Do you want to be friends with your courier?

by @edent | # # | 14 comments | Read ~175 times.

My life is an endless stream of courier deliveries right now. Welcome to lockdown life.

Recently, I received an email saying that a driver had delivered a parcel. They’d dumped it on my porch without ringing the bell, then ran back to their vehicle. That’s fair enough. These people are given hellishly ambitious targets and they don’t want to hang around chatting.

But this was on the email I received.

Hi, I'm Local Courier I am your local courier, I like delivering parcels.

That’s… weird. Right? I mean, no one enjoys delivering parcels. It’s a thankless career, lifting heavy packages, trying to find suitable parking, not having a loo stop. I hated doing it when it was my job.

One of my Twitter friends explained what was going on. The courier company – in this case Hermes – encourages their drivers to add their photo and little bit of personal information. Here’s the Hermes screen for drivers:

Help customers to recognise you  When we let customers know that their delivery is on its way, we refer to you as "your friendly local courier". If you'd like us to make a more personal introduction, like the one on the right, contact your Community Delivery Manager to give us permission to share your first name, photo and tell them a bit about yourself. Feedback from customers shows that when a courier engages them in conversation, Customer Satisfaction scores are much higher. Personalisation is a great tool to help you kick off those interactions.  Hi, I'm Lewis. I'm your local courier. I like going to the gym and washing the car.

I kinda get it. If a stranger knocks on the door, it might be nice to know what they look like before opening the door to them. If a blonde woman is at the door, when the email says to expect a red-headed man, they might be an imposter.

All that assumes that I can easily recognise people through frosted glass from a poorly-lit selfie-cam. Hmmm…

But it is the “interests” section that bothers me the most. And I want to understand if I’m alone in my misanthropy.

Feedback from customers shows that when a courier engages them in conversation, Customer Satisfaction scores are much higher. Personalisation is a great tool to help you kick off those interactions.

I can’t remember ever having a “conversation” with a courier. At most it is a “Cheers, mate!” or “Yes, that’s my name” before they sprint away. Does the courier want to converse with me? Or are they desperate to get their round finished on time?

Perhaps it harks back to the mythical time when we had a village postman who would take an unhurried saunter through the streets and stop for a natter with everyone. I don’t think that time ever existed.

Perhaps it stops drivers from receiving abuse? When you know the name of someone, and they have human interests, are you less likely to scream at them because Amazon have fucked up yet again!!!?

Perhaps it increases abuse? If your courier is a fan of that other football team, are you going to kick the shit out of them?

More likely it is a weird management fad that values the nebulous Net Promoter Score more than anything. Sacrificing the privacy of drivers in a vain attempt to cover up the brutal conditions the company subjects them to.

The CEO of Hermes UK, Martijn De Lange, doesn’t list any personal hobbies or interests on his LinkedIn page. Pity.

14 thoughts on “Do you want to be friends with your courier?

  1. I’ve had some good conversations with my local DPD couriers, and one even brought some food for us at Eid.

  2. Jon Wood says:

    I suspect your comment on NPS hits it on the head, and I’m with you on it being a ridiculous measure. Last time I was at A&E they had signs up asking “would you recommend us to your friends and family”? Well… no. I absolutely do not recommend visiting A&E.

  3. Mike says:

    Photo and name are a good idea, could be quite reassuring for some people. The interests part is weird. I am a bit disappointed your courier hadn’t put their interests as going to the gym and washing the car. I’d be a bit disappointed if any couriers have filled in any interests other than the Human Resources department’s examples.

  4. Lee Porte says:

    I know our regular ones pretty well, but that’s life in the sticks for you.

  5. The longest face-to-face chat I’ve had this week was with the supermarket delivery guy. He was ace.

  6. I’m in favour of it generally. Enjoy quick conversations with Josh from DPD. He’s very polite & helpful. So much of modern consumerism is faceless and lacks humanity. Anything that puts us in touch with our purchasing decisions and helps us to treat people as fellow humans is 👍

  7. Jan says:

    I know bits about my regulars, too, and enjoy chatting with them. But something like „I like washing my car“ seems weird.

    1. Mike says:

      Some people really do like washing their car though. I know a guy whose aim when washing his car is to make it clean. Not cleaner. Clean.

  8. We have a weekly grocery delivery that’s always brought by the same chap. I don’t know his name but after a few months we started exchanging a few words, and we’ve bumped into each other when I’ve been out walking or running. He was off for a week recently and I missed him!

  9. Anna says:

    Our community built up a great relationship with our local DPD courier, Ryan. He joined our Facebook group where he gave us delivery updates/answered queries etc.

    However, I totally agree about Hermes; it’s all pointless if they don’t look after their people first.

  10. I have conversations our Royal Mail postpeople, but that’s different, I guess as they’re given a smaller territory?

  11. a dhl guy delivered a parcel and was like “that smells nice, can i join you” from the weed smell.

    a couple of days later he dropped a parcel for a neighbour and then knocked and asked if he could join again. which was weird.

  12. Must just depend where you live. We are pretty rural, and it’s always the same person for Hermes. It’s actually quite nice.

  13. Rachel says:

    There seems to be a theme with DPD drivers…i’m the same. Mine has been delivering wine since about August and has always asked how I am..he has seen me through broken ankle and recovery. But no other driver is consistent, so no chance of a “relationship”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *