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.
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:
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.