Parcel delivery companies underperforming in the UK, finds customer survey

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When the consumer charity Citizens Advice surveyed customers of the top five parcel firms, they found that no delivery company ranked more than three out of five stars – with Hermes and Yodel scoring the lowest.

In its first annual parcel company league table, the charity compared criteria like customer service, problems and accessibility. Hermes and Yodel performed the worst, scoring 1.5 and 1.75 stars respectively. However, the top scorer, Amazon Logistics, was not far off this score, with just 2.75 stars overall. DPD scored lowest when consumers were asked if they’d had a problem with their last delivery as 41% reported a problem with their last delivery, whereas at the top end, 32% of Amazon Logistics customers reported an issue. When trying to resolve issues, 48% couldn’t get the help they wanted, rising to 56% for Yodel and 43% for Amazon.

Furthermore, with a 56% increase in online sales compared with pre-pandemic levels, the charity recorded a 69% increase in the traffic for its “If something you ordered hasn’t arrived” advice page from the same period before the pandemic in 2019, bringing the total page views up to 160,000 times so far this year.

When asking for specific examples, Citizen’s Advice found some extreme case studies. One man got in touch after he received confirmation a pair of headphones he ordered had been delivered to Australia, despite him living in and ordering them to his address in Hertfordshire, UK. Another man reached out after he was forced to repeat his problem to almost 30 different customer service agents when his parcel worth £150 (US$200) was stolen. Finally, one woman contacted the charity after one driver claimed her son’s £350 (US$466) birthday present had been delivered, even though her CCTV showed them leaving with it in their hand. In response to this feedback, the charity called for stricter rules for parcel companies, better complaints processes, and fines from the postal regulator, Ofcom.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “Parcel deliveries became a lockdown lifeline for us all, but the scale of the problems experienced by many of us shows huge cracks in the sector. Even though Amazon Logistics and Royal Mail top the table there’s still significant room for improvement. And Hermes and Yodel need to improve in leaps and bounds to make sure they’re providing a solid service to their customers. While this should be a wake-up call for firms to strive to deliver a five-star service for consumers, we have serious reservations about how far companies will improve if left to their own devices. Our findings show it’s time for Ofcom to come forward and introduce tougher rules across the board for delivery companies.”

In response to this survey, Mike Hancox, CEO at Yodel said, “We are always striving to better all aspects of our services and welcome consumer feedback. However, we don’t believe these findings truly reflect the excellent service the vast majority of our customers receive, with data for perfect deliveries and other independent review sites giving a more accurate view.”

DPD commented, “We don’t recognize the findings from this survey at all and have raised significant concerns about the methodology directly with Citizens Advice.  Our own data shows that over 99.5% of all DPD parcels are delivered right, first time, which is one of the main reasons we have been voted top in MoneySavingExpert’s annual parcel delivery customer satisfaction poll of over 10,000 recipients, eight years running.”

Hermes stated, “We welcome any feedback that helps us to continue to improve our services and regularly engage with our customers both directly and through independent specialists. However, we do not accept these findings as we believe this research is flawed and based on poor methodology. We are also disappointed that Citizen’s Advice made no attempt to engage with parcel companies about this research, other than to let us know they were publishing and there was no attempt to raise any perceived issues with us to allow us to investigate.”

An Amazon spokesperson, said, “Every day at Amazon, incredible employees and independent delivery partners come together to provide fast, reliable and safe delivery for our customers. The vast majority of deliveries make it to customers without issue. In the rare case something occurs, we work with customers directly to make it right.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said, “Royal Mail is proud to deliver to over 31 million addresses across the UK. With unparalleled reach across the country, our customers continue to put their trust in the knowledge, expertise and reassurance of the Royal Mail brand. We are committed to continuously improving our services as we reinvent the way we deliver to and from our customers. This includes recent improvements such as starting to collect parcels from customers’ homes as well as delivering them, delivering on Sundays, and constantly refining our estimated delivery windows to increase convenience for our customers.”

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth brings research skills from her English degree to her keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her current role as Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth will create new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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