Tuesday, 12 April 2016

UKMail customer service – FAIL!

We are living the dream. As a family we take full advantage of online retailing but there’s one aspect of the process that seems to be in need of improvement: delivery. 

A company that I’ve had a few unsatisfactory dealings with recently is UKMail. I’ve had disappearing deliveries where either they didn’t try to deliver or – more likely – they did but the driver decided not to leave a card.

Phone system – FAIL

On one such occasion I tried calling by phone and got bounced through the usual impenetrable audio menus until I encountered an option to arrange for a re-delivery. I dutifully pressed 1 as instructed only to be told “Thank you for calling UKMail. Goodbye.” after which I was immediately cut off.


Happy? No. Really, no.

Contact Us – FAIL

Having tried and failed to use their phone system I decided to raise a complaint using the online Contact Us form. It seems UKMail were ahead of me there and seem to have created a form that you can’t actually submit.


Try as I might I couldn’t identify what the erroneous character was. I suspect there’s a proud customer services manager gleefully including in his weekly report the fact that no one is complaining via the website. Now we know why.

I pointed this out on Twitter but I think they missed the point. The following Tweet did result in contact from customer services but only to try and rearrange delivery of the parcel, which I’d already managed to do.


Delivery notification – FAIL

So today, I get home to find yet another UKMail card lying on the door mat but this time annotated by a clearly irritated UKMail delivery man.


Loving the “Again”. It didn’t irritate the hell out of me at all.

It might be stating the obvious but if you keep trying to deliver at the same times and there’s never anyone in then you might be trying at the wrong times.

But let’s look a bit closer. This card suggests we’ve been notified in advance in order to give us the change to choose “option 1”. So I checked my email and this is what I found.


This email arrived at 09:42hrs on the day of delivery, only 2 hours ahead of the earliest delivery time given.

What do UKMail expect here? Do they expect us all to be monitoring personal email while at work and filling in online forms to arrange delivery at another time? I’m pretty sure my boss wouldn’t be too happy about that.

UKMail, if you insist on sending these emails at least give us a chance to answer them. Two hours isn’t enough notice. And perhaps point this out to your delivery men so they don’t get snippy on your cards.

Sorry we missed you email – FAIL

This one speaks for itself.


Option 1 – FAIL

OK, so the card says quite clearly to visit www.ukmail.com and to select ‘Manage My Delivery’. I did just that, entered the card number and postcode as directed and ended up here.


Can’t see an option 1, 2, 3 or 4 there… Definitely can’t see a “Leave in a safe place option”… Not sure what to do now.

I give up. I think I’ll be looking out for UKMail as a delivery option when making online purchases and selecting something else!

Collect from depot – FAIL

OK, let’s try the Collect from depot option.


Right. No idea what times I can collect then. Not even a default “between 9am and 5pm”. Remember I’m working so what are the chances of them being open after I finish work (i.e. after 5pm)? Nil, I suspect. Do I risk it..?

Well I do as it happens and I end up with this:


They don’t like times at UKMail do they - unless it’s giving you 2 hours notice of a delivery.


As a consumer I very often don’t even know which delivery company will deliver any given online purchase. Even if I do, it’s usually the case that I don’t get the chance to specify delivery options such as ‘leave in a safe place’. That seems like a failing to me.

If you leave instructions on a card make sure those instructions can actually be completed by the customer.

Notifications of impending deliveries 2 hours beforehand is a waste of time where people can be expected to be at work.

And why try to deliver during the day at all? Surely most people are out at that time, at least as far as domestic customers are concerned. Wouldn’t evening deliveries by less wasteful in time and resources, not to mention creating better customer relationships?

Online forms that are difficult to submit will aggravate end users, especially when they are already aggravated. Emails that refer to buttons that aren’t there are plain sloppy.

Any individual item given above wouldn’t mean much but when combined result in reduced customer satisfaction and loss of confidence in the service.

Now, let’s try and rearrange delivery of that parcel…

Update – 13/04/2015

After contacting UKMail via Twitter I received the following message:


So even though I’ve said it’s OK to leave the parcel in a safe place they won’t do it. This illustrates the problem with deliveries and online purchasing. If I as the consumer am not able to specify delivery options like this at the point of sale and if delivery companies won’t allow deliveries outside normal working hours it makes life difficult for all concerned.

It also occurred to me that I hadn’t shown what happens if you try to get your parcel redelivered.


You can’t specify a time of delivery, not even morning or afternoon let alone after 5pm. What are the options here? Only one: take the day off and sit around all day waiting for a delivery. For large or expensive deliveries that might be a viable option but for most of what I do it’s not.

Update – 14/04/2016

As you can see from the screenshots in the Collect from depot – FAIL section above I used the online system to arrange collection from the depot. Imagine my surprise to be sent the following email:


As usual the email arrived just 2 hours before the scheduled delivery time (at 10:03hrs actually). So, UKMail have ignored my instruction that I’d be picking the parcel up from the depot and I can expect another crappy card with some suitably irksome message from an irritated delivery driver waiting for me at home.

Just pathetic.

And will the parcel be waiting for me at the depot? Should I waste my time trying to pick it up as I’d arranged?

Update - 15/04/2016

I don’t know why I bothered but I tried collecting the parcel as previously arranged. No surprises here – the result was a big fat “Sorry mate. Bad news I’m afraid…” from the UKMail man in reception. It seems the parcel was still on the van and wouldn’t be back at the depot until 7pm.

So I had to make another journey to collect the parcel after 7pm taking an hour out of my evening. I have the parcel now but that’s it for me. If an online vendor owns up to using UKMail I’m shopping elsewhere.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Google shows us what user experience shouldn’t look like

I received an email from Google saying that my credit card was expired and asking me add a new one. What ensued was an example of really bad user experience.

Here’s the original email:


There are a few links in the email. Let’s try following the Sign in link. You end up at a web page that looks like this:


Now, I don’t think I’ve got a Google for Work account so let’s click the Add account button. I’m asked for sign-in details so I add my usual Google account details and click through.


I click the final Sign in button and end up here:


Hang on. That looks familiar. No matter how many times I tried, it was always the same. I went round in a circle and ended up in the same place without an account having been ‘added’.

Back to the email. What happens if I click the Add payment methods link? This does, every time:



OK, back to first principles. I Google “google for work” and find the http://apps.google.com site. I click Sign in and use the domain I’m administering (this blog) and my usual account details again.


I click Go and end up here:


Hmmm… Looks familiar again but at least we’ve now got a domain mentioned. Can you guess what trying to add an account does? Yes, it does nothing and goes in a circle again.

So, what was the real problem? It seems that because the ‘organisation’ is andyfrench.info I had a separate account in that domain that I had setup to manage the site. I ended up logging in with that account – resetting the password on the way – to get in to the Google at Work admin site. One in it still took me a while to navigate my way to change the credit card details. Whew.

Anyway, it may be secure to not leak any information at all about failed login attempts but really? Is this right?