Royal Mail beat quality of service targets

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Royal Mail beat their 93.0% First Class mail target with 93.2% of this mail delivered the next working day, for the financial year 2013-14. They also exceeded their Second Class mail target of 98.5 per cent, delivering 98.9% of this mail within three working days. Royal Mail also point out that they have one of the highest service specifications of any major European country.

At an individual postcode area level, 114 of 118 postcodes met or exceeded their targets over the year. In the fourth quarter of the year they delivered 93.4% of First Class and 99.0% of Second Class mail on time.

What this means for online sellers is that 6.8% of First Class isn’t delivered by the second day and 1.1% of Second Class Mail is also delivered late. That’s enough to affect your eBay DSRs and more importantly get people sending messages asking where their item is – think order defects!

What we don’t know is how much of the delayed mail is parcels and how much is letters. From personal experience I haven’t a clue how many of my letters are delayed and I don’t really care. What I do know is that invariably parcels turn up on time and online sellers should take encouragement from that.

The Royal Mail in general do a fantastic job of delivering mail, but what’s your experience, both from sending items and receiving them?

19 Responses

  1. Royal Mail as a whole the best for my type of despatch on all three accounts but this bbc article from last November makes interesting reading on the Ofcom report.

    When Royal Mail delivery has such a bearing on the eBay sellers defect rate, Royal Mail targets need to be better or eBay need to allow longer than a next day delivery expectation.

    On some despatches when postage is paid for by paypal, the next screen warns the item may not arrive in the allocated time by eBay for first class. What chance do sellers have of getting the item to the buyer in the time expected?

    eBay expects a high standard from it’s sellers yet they are marked on a service that clearly is out of their control.

  2. I recently received a small (LL size) package that took 10 days to arrive by 2nd class post from a seller around 5 miles away.
    Being a seller myself I did not open an INR or leave any fb that would result in that seller receiving a defect.

    eBay need to set realistic delivery estimates and extend the time a buyer must wait before opening INR or leaving adverse fb.

  3. I’ve just discovered that Royal Mail send a proportion of airmail by surface mail. I don’t know what that proportion is, but it is happening. A recent post on the eBay postage topics forum by another eBayer reads “Apparently, when the parcel is scanned if RM cannot identify the contents they can refuse to ship by air” . I’ve recently had two experiences of innocent parcels being paid for airmail and sent surface mail by RM and getting INR messages from buyers. I doubt Royal Mail count the failure in delivery time when they send an airmail item by surface mail but it makes for unhappy customers.

  4. delivery is quite good
    but return stinks, if an item is undelivered it disappears even though a return address is on every package wesend

  5. Interesting news today that Royal Mail are to begin delivering parcels on Sundays (not everywhere at first)

    This could actually put more pressure on eBay sellers, from buyers expecting to buy on Saturday and receive on Sunday

  6. As others have mentioned and Dan in the article the real issue here isn’t Royal Mal. If you send orders standard post, yes you take your chances that it will arrive, yes customers may say it hasn’t when it has and other variable.

    The real issue is ebay over estimating delivery times to customers, it effects all sellers from big to small and for some reason they don’t listen or care that this is a real issue.

    As a consumer I would rather be told it takes 3-5 days to arrive and it arrive within 2 days, that makes me think, ‘oh it’s arrived early isn’t that good service’ rather than told it’s arriving next day and it’s doesn’t.

    It’s always been a rule of customer service not to over promise, an under promise wins more customers rather than letting them down.

    Ebay please listen to your sellers on this point!

  7. I should say I am a Royal Mail customer and am very pleased with their service. I have an OBA and it works very well.

    However, I would like to know how Royal Mail know how good they are. Now that business customers can no longer claim compensation for lost or delayed items unless sent by a premium service, and considering the huge volume of shipments from internet sales, I’d suggest large numbers of RoyalMail “defects” are swept under the carpet. After all, who is going to spend the time reporting a problem, particularly with a lengthy form to fill out, when there is no compensation forthcoming?

  8. I increased my handling time ages ago, to counteract ebays optimistic delivery times.

  9. Based on the number of my customer complaints when using RM 1st & 2nd services, I would question these figures.

    Although there are other reasons why it may be ‘late’ (eg recipient friend, neighbour, family member, colleague received it instead and has not informed the buyer), I would like to know how these stats are developed. Is there a sample test or (as someone earlier suggested) based on complaints?

    Has eBay made a proposed change to prevent the buyer opening a case before the delivery due date? And yes, I agree with others here, the timelines are overly aggressive, or at least, the marking of missed targets is overly aggressive when dependent on RM. Would it not make sense for eBay to differentiate between a missed RM standard service target and a missed premium service / tracked courier service target?

  10. We used Royal Mail 2nd class recorded for years and after getting fed up with their level of service, lack of tracking and price jump from £2.39 to £3.89 within a year, we decided to give Hermes a try who were offering £2.78 (up to 1kg pack) instead of £3.89. Few set up teething problems but we are now on track.

    I can honestly say this has been the best decision we have ever made. On average we used to receive 2 to 3 “where is my item” emails daily. Hermes email tracking to buyers and are delivering on time and so far we have only received 2 emails in 6 weeks. One got delivered the same day and other the next. One parcel arrived damaged and dedicated business support helpline sent claim form within minutes and all we had to do was fill in basic details and attach photo of a damaged product. No fuss and lengthy process like RM.

    Due to cheaper postage, we reduced the prices and our dispatch of packet post jumped from 100 parcels a week to 250+. Had a chat with Hermes account manager and now we are on £2.64 rate (including Vat, no fuel surcharge). Next target is 500+ and we will be on £2.02 plus vat (£2.48). A local friend also a seller has negotiated under £3 for upto 5kg (500+ a week).

    New RM international prices also affected our dispatch with them and now we are using dpd for Europe.

    I don’t know about other areas but word of mouth is getting around faster in Glasgow area and number of sellers we spoke to have now moved majority of their dispatch to Hermes. We are all using royal mail too but they are no longer a major carrier.

    Not surprised at increased Royal phone calls and visits here offering to help. They must have felt the pinch or noticed the change in volume.

    This is not personal but is a business decision. Anybody who can dispatch 100+ a week should give Hermes a try and see the difference in level of service. By switching over from royal mail to Hermes, 150 parcels a week means at least £600 saving a month and £7950 a year.

    Hope above information will help other fellow sellers. End of the day you have to choose what is right for your business and Royal Mail may suit many but it’s good to know that there is a strong competitor out there now. You can stick to royal mail but I think you are in a bargaining position now.

  11. quality of service is a joke when you can receive more tracking information from a russian third party website than you do from royalmails own

  12. Royal Mail is full of it…

    I had about 50 parcels sent out last xmas period recorded signed for….none of them received a signature,it was a miracle i had honest buyers who didn’t claim they hadn;t arrived…


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