An analysis of Royal Mail quality of service reports has found that over 1 million customer complaints were investigated last year in what was the most in over a decade. It was also an increase of nearly 50% compared to the previous year.
Royal Mail is the UK version of USPS and has a near-monopoly over letter deliveries in the UK. Parliament has also investigated claims that Royal Mail has been guilty of prioritizing parcel deliveries over letters due to increased competition from the likes of Amazon. Royal Mail was very open at the beginning of the pandemic that they expected service disruptions due to staff shortages, social distancing, and an increase in parcel traffic through their network.
Royal Mail – More Expensive But Slower Deliveries
A combination of missed targets has culminated in a poor outlook for the company. The price of a first-class stamp has risen by 21% during the pandemic to 85p. Sadly the delivery targets were not met as only 75% of first-class letters were actually delivered the next day, way down on the target of 93%.
Customers have also complained that when ringing to file a complaint with Royal Mail they are also faced with wait times of over 50 minutes with many stating that they never received a follow-up or resolution to the call.
These problems are being watched closely by a number of different agencies including Citizen’s Advice and also Ofcom, the UK’s office of communications, a government-approved regulatory body. Citizens Advice commented how Royal Mail needed to do better at communicating delays to customers.
“Royal Mail must do more to reduce these delays and, if these issues become a long-term trend, the regulator Ofcom must be ready to take action.”Matthew Upton, Director of Policy, Citizens Advice
Royal Mail has done its best to defend that the majority of their deliveries happen on time without incident even throughout the challenges that a pandemic has brought.
“The overwhelming majority of all mail is safely and correctly delivered by our postmen and women, with just one complaint for around every 10,000 items of mail handled by Royal Mail in 2020-21.
“Where something goes wrong, our aim is to promptly deal with the problem and rectify it as soon as possible. We are the only UK delivery company that publishes an annual complaints report, as well as quality of service report which is subject to some of the most rigorous standards of any major European country.”Royal Mail Spokesperson
Ofcom was also happy to address the current state of service whilst understanding the challenging circumstances that have been faced across the country. They were also quite clear that they would be keeping an eye on the company and insisted that positive change was needed.
“We know how important a reliable postal service is to customers, and we can take action if Royal Mail fails to meet our annual targets.”
“We closely monitor its delivery performance throughout the year and have made it clear to the company that it must improve as the impacts of the pandemic subside. We will assess Royal Mail’s compliance after it has reported on its overall performance for the whole financial year.”
“Royal Mail bosses said postal workers have done an “extraordinary job” but the service has faced a significant increase in workloads. It says its policy is to treat parcels and letters with “equal importance”Ofcom Spokesperson
As life is returning more and more back to normal many are expecting Royal Mail’s service to do the same. If it fails to do so then there could be trouble for the nation’s letter carrier.
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