Robb Lewis

Delivery Companies: The Antithesis of Convenience

Monday 20 August, 2012

I wrote about delivery companies a couple of weeks ago and I have been thinking about the issues surrounding this and how it could be fixed (in an ideal world).

Operating hours

The thing that annoys me the most is the operating hours of delivery companies. As an example, my local Domino’s is open from midday until midnight every day. The opening hours are set based on when people would most likely want pizza. McDonald’s opens at 7am for people who want breakfast. Newsagents open early to be able to sell newspapers while they’re still relevant. And yet, delivery companies continue to maintain a schedule that is the antithesis of convenience.

Notification and tracking

Most delivery companies offer some kind of order tracking, but rarely is this as useful in real life as it is in theory. Telling me every time someone scans my parcel at some middle-of-nowhere sorting office is not helpful. Here’s what I actually want to know:

That’s all. Whether it’s by phone, email, text or Twitter, just let me know when my parcel is going be arriving, within a reasonable time slot.

Solutions

Amazon Locker goes some way to solving at least some of the issues. But at the moment, it can only be used for specific items that Amazon sell. It’s a start, but we’re a long way off of a seamless online buying experience. As a side note, I used Amazon Locker for the first time this week, and was very impressed with the entire process.

The problem

As a business, your operating hours should match the hours that are convenient to your customers. You should want to make the experience as seamless and easy as possible for your customers. The problem is, we are not the customers. Much like Facebook’s customers are their advertisers and not the users, delivery companies are accountable only to thier customers: the businesses that are sending us our latest toys that we’ve ordered online. The problem is the delivery companies don’t care how the experience is for us, how difficult is it to take a day off work just to sign for a parcel or how annoying it is to go to the “local” sorting office between similarly inconvenient hours. We don’t pay them, we are not thier customers. And that’s the problem.

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