|In the past three years I've had to ship items nationally or receive shipped items in the UK on a few occasions. The experience has been universally terrible.|
1. Sign-up process is convoluted. This should be so simple. Are you a business or a person? What are your billing details and contact details? Done. Don't give me a Merchant ID or make me telephone you. Don't make me put in address information: you can have that when I send something.
2. Believe it or not, I do not know how heavy my item is or its exact dimensions. I threw away the packaging. I don't have a set of bathroom scales because I'm not a teenage girl. Charge me a premium for not knowing. I don't give a shit. Just don't force me to enter the dimensions of something which I might not have in front of me or schlep it to the scales at my friends' house so that you can calculate how much diesel you need to be putting in your vans. You're coming to my place to pick it up. Why the fuck can't you just do this yourself? Or how about you plug into a product database that knows how heavy stuff is? While we're on the subject: do you have any idea how offensive the idea of printing something is to me? An actual, honest to god physical piece of paper? Why? And then what do I do? Attach it to the box with glue? String? Tape? Fucking hell, you guys go around picking up parcels all day, can't you just do this yourself with special stickers? Charge me a few bucks for it.
3. Don't give me a 25-digit code to track my parcel. That's what, a hundred quadrillion potential shipments? Enough for every single person in the world to send 14 million parcels each with significant room to breathe. Make it very simple for me to get to the parcel I want to track. I can track by consignment or reference number with TNT, but it's not clear which one is provided by a shipper in some cases. Don't you dare fucking say "Consignment number not recognised" when I put the reference number into the consignment number box. Do it for me. You know TNT recycle these numbers? If you log in to their odious website with a tracking number you had to decipher from the wall of text they send you, you sometimes see that your package has been delivered! To someone called Ben! Who lives in Scotland! Oh, no, wait, their crummy service has 25 digit non-unique tracking numbers. Makes perfect sense.
4. Make it useful for me to track my parcel. "Your package is being processed in our network" is a message I've seen a few times. Tip: any time you put a code or a status number into the human-facing message for parcel tracking, you've fucked up. If something is going to DELAY or SPEED UP the arrival of my parcel, that's all I care about. If you're not going to provide me with a useful window to receive my parcel or send it (i.e. a one hour window) then you should tell me where your van is with GPS. Fuck the security concerns; put RFID on your parcels and secure your vans with that futuristic stuff banks use (I think it's a combination of paint, sensors and BIG SCARY WARNING SIGNS). Just don't treat me, the guy who pays for your courier service, like a criminal who can't be trusted to know where his parcel is, just because someone might take a chance that someone is using the same van to ship Faberge eggs in my area and roll it.
5. Don't make me sit at home for an entire day waiting for my parcel. Give me a specific window when you're going to deliver it and try to be there on time. If you're late leaving or there's a mechanical problem or traffic or roadworks or inclement weather, update me. Estimating time is hard. I get that. It's not so hard that you have to identify "Between 9am - 1pm" as your four hour window. Today (May 14) I tried to use Parcel Force for the first time, having exhausted all other options in previous attempts to ship things. They said they'd pick up my parcel betwen 14:00 and 16:30. I arrived home from work at 13:40 to find that they'd been and dropped a note through the door saying "Sorry we missed you." The note was labeled to say that he'd tried to collect the parcel at 14:00, twenty minutes into the future. I called the depot straight away. "What time is it right now?" "13:50." HOW ARE YOU GUYS STILL IN BUSINESS?
6. Find a way or make away, or: I don't care about your difficulty in getting my package to me, it's your job. I don't care that my house is hard to find. It's your job. I don't care that you ran out of vans at the depot. It's your job. I don't care that the handwriting your driver put on the form was inscrutable. It's your job. Get my package to me on time, or find another business to run.
7. If you're going to have a local depot, make it one I can pick up from. "I'm afraid your package is being held in our depot," said the email from TNT. Oh, no problem, I happen to live 45 minutes away from it and since I've been waiting for this oft-delayed package for A FUCKING WEEK WHILST IT SAT IN YOUR FUCKING DEPOT, I'd rather eat the time up and go get it myself. "Sorry, you can't collect from our depots! We're a courier service! We bring them to you!" No, you don't. GNRRGRGHRHGHG.
8. Never, ever make me phone you to find out anything at all, ever. If I have to phone you, I'm automatically pissed. You should phone me to beg forgiveness when my package is delayed. You should email me and text me when you leave a note saying you missed me. You should never call me to say that you're going to miss your six hour window of delivery without saying "but we're going to refund the full price of shipping to you" or "but if you like we'll get another, more reliable courier who understands how to get a box from A to B, to bring it to you today", or "but if you like, we'll get our intern to take a series of taxis across the country, at our expense, to get it to you on time." Because you fucked up when you promised me you'd get it somewhere on time and didn't.
9. Simplify your pricing. Don't make me pay extra to get my package to me by a certain time. Offer me two options: any time the next day, or on a set time on a set day. Make this relative to your load, the schedule of your vans and the scheduled of postal trains/flights/bikes. Show me how, if I can wait an extra two hours, I can save a bunch of money on my parcel because it means it will get onto a super cheap freight train rather than necessitating you chartering a helicopter to bring it to me.
Someone please, for the love of all that is holy, fix this broken experience.