CAMPAIGN DIRECT: SHOPPING WITH CAMPAIGN - Royal Mail

THE BUYER - Tim Bonnet, Tequila Payne Stracey

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.’

Result.



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

receiver.



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 goods.



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

Tim’s comments.



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

commercial.



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

roll-out.



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

after.



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.



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