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Making ‘dodgy deliveries’ a thing of the past

Computer mouse on delivery boxes

With 19,000 supporters for our Dodgy Deliveries campaign, it’s clear people want to see an end to late, missing or damaged deliveries. Here’s DPD on how technology is helping them meet your expectations.

The parcel delivery sector was certainly in the spotlight over Christmas. ‘Peak’, as we call Christmas in the industry, is always our most challenging time of year. That’s why we start planning for it in January! And not every delivery company was able to keep up with demand.

So what will the future of parcel delivery look like? Commentators are often quick to point at new individual solutions as ‘the future’. For example, Click & Collect has recently been hailed as the latest saviour, yet we know most people would rather have a safe delivery to their home address, if at all possible.

But every customer is different and the way they shop online and how they want their delivery fulfilled is individual to them. Therefore, our vision of the future is more one of customer choice – personalised, smart delivery options facilitated by outstanding technology.

New delivery technology

Our drivers already have advanced handheld devices available and use geo-location technology to maintain real time communication with customers via SMS or email. We believe that hooking up these technologies holds the key to even smarter deliveries in future.

This technology has also allowed us to offer retailers a delivery solution which meets all of the asks in Which?’s ‘Stamp Out Dodgy Deliveries’ campaign.

Currently DPD customers are told in advance of their one hour delivery slot and they can tell us at any time on the day of delivery if they aren’t going to be home. They can instruct our driver to take it to a specific neighbour or describe exactly which safe place they would like the parcel to be left in, on their own property. We’ll then take a photograph of where the parcel is and email it to them for confirmation.

Transforming parcel deliveries

It is our view that this kind of technology will continue to transform the parcel delivery sector, putting customers in complete control of their deliveries and able to access a wide range of personalised options.

With this in mind, we’ve just launched a start-up incubator entitled Last Mile Labs to give ten teams the opportunity to work with us and help create the very best delivery experience technology will enable.

Maybe in the future your smartphone will control your delivery preferences – like your favourite parcel shop both near work and home – and even tell us when you are not in, so that we can reschedule your delivery.

Of course, we don’t yet know exactly how the future will look, but one thing is certain; in the future, waiting in all day for a delivery won’t be an option!

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from the CEO of DPD, Dwain McDonald. All opinions expressed here are Dwain’s own, not necessarily those of Which?

Comments
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Guest

Why is click and collect the saviour? Because most companies insist on delivering during working hours, or make you pay through the nose for a Saturday delivery. Many people with long commutes are out by 8AM and not back before 7PM. The only possibilities are click and collect or take time off work if it’s a big item.

There seems to be no consideration for offering weekend deliveries routinely. Supermarkets can manage it, why not courier companies?

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Guest

I have commented on previous Conversations on this topic how impressed I have been with the service from DPD. In my experience the real-time logging of the driver’s location and predicted arrival time have been spot-on and have meant I have been able to make better use of my time. If only I could persuade companies from whom I have ordered things to consign with DPD – this is the problem, companies inconsistently use different carriers depending on a whole range of criteria that mean something to them but nothing to us and sometimes the same order gets split between two carriers. I’m not usually interested in paying extra for named-day delivery but I would be prepared to pay a bit more for a delivery by one of the top-performing carriers. In fact if the carier was identified at the point of ordering I would cancel the order if it was going into the hands of certain companies.

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Guest

I agree, DPD have provided me with brilliant service over the last two years and, because they delivered the vast majority of the goods I ordered from Amazon, I was quite happy to utilise Amazon Prime. Now that Amazon appear to have cast DPD aside locally, I am receiving a vastly inferior service from ‘Amazon Logistics’ and Royal Mail, to the degree that I am actively buying from other distributors rather than Amazon and looking to cancel my Prime membership when it is due for renewal next month.

Guest
Tim Dabbs says:
11 April 2015

I have recently had the option of having parcels delivered to a local shop or Post Office, which saves me having to wait in for a whole day for a delivery. Sometimes if I am not in, the parcel is automatically routed to a local shop. I recently ordered from John Lewis online and was able to pick up my parcel from my local Waitrose store which is much easier than going into my local John Lewis to collect it, as it means a journey into a busy town. Unlike other people who have posted about this before, I have never been given a delivery slot and most times do not even know what day a parcel will arrive.

Guest
David Alnwick says:
12 April 2015

I recently used Amazon’s collect plus for delivery of a child car seat to a nearby petrol station. The website accepted everything and took my money and confirmed order and delivery date. On day of delivery I got an email simply saying “delivery refused, package returned”. Clearly my seat was too big for the fuel station to handle (it appeared to have no facilities, storing customers packages on the floor behind the till). I received no apology or explanation from Amazon, and eventually got the package delivered to my home. So much for Collect a Plus.

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Guest

We’ve had good service from DPD up in the wilds of North-east Scotland. But one aspect intrigues me. We have a delivery scheduled for today “between 11:38 and 12:38”. Why is it necessary to quote bounding times to the nearest minute, when the delivery slot is a full hour long? In practice, we’ve found that delivery can often be 10 or 15 minutes outside of the offered slot anyway. Spurious precision is the bane of computerisation!

Guest
Stribs says:
14 April 2015

I have always found DPD very good with deliveries, Parcle force are now offering a timed slot however I was offered a timed slot for a delivery today of between 7:33 to 8:32 but the text message advising me was sent at 9:19, one hour and 10 mins after the delivery had been made and the parcle signed for.

Guest
Stewart Williams says:
18 April 2015

This company is crap, I paid for Saturday delivery and I never turned up, contacted customer service which was p**s poor and didn’t want to know. I found out that my parcel has been mis-routed to Scotland but it’s been sat in the kinmel bay depot all week so someone is talking shit

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Guest

Just had an amazing delivery from UPS. Couldn’t fault it………….

We ordered a small rubber car exhaust fitting, max dimensions 2″ x 1″ for 49p including delivery.

It was ordered Friday and turned up the following Monday but…

It has been on a fully tracked journey of 315 miles, been to 2 depots, weight was noted as 6 kg, it came in a box measuring 10″ x 6″ x 6″ complete with padding and arrived by 10am.

The company it was ordered from is only 7 miles away.

Guest
Tim Bradshaw says:
6 May 2015

DPD aren’t that smart they don’t have a backup recovery plan for their computer system. Been down for over 19 hours. No update on social media. Complete customer service failure!

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Guest

My partner and I send and receive a lot of packages as we live lives that don’t include much traipsing around shops. We also receive parcels for two other families whose work patterns don’t allow for delivery at home.

Our considerable experience reveals that, for us, Royal Mail and DPD are the most reliable and consistent at prices that I’d consider reasonable, DHL have been excellent too but at much higher prices.

At the other end of the scale Parcel Force (known around here as ‘Porcel Farce’) and Hermes (similarly nicknamed ‘Herpes’ as you don’t want to experience them!) are joint worst for damage, delay and failure to find our house. Surprisingly UPS have had their last two deliveries to us fail through suspected theft – parcels just disappeared from the local depot!

If it is possible to fit in the restricted size and weight for Royal Mail and better still letter post then that is our current preference although this has only been since they worked hard to get their act together around here.

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Guest

A placed an order with Amazon on Monday 20th July. Not being in a hurry for the goods, I chose the slower Super Saver delivery. Estimated delivery was 25th – 28th July.

I got another email on 21st July to say my estimated delivery date was July 25th and a link to track my package which stated delivery would be Saturday July 25th and handled by Amazon Logistics.

As my package was sitting in the local depot from which it would be delivered, I kept an eye on it in case it was going to be delivered earlier.

Yesterday 23rd July, I got an email at 19:30 to say my package was out for delivery. The website did not update as out for delivery until 20:26.

An hour later, at 20:30, my package arrived.

Great you might think, 2 days earlier than expected.

But, had I not been at home, my parcel could not have been delivered which is where the problems can start.

Most companies I order from have my mobile phone number. Some delivery companies keep you well informed, sending you texts reminding you the day before, reminding you on the day, giving you approximate time of delivery, contacts to change your delivery if you need to and full tracking. If they track their driver, you can see exactly where your parcel is as the driver does his route.

But notifying you by email an hour before delivery is just asking for trouble and is completely unacceptable.

And a company like Amazon should be able to do a lot better.

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Guest

Oops, should have been “I placed an order….”

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Guest

I find premature deliveries a bigger nuisance than late ones. Once I have placed an order and received a delivery estimate I schedule my activities around that. Sometimes we are staying away from home and discover through checking e-mails that the goods are on their way well before the delivery estimate and there is no easy way of rescheduling it. On our return home it has sometimes happened that the courier service has made two attempts at delivery and that we have only one chance left to receive the parcel without a lot of bother. Amazon are the worst for giving unhelpful delivery estimates [presumably they give wide delivery windows to protect themselves from complaints or claims if delays occur]. M&S’s tracking facility is not much use and delivery can be anything up to four days after despatch. With John Lewis we usually have to pay for a nominated day delivery because their despatch-to-delivery timescale is so variable; I think it is fair to charge a premium for delivery before the standard “up to five working days from order date” timescale, but I don’t see why there should be more than a nominal admin charge for requesting delivery a week beyond that period! It would also help if all companies informed their customers in despatch notifications which courier was being used; I have found the local depot staff quite helpful in holding or amalgamating deliveries [when you can get through to them that is].

Guest
DC says:
26 July 2015

Dear Which?,

No serious prospective customer of DPD should take seriously Mr McDonald’s vanity posting, at the head of this page.

Today (Sunday July 26th 2015) I have discovered just how reliable his company actually is.

I live in a mansion block in Bloomsbury. There are eleven flats in the building.

Immediately before I left the premises, for an afternoon constitutional, I spied a leaflet, left on the floor of the lobby.

It was a typical ‘sorry you were out’ leaflet, of the kind parcel companies leave, when they cannot deliver.

It was from DPD.

In this case, the DPD driver did not mark, on the leaflet, the name or the address of the person to which he was supposedly delivering.

So nobody in this building is aware a parcel is awaiting delivery for them, via DPD.

Ultimately, if they are expecting a parcel, they will chase it up, but no thanks to the delivery company.

The only identifier printed on the leaflet is a reference number: 39422057.

The intended recipient, if he or she is psychic, and knows this leaflet is destined for them, is asked to call 0844 824 0505, to arrange a fresh delivery.

An additional fee of £5 is mentioned on the leaflet, unless they happen to be available or in residence, during a narrow specified time slot.

I am posting this comment here, because the DPD website conveniently does not provide the company’s email address.

By googling, I came to this page, an appendix to a news posting that DPD has won the Which? award for ‘the best delivery company in the UK’.

Awards such as this are all well and good, but they do not reflect reality on the ground. They are just PR fodder. There are too many of them. If my experience is an accurate indicator, DPD is just another tuppenny ha’penny company which overspends on publicity and underspends on service.

Personally I shall stick to a proven provider, Royal Mail.

I hope Mr McDonald will respond to this message in time for my neighbour (whichever one it may be) to receive his or her parcel without further let or hindrance.

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Guest

One of the problems with delivery companies is that we, the purchasers of goods, are not their customers. We therefore cannot pick and choose which carrier brings our parcels – Royal Mail, including Parcelforce, are very good but few of the major on-line retailers use them so I am not sure how you are going to stick with them, DC, unless you can require your suppliers to consign with Royal Mail, presumably at extra expense.

I have always been very pleased with DPD’s performance and have certainly been very satisfied with the advance e-mail notification giving a one-hour delivery slot and the subsequent tracking tool that means you can see the driver’s route and check their progress. This has never failed for me, saved me a lot of time, and has allowed me to plan my day efficiently around the delivery.

Guest
DC says:
26 July 2015

Dear Which?,

No serious prospective customer of DPD should take seriously Mr McDonald’s vanity posting, at the head of this page.

Today (Sunday July 26th 2015) I have discovered just how reliable his company actually is.

I live in a mansion block in Bloomsbury. There are eleven flats in the building.

Immediately before I left the premises, for an afternoon constitutional, I spied a leaflet, left on the floor of the lobby.

It was a typical ‘sorry you were out’ leaflet, of the kind parcel companies leave, when they cannot deliver.

It was from DPD.

In this case, the DPD driver did not mark, on the leaflet, the name or the address of the person to which he was supposedly delivering.

So nobody in this building is aware a parcel is awaiting delivery for them, via DPD.

Ultimately, if they are expecting a parcel, they will chase it up, but no thanks to the delivery company.

The only identifier printed on the leaflet is a reference number.

The intended recipient, if he or she is psychic, and knows this leaflet is destined for them, is asked to call to arrange a fresh delivery.

An additional fee of £5 is mentioned on the leaflet, unless they happen to be available or in residence, during a narrow specified time slot.

I am posting this comment here, because the DPD website conveniently does not provide the company’s email address.

By googling, I came to this page, an appendix to a news posting that DPD has won the Which? award for ‘the best delivery company in the UK’.

Awards such as this are all well and good, but they do not reflect reality on the ground. They are just PR fodder. There are too many of them. If my experience is an accurate indicator, DPD is just another tuppenny ha’penny company which overspends on publicity and underspends on service.

Personally I shall stick to a proven provider, Royal Mail.

I hope Mr McDonald will respond to this message in time for my neighbour (whichever one it may be) to receive his or her parcel without further let or hindrance.

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Guest

Unfortunately, the reputation of a delivery company is solely down to the delivery person and DPD is lacking in providing adequate contacts.

They do send a text to the recipient giving the name of the driver, the expected delivery within a 1 hour slot and a website link to leave with a neighbour or change the day. But like me, not everyone uses their mobiles on the internet so maybe not a lot of use. They need to include a non-expensive phone number as well. My text was 2 hours before the expected delivery slot and there are any number of reasons why the recipient might not have received their text if they even have a mobile phone.

You sound like you are trying to be helpful but why should you have to ring an expensive 0844 number? If you google ” dpd geopost telephone numbers ” there are some alternatives.

Some delivery companies are trying to improve their reputations but they still have a way to go.

Profile photo of alfa
Guest

There is a link in a grey box on the front page of DPD that says “Got something to Say”

The next page says “Did we mess up? Let’s make it right”

There are 2 choices “Have a problem with a delivery?” where you can leave a contact and they promise to get back to you within 90 minutes or there is a real email link on that page for the Director of Customer Experience – scroke at dpd dot co dot uk.

Good luck.