015 - 3:54 pm

Dick Stead, Yodel’s executive chairman has blamed retailers for building up customer expectations when it comes to product delivery.

In the interview with Retail Week Stead said that “mega-days” like Black Friday were a particular problem because “you can’t ask parcel carriers to build up the capacity that’s only going to be used three times a year.”

“Retailers haven’t quite grasped you can’t provide next day delivery at this rate. We’re working really hard with retailers at the moment to say ‘Come on guys, there’s a certain limit of capacity for next day delivery’. Reserve it for people who really need it the next day, and for everyone else for goodness sake you’ve had the bargain of a lifetime, but it might take 3-5 days to deliver.”

Retail marketing managers were singled out for particular criticism: “The difficulty is the people working in their supply chains understand it, but their marketers don’t.”

  • 2 years ago

    I have to say I completely agree with him. We should under promise and over deliver and that would leave margin for error.

    Most people are not really that bothered about next day delivery and would be happy with 2-3 day as long as they get notified which day it will be.

    • tinker
      2 years ago

      we think hes right too, next day delivery is not really sustainable unless your selling truck loads

  • 2 years ago

    Mr. Stead makes a very valid point. Demand for next day delivery is driven by the promises of the retailers.This not only hightens once expectations but puts the whole system under pressure.

    Retailers should be of mindful that the things they don’t have control over, they shouldn’t promise.

    For e.g. Accept courier companies retailers have no control over the driver and their behaviour. So why promise something that is not in your own hands.

    I am even worried about the Sunday Delivery and 1 hour delivery. Why would you want something delivered in 1 hour?

    • Andy
      2 years ago

      Why would I want something delivered in a one hour window? So I don’t have to wait in all day. You’re happy to wait in all day for Yodel who’ll probably not even turn up?

  • james
    2 years ago

    if i can provide next-day for the same price as 3-day, guess what i’m offering ?

    if the customer has a choice between the same product, at the same price, but one arrives tomorrow and the other arrives next week, guess what they’re choosing?

    if Yodel sell you a next-day service, and dont get it there next day, then thats Yodels fault, not mine.

    if Yodel sell me a three day service, and i tell the customer he’s getting it next-day, that would be my fault.

    i totally agree that delivery expectations should be managed, and that should start with yodel, not the seller. if the price of next-day rises around black friday, then people will stop sending next-day around then, and the problem will be solved.
    (actaully whats going to happen, is Yodels customers are going to go to DPD, who managed next-day without issue. rather than it being my customers who flock to my competition because Yodel cant fulfil their promises)

  • Andy
    2 years ago

    No-one here thinks next day delivery is important? I do. It’s why I and Millions of others Worldwide have Prime membership with Amazon.

    Yodel are trying to make excuses for their sh1t service and delivery failures. It’s why I’d never use Yodel and why I’m still amazed John Lewis and M&S use these clowns.

  • Dave
    2 years ago

    Well my courier (Interlink Express) seems to manage just fine with the 1-hour delivery slots and next day delivery.

    With regards to black Friday and Christmas, they planned ahead, put on extra staff and vans (collected twice a day) delivering to customers upto 7pm instead of 5pm, putting in the hours and hard work just the same as we did to keep up with demand.

    As mail order companies, the only person the customer has direct contact with is the courier. Its critical that they are up to scratch (if you don’t think this, you’re in the wrong game in my opinion). Yodel aren’t, never have been and probably never will be.

    A bad workman blames his tools and Yodel are definitely a right bunch of tools.

  • Ross
    2 years ago

    Is this the same Yodel that promised delivery for Mother’s Day flowers and never quite managed it?

    Or the same Yodel that has a panic because it gets busy for Christmas?

    Doesn’t Yodel pander to the expectations of the retailers by charging the lowest rate to the large retailers and paying their couriers peanuts per parcel?

    Yodel need to adjust their own business model rather than expect others to do so for their incompetence.

  • john
    2 years ago

    Think the article/spokesman is pointing out the network has a capacity.

    The courier network will also have various percentages for late parcel , lost and miss-routed.

    next day should be a premium service that the customers pay for. yes , its an added incentive if its free. but often not a necessity.

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    ROTFL – What an utter load of cock!

    “We can’t ask parcel carriers to build up the capacity that’s only going to be used three times a year.” Am I missing something? Isn’t that their job? Don’t all the other carriers manage to handle extra volume?

    I’m dissapointed that so many TameBay contributers are taking his side. Wake up guys! Its all bullshit and Yodel is a failing company. After reading his desperate comments I can see why.

    “Bargain of a lifetime”? and “Reserve next day for those who need it”? WTF? That is total BS and actually really annoys me. I’ll book what my customers require and I don’t need a patranising prick in a suit at head office making excuses. If Yodel can’t handle the workload there are plenty of others who can. 85% of our orders go by courier and problems are rare (about 1%). With Yodel the “issue” rate is around 50%.

    His comments are a patronising load of cock. Yodel will soon follow CityLink and good riddance.

    Affter reading the above I am amazed TB readers are making excuses for Yodel. My expectation for any courier is to deliver as stated. Yodel constantly fail, and yet some are defending their shitty service? My business requires an ontime and relieable service without excuses.

    Long live The revolution!! :)

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      YODEL UPDATE: On Thursday Yodel delivered a MASSIVLY HUGE box to us but refused to collect a much smaller one that was booked for that day. He claimed there was not enough room in his van (but surely after delivering a massive box there is room for a much smaller one?). Driver promised to come back later but didn’t. He eventually turned up on Saturday.

      Yodel should teach Tetris as part of driver training!

      Long live The Revolution!! :)

  • 2 years ago

    It’s clear to me that those people agreeing with Dick Stead (appropriate name) are those that have never used an efficient courier such as DPD/Interlink.
    They manage just fine to offer a next-day service without even breaking sweat, and keep improving the service year-on-year (e.g. with follow the van email links). The problem with Yodel is that they haven’t caught up with public expectations, not the other-way-around.

    • john
      2 years ago

      Businesses do not have an in infinitive capacity. Only in the eyes of a buyer are there no boundaries.

    • john
      2 years ago

      As for DPD

      A supplier sent me 240(I kid you not) individual parcels via DPD next day.

      230 arrived on time….10 arrived 1 day late. This IS acceptable. Capacity was pushed and they had to send 2 vans on the first day.

      That’s just one delivery on one normal day. I am not saying that things cannot be put in place for spikes or higher workloads. But the standard of service often slips and there is always a ceiling on capacity

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Of course efficient and reliable next day delivery is possible. But at a cost.
    the current ethos of next day even name your time, Will not improve the quality of the goods, or anyone’s margins

  • 2 years ago

    I have a 2 day handling time quoted on my listings on ebay and I always send by the Post Office. I am always getting comments on my Feedback about my quick delivery. The reason is very simple I rarely need the 2 days. Most items sent the same day. So my customers expect the delivery in so many days and it arrives in 2 and they are delighted.

    There again Books are rarely needed ‘Yesterday’ while some other products may very well might be.

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Every one selling the same stuff from the same place, racing each other to the bottom , first undercut, then free postage ,then next day delivery , then pick your time , what’s next? Leap of the cliff like lemmings?

  • Bunchy
    2 years ago

    I remember when delivery was quoted as approx 28 days.

    • John S
      2 years ago

      Funny you should say that, some of the products I sell are difficult to obtain because the suppliers restrict supply. Sometimes customers have to wait around 3 months before I can ship to them. I wouldn’t say they are happy, but accept thats the way it is and plan around it.

    • Dan
      2 years ago

      how does that work for you? feedback and comments etc.

      i have some items that i want to list, but cant have stock off. unique photo gift type items that would be made to order.

      but im scared i would ruin myself as i cant keep a couple thousands items (to begin) in stock, ready to send, as some may not sell etc.

  • 2 years ago

    Then firstly they dug the Canals and then the Railways were built.

  • 2 years ago

    They say “You get what you pay for”. Well, eBay and Amazon have educated customers to expect free delivery. If you pay nothing, you really shouldn’t expect very much.

    Having been in the courier business before I set up in e-commerce, I know full well that it’s all about planning staff levels, but then being honest with customers both about the capacity you can handle and a realistic cost.

    Yodel failed to plan for the volumes they got, and clearly didn’t co-ordinate with their biggest customer, Amazon. The two should have agreed a volume level at which Amazon would put messages up managing delivery expectations (after all, they’ve done that when recently cutting the delivery time available to Marketplace sellers to well under realistic Royal Mail and most Yodel timescales).

    I’m just waiting for Yodel to follow CityLink down the path of undercharging themselves into bankruptcy.

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