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Interview with Yodel’s Executive Chairman Dick Stead

By Chris Dawson July 26, 2017 - 11:59 am

Dick Stead has been in the courier business for many years before he joined Yodel where he now serves as Executive Chairman. Since he took the helm at Yodel there is no doubt that many changes have taken place and we constantly hear good things from the retailers who use Yodel as their courier.

I caught up with Dick to ask him what matters most to consumers and what retailers need to be thinking about when putting together their delivery options in 2017. This is what he had to say:

What services are customers demanding and are they willing to pay for it?

IMRG’s delivery index has demonstrated a continued shift towards next day services. This is partly the result of consumer demand and expectation, but also the fact that retailers are using free next day delivery as a promotional tool.

While free delivery continues to be a deciding factor when making a purchase, with 82% of respondents to our own survey citing it as important (just behind tracking and free returns), we need to increase consumer understanding of why some deliveries may take longer, in order to increase cost effectiveness, and why some premium options may cost extra.

Will same day delivery take off or will it remain a niche offering?

Although the marketplace is growing for same day delivery, and consumers are very familiar with the concept for fast food, there is still a limited demand when it comes to mainstream retail.

Where it is required, 84% of consumers told us that they would be willing to pay a premium for same day delivery, with around a third saying that we pay up to £4 extra for the service. Interestingly this rises to 46% of respondents aged 18-24, and this is also the group for who late order cut off times are also important, so perhaps we can deduce from this research that convenience and instant gratification is fundamental to Generation Z, and that’s where the future lies.

For now, the key question is, can same day delivery be offered at a price that consumers are willing to pay? And the answer to that is it depends on the item. As a retailer, same day delivery may not be cost effective for a box of socks, but you might be able to offer it for distress or high-ticket purchases such as a printer or a gift.

If you can get your goods, your driver and your customer within reasonable proximity of one another, then you’ve got a really strong platform for same day delivery. Retailers are succeeding when they restrict same day delivery to locations such as city centres where they have a store and a customer base– so the process can be both timely and economical.

Do couriers need to start collaborating?

CollectPlus is a great example of collaboration. It was founded by Yodel in partnership with PayPoint, and it has given our clients’ customers far greater access and options, allowing them to collect or return their orders from over 6,000 counters nationwide.

The next step in its evolution is encouraging greater collaboration within the delivery industry itself, as we open up CollectPlus to other parcel companies via PayPoint. It’s an exciting time.

How long can retailers sustain ‘free delivery’?

Internet retailing boomed because marketers created free delivery to encourage customers to shop online and our research has consistently shown that the vast majority of consumers still consider it important.

However, the result has seen many carriers squeezed on price in order to keep delivery costs low enough to be absorbed by the retailer. Unfortunately, it’s not a sustainable model and we need to educate consumers on the range of services available and why there may be a charge for some of them.

What has changed since Christmas 2014 and what should all retailers be thinking about ahead of Q4 2017?

2014 saw carriers flooded with unprecedented volumes of parcels due to the Black Friday promotions. Since then, carriers and retailers are working more closely across c-suite level, to ensure that the delivery promises made to customers can be kept.

Retailers recognise that it costs a lot of money to scale up to meet the artificial demand created through events such as the Cyber Weekend, and last year we saw that by elongating their promotions many were able to spread that demand across a longer, more manageable, period.

Retailers offered services that could be delivered, and ultimately consumers were happy, which we saw reflected in our own customer satisfaction survey results, with both our customer and client net promoter scores increasingly significantly, compared to the same period in 2014.

  • Matt H
    4 years ago

    Why didn’t they ask him, “Why does Yodel suck and leave people’s packages in stupid places?”?

    • Chris
      4 years ago

      They nearly always leave my parcels in the next street. Although, if I know the seller is going to use Yodel for my delivery, I ask them to put a note on the parcel asking the driver to deliver it to the correct address, not a whole street away. This has worked so far, so goodness knows what sort of numbskull driver needs a reminder like that!
      I would, however, never ever ever use them to deliver for my business – what a crappy impression that would give my customers!

  • Rob
    4 years ago

    Yodel customer service is terrible, had a consignment delivered to Brighton rather than my address in Birmingham, called their helpline twice only to be given wrong info and palmed off onto their live chat, I was cut off twice before I had finished explaining my query by the operators only to have to connect again and explain my issues in full once more. I don’t usually leave reviews but felt the need to leave a review on trust pilot after a wasted afternoon getting nowhere, within 5 minutes I received an automated response apologising and asking if anything could be done, despite responding saying I just needed help in locating my parcel nobody bothered responding to this.
    Its OK talking about the future but some basic customer service principles need to be addressed first, i’d never use Yodel for my own deliveries and would be very wary of sellers who offer them as a delivery method when buying online.

  • Jane
    4 years ago

    Obviously Dick Stead knows what he is talking about as a Executive Chairman of a company that is delivering over 155 million parcels per year.
    Yodel drivers and service in our area are great.
    Appreciate if as a company you are only sending a few thousand parcels per month, you would plummet for one of the others. Saving money on parcel services and using a cheaper alternative has always got its pros and cons.

  • Alan Paterson
    4 years ago

    I tried to get a quote from Yodel a few months ago. We are sending over 1000 parcels per week and we are currently splitting that between Hermes and Royal Mail.

    I thought i would give Yodel the opportunity to give us a quote. Despite hours on the phone and being passed from department to department all i could get out of them was the cost for a single packet. No discounts – no deals and no acknowledgement that we were sending “volumes” out. They didnt seem to even understand the question I was asking. Not impressed.

    • Dee
      4 years ago

      Maybe try BSC Parcels

  • Robbee
    4 years ago

    I’m speechless, almost.
    I’ve waited, and wasted, a whole day for Yodel to make a simple delivery.
    First they say on the tracking they were unable to locate my property then in the same minute they post the parcel was delivered and signed for.
    On checking this with, the extremely rude and inept, customer service on their ‘chat line’ I eventually established it was delivered to my address and signed for by me! What a load of rubbish! I do not for one second believe they could not find my property I live in the suburbs of a city with clearly marked street names with post codes.
    Yodel it should be Scream!
    Next – a CE complaint to Dick Stead. Probably a total waste of time. I am of the opinion a company’s performance mirrors their managers ability.

  • Nick
    4 years ago

    We have used Yodel as one of our couriers for a couple of years, and send around 100-150 parcels per week, they are generally fairly good, most parcels get through fine. Cost per label is competitive and our local pick up driver is reliable.

  • Rob
    4 years ago

    Would not trust Yodel to deliver any of my parcels I send out. Run a small business sending 100 – 150 a month and anything expensive or heavy goes UPS or Parcelforce and all small items go MyHermes. Have very little problems with any of them. Recently had a customer return a pair of curtains that were sent back back through ebay via Collet + /Yodel and it was left outside in a trailer when raining. When I found them in there had soaked up most the water and ruined them.
    When I first started in business would use Yodel, would book collections which they would not turn up for. Would then re book another collection along with a new order. When they eventually turned up they would not take some of the order if it was not on their sheet.
    UPS on the other hand, will take any parcel you have a UPS sticker on even if it is for a access point or booked for the next day. No problem droping parcels off at the depot.

  • Schmeichel
    4 years ago

    Seriously…!? Is no one is going to say anything about the whole ‘DickStead’ thing??

  • Stuart Pearson
    4 years ago

    I will have my say.
    I worked for Yodel as a Manager and oversaw the operation of some depots.
    There is indeed a culture of smoke and mirrors which is used to hide poor service.
    I was aware of office staff not being truthfull with customers on the phones who were caling to chase up parcels.
    I was aware of the huge problems that depots were experiencing concerning theft, some depot thefts were in the thousands of pounds weekly!!!
    It got so bad I was told that some major retail names threatened Yodel to get the service right or they would cancel their contracts worth millions.
    I left the company after being stabbed in the back by them for being outspoken on how they ran things.
    Would I send a parcel through Yodel?
    Not on your nellie!!!

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