There can be few things more frustrating than automating your business just for the automation to promptly fail. That’s what keeps happening to one online retailer when they import their CSV file into Royal Mail‘s DMO.
The DMO import process wants to see either an alphanumeric string or a blank field. What it doesn’t like is other characters and unfortunately foreign names and addresses are littered with them.
This isn’t a new problem, I recall years ago back in the days of Royal Mail Despatch Express a Russian address printed out on the label to a string of ‘x’s. It would appear that the Royal Mail software simply isn’t set up for foreign characters.
Not supporting they Russian Cyrillic alphabet is understandable, the characters are totally different to those in the English alphabet but the problem even occurs with French names and addresses. The French use the same alphabet as the UK, but it’s sprinkled with characters such as the cédille (Ç), aigu (é), circonflexe (â, ê, î, ô, û), grave (à, è, ù) and the tréma (ë, ï, ü). Royal Mail’s DMO import doesn’t appear to recognise these letters.
This is a problem as it not only results in a manual process but also forces the retailer to dig through their entire CSV upload file to discover which name is causing the problem. Then of course having changed something like an ‘é’ to a simple ‘e’ they have to upload that one address label again.
Surely in today’s multicultural society with thousands of French people residing in the UK with names such as Aimée Chanté, Élise, Émile and Gérard, not to mention the explosion of ecommerce and shipping to France, Germany and many other countries with accented letters, it’s not too much to ask our couriers and postal services to add these characters to their software solutions?