THE BUYER - Tim Bonnet, Tequila Payne Stracey
Having seen the Royal Mail’s latest ’keeping in touch’ campaign, Tim
Bonnet, a board director at Tequila Payne Stracey, mischievously poses
as an SME owner and puts the service through its paces.
Our industry enjoys a love/hate relationship with Royal Mail. We are
hugely dependent upon it and, generally, it isn’t bad. But it owes a
massive debt to us as we plough budgets into it year after year.
Recently, it has got a handle on this and with the new campaign it is
urging more businesses to join the fray.
I pretended to own a small company, Chocoholics, which supplies
businesses and shops with chocolates, chucking out mailings of around
500 units a month. Captivated by the Royal Mail’s TV ads, I dig out a
number and call.
I speak to someone I shall call Kevin. Having explained my situation, I
say I want to find out more: ’Erm, I’m not aware of anything like that -
could you hold please?’ After a pause, Kevin returns: ’Yes, actually I
know what you’re referring to - it’s our ’keeping in touch’ promotion.’
So, I ask, any advice about communicating with my customers? ’Erm, well,
actually, could I direct you to our website?’ Well, I suppose so, but
isn’t there a consultant I can speak to? ’Well, the ad is a bit
misleading, we’re really just trying to get people to visit the site.’
No chance of any literature then? ’I could send you a guide to our
postal services,’ he rallies. But that’s not what I’m after. There’s no
specialist I could speak to? ’We don’t have a consultancy section - I
could send a sales team to visit you.’ I say no thanks and replace the
I’m not sure I’ve just had the kind of communications experience I’d
like to replicate with my loyal Chocoholics. To be fair, the ad itself
directs you to the site, which is well put together, but simplistic in
content. But, assuming you missed that link, or you’re not into the net,
Royal Mail doesn’t really deliver the goods.
I would visit the website, but I’m not really inspired to, and I’m not
sure I’ve just had the kind of communications experience I’d like to
replicate with my loyal Chocoholics.
To be fair, the ad itself directs you to the site, which is well put
together, but simplistic in content. But, assuming you missed that link,
or you’re not very into the Internet, Royal Mail doesn’t really deliver
THE SELLER - Amanda Stonex, Bates UK
Bates UK has handled the Royal Mail business since the 70s. Amanda
Stonex is an account manager on the business, and here she responds to
Thank you for liking our new advertising enough to say nice things about
being captivated and actually responding. The fact that you phoned
rather than checking out our website is a shame, although we appreciate
the time it must have taken to find a number since it wasn’t in the
Mercifully, the other 65,000 people who responded in the first two weeks
took the slightly more direct route of going to the site.
You saw part of an integrated campaign in a London test before
If you’d been in our target market you also would have received a mail
shot telling you how to get hold of the kind of information you’re
While Royal Mail has the biggest call centre in the country, we simply
wouldn’t be able to cope with the volume of calls from the 150,000
companies in London, or provide a 24-hour, seven-day service. The
website allows our customers to select the information they require
according to needs and levels of expertise. (An aside: as a board
director of an outstanding and highly regarded communications agency,
I’d be amazed if you found the information on the website, designed for
a broad audience, anything other than a little simplistic!) I’m upset
that you had a bad experience when you dialled the number as this
campaign is about building client relationships. But to spin a benefit
from the situation, doesn’t it just go to show how internal
communication can have such a strong effect on customers’ perception of
a company? We really appreciate the fact you took the time to write to
let us know your feelings as many people wouldn’t.