Yodel: what happens when customer communication goes wrong

Customer service is everything. That's what they say. And most companies enthusiastically promise on their websites to offer first-class, real-time customer service across a gazillion channels. But for all this gushing enthusiasm, do they really fulfil their promise? Or is it all a bit of a sham?

Delivery company Yodel is a great example. It claims to be very friendly and makes it super easy to track your parcel. Great. But can you really get in touch and get an answer to your question? Or are they just another faceless, cost-cutting organisation that talks customer service, but would rather save money than manage the communication channels that customers really want?

Here's a test to find out. The questions is: which of the channels below (taken from the Yodel website) actually put you in touch with Yodel to get an answer to your question?

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"Your tracking"

No. It's not a communication channel. It's the other bit. It's the part of the website that shows you (when everything is working) what is happening to your parcel. You cannot contact Yodel through this. #fail

"Help FAQs"

Nice try, but no again. This is a list of generic questions that is much cheaper to produce than providing a proper communications channel that enables customers to ask specific questions. #fail

"Web chat"

Now we're getting somewhere. At least it is a communications channel. Trouble is they close the chat unless you respond in real time. They don't respond in real time. You have to wait for at least five inures until they're ready to talk to you. It's a communication channel, but on their terms. And therefore largely useless.

"Tweet us"

According to the website copy, this should be perfect. I quote: "The @YodelOnline guys are amazing! If you have an issue and you're all about social media this is a great way to speak to us." I wouldn't say I was "all about social media". Surely no one is really "all about social media", are they? If they are, I'm not sure I want to meet them, online or otherwise. But this could be a promising channel. Thing is, I'm still waiting 13 hours after my original tweet to them. They can't be that awesome, can they? #fail

"Call Yodel"

Aha! At last! I can pick up the phone and speak to a Yodel person (providing they're all about phones, and not all about social media). Nope. The website says: "If you haven't found your answer on the website or you just need to speak to someone, you can call us on: 0844 755 0117". Technically that's true. You can call them. But it's not a real person. It simply reads out the information you can get from the website about your delivery. And then ends your call. How about "press 2 if you would like to speak to one of our operators"? No chance. They just disconnect. #fail 


Did you get the answer right? 

If you said "none of the above" well done. You're spot on. If, however, you are responsible for communications on behalf of Yodel or any other customer-facing company that engages in this sham of pretending to care about customer communications, you've got it wrong. Badly wrong.