I had a really interesting experience the other week. I got an email from AusPost saying that something I had ordered was on its way. Except that the email didn’t actually tell me who the package was from. Or where it was.

Of course, I went and clicked on the link provided in the email, because I am now frankly puzzled as to what this package was. I often order things online, so this package could have been one of several different things. Reaching the AusPost website, I then happen to get no further information from there than what was in the email sent to me in the first place…

I wondered to myself whether a human might have the information I was looking for, so I called them, listened to their prompts, mashed a few buttons on the keypad… and was placed in a queue. I promptly hung up.

There’s a number of things that have gone wrong here, and I am sure that this is not an exhaustive list, however it does encapsulate the typical customer frustration.

  1. When AusPost decided it was time to communicate with me, they sent so little information that I was forced to engage with them.
  2. When I engaged with AusPost via their preferred method of engagement, I was still left without the information I was looking for.
  3. When I engaged with AusPost via my preferred method of engagement, I had to try and categorise my demand into their phone menu system, then forced to wait until they could get to me.

What AusPost did was create the burden on me, the customer, to interact with their systems, into their organisation, on their terms. By sending an email, they generated demand for their services… but what they have failed to do is include the required information that might be pertinent to their services. You see after all, this particular service was the shipment of an item. And when you ship an item, there’s 3 main things you need: an origin, a destination, and the item itself. Everything else is a consequence of those 3 primary things. Examples of this are billing, which can only be provided when all 3 are provided, or the delivery route to take, again needing all 3 things.

However, because of the mismanagement of communication in the first instance, I placed two demands on their organisation… both because they failed to do something right the first time around. I know for a fact I’m not the only one around with the same issue. Australians love to complain about a number of things: banks, telephone companies, and especially Australia Post. It’s nearly a right of passage to prospective Australian citizens; complain about shitty service, and you’re in the club! Take note, Mr. Dutton 😉

Providing a website costs money. And yes, it’s likely the lowest cost form of deliver of services and communication – but it still costs. So do phone calls; I know that through a lot of work I have done with phone companies, the cost of receiving a call and solving ‘a thing’ can range anywhere from around $2.50 per call, right up to $16 per call, depending on the complexity of the demand from the customer. Even with me calling, mashing a few buttons, and hanging up, that system has to be paid for.

Not only are AusPost not communicating with customers effectively right off the bat, they are throwing money after it to support systems that are designed primarily to handle the aftermath of those failures.

Imagine if all of that information was provided when I actually wanted it. Now imagine that I wasn’t one of thousands of customers who want the same basic level of detail. All of a sudden, the savings that can be made in their call centres and their digital infrastructure becomes seriously significant!

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