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Business Creativity & Innovation

How Culture Affects Customer Service

Can Yodel deliverCulture can have a huge effect on customer service. This can manifest itself in many ways but this week I have been on the receiving end of some poor customer service yet again.

This time the offending company was a courier company who shall remain nameless. I had ordered some sportswear online and was excited to receive an email the following morning telling me that my goods were with a courier and they supplied parcel tracking information. During that day I tracked my parcel from arriving at the depot to going out for delivery.

Later on the status of my parcel changed. Apparently a card had been left because nobody was at home. The next day this also happened which was strange because although nobody was at home, no cards were left. Since I had no card I did not have the contact details for the courier!!

Being fairly resourceful I tried to find contact details by searching the internet but all I found were bulletin board posts by disgruntled customers. Finally I did find a number but for the wrong part of the company. The person answering the phone was very helpful and gave me 2 further freephone numbers.

At last I could talk to someone who knew something about my parcel! A nice chap told me the name of the courier and gave me his mobile number. He also revealed my suspicions that the parcel depot left the phone off the hook because of the large number of complaints. These, he said, were mainly because of the couriers themselves.

I called the courier on his mobile and arranged delivery for Saturday morning. He was very helpful and polite so  I asked him where the cards had been left. ‘I did not leave any’ he said ‘because I could not get into the security gate and that was the only option I could tick on my PDA’.

So we have overworked couriers (they are given too many parcels to actually deliver at any one time) with dodgy systems in place who seem not to trust the rest of the organisation causing huge numbers of complaints that cannot be heard because the people they do not trust (and who don’t trust them) leave the phone off the hook! Wake up guys, your customer service will not improve until you start talking (as opposed to shouting) to each other. And Mr MD you have your part to play in this too.

Just one example of how poor culture can affect a business. And to fix it? Get couriers to talk to the rest of the company in a meaningful way and stop the huge number of complaints so that the phones can be put back on the hook and used in the way in which they were originally intended.

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