Royal Mail Quality of Service missed 2017-18 target

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Royal Mail have just released their annual Quality of Service report and missed their on time delivery target for both 1st and 2nd Class mail.

Royal Mail missed its annual regulatory target for First Class mail, delivering 91.6% the next working day, against a target of 93.0%. For Second Class mail, Royal Mail’s overall performance of 98.4% but this is within the 98.5% annual regulatory target range when allowing for the margin of error in sampling according to the company.

“We are disappointed that we missed our annual1 regulatory First Class target. This was the result of several exceptional events that took a heavy toll on our performance during the year. Royal Mail has one of the highest Quality of Service specifications of any major European country and our postmen and women work extremely hard to deliver demanding targets. As we continue to work to increase efficiency in the business, we are committed to delivering high standards of service to all our customers across the UK.”
– Sue Whalley, Chief Operations Officer, Royal Mail

Sue Whalley isn’t just making excuses either – this year a number of exceptional circumstances have combined to make Royal Mail’s life difficult.

Whilst negotiations with the CWU successfully avoided official industrial action, working to rule and the general distractions led to what Royal Mail call ‘a very challenging industrial relations environment’.

With the recent sunny weather, it’s easy to forget that in February and March 2018 the UK experienced some of the worst and most prolonged winter weather for many years which resulted in airport, rail and major road closures and heavily impacted Royal Mail’s operational performance. In January the outbreak of Australian Flu also saw a significant number of Royal Mail frontline staff going sick during the month of January.

A final bit of bad luck is when Cyber Week fell in 2017 – The Christmas period is always exempted from Royal Mail’s Quality of Service regulation because of the exceptionally high mail volumes. Cyber Week can fall partly or fully within the exemption period but last year it fell entirely outside the exemption period.

Of course these are all excuses which are perfectly understandable but don’t help ecommerce merchants when marketplaces are breathing down their necks with seller metrics and customers want to know where their orders are. Realistically however, during the snow customers are sometimes more patient waiting for their orders and eBay at least offered to check seller metrics if delays were due to the weather.


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