Good deliveries equal good business. This adage holds true for anyone in the courier business, from the humble owner driver handling part-time work to the executive overseeing an international delivery operation.
With that in mind, imagine what would happen if a courier tossed a package on top of a recipient’s rooftop gutter…
Not Quite Air Express
…because that is precisely what one courier did.
According to The Telegraph, a courier had wedged a parcel of clothing into a certain Benjamin Ward’s roof gutter. At least the courier had the courtesy to leave a note to Mr. Ward, saying that the package was ‘stuck on roof.’
Mr. Ward then shared the incident on Twitter and uploaded a photo on the social networking site, igniting a frenzy of shares and retweets. To their credit, MyHermes responded quickly by sending the courier back with a ladder to retrieve the package from the gutter. Luckily for both the courier and the retail company, Mr. Ward gamely noted that he didn’t want to make a big deal of the issue. In other words, no legal action was taken.
Lessons to Learn: Preparing a Plan of Action
So what does this story mean for the owner driver courier?
The first and most important lesson to learn is that a courier must be ready to deal with the absence of the stated recipient. This should not have been a problem for the courier, since the note he left contained many more sensible options that sounded a lot smarter than tossing the package up on the roof. Leaving the parcel with a neighbour, finding a shed or garage, tying the package to the front porch, retaining the package if the neighbourhood didn’t look safe and leaving contact details; these are all valid options for any owner driver facing the same situation.
But no, our heroic courier decided to toss the package onto the roof and then leave things at that.
Lessons to Learn: Bad Press in the Information Age
Another vital lesson that owner driver couriers need to learn is that a slight slip-up can lead to an avalanche of negative press that could quickly and effectively drive away potential clients.
Mr. Ward’s Twitter post was retweeted over 3,000 times on Twitter. This means that 3,000 people, and the dozens of other people connected to these Twitter profiles received the bad news regarding the service of the company. If just five other people read these retweets, then you have approximately 15,000 individuals that would most likely have formed a negative opinion of the company’s service. That is something you do notwant weighing down on your business, especially if you are a small-time courier who needs all the orders you can get.
At least the company did a fantastic job conducting damage control, which is the next lesson to learn from this whole messy affair.
Lessons to Learn: Damage Control
Slip-ups can never be avoided, no matter how careful you are, so you can at least set down a policy that will help you deal with them as they pop up.
The retail company did this by quickly responding to Mr. Ward’s tweet and promising to investigate the matter. They then showed their genuine intent to ‘fix’ the root of the problem by sending the offending courier back with a ladder to retrieve the package. This was done primarily through Twitter, which not only allayed Mr. Ward’s concerns but also reassured all those following the situation by showing how a large retail company acts to solve the problem.
This is a lesson that small-time owner driver couriers need to keep in mind. Being able to properly fix the problem will help return a lot of the trust and goodwill that was lost by the original slip-up, and may win some converts if it is well executed.
Oh, and one last thing to keep in mind: don’t get lazy.
The courier’s mistake was not following the tenets of doing good business. It may be easier to chuck a package up onto the roof just like that, but any courier witless enough to do that will have to deal with the resulting fallout later on.