We are an online retailer. We send over 1,000 parcels a week a large proportion of which are sent via Interlink Express. Others are sent via TNT and Royal Mail.
Over the years we've trialled pretty much every single next day small parcel national courier company operating in the UK (UKMail, City Link, DHL etc) so I feel that what follows is a qualified review. Perhaps moreso than the (understandably) aggrieved recipients of parcels delivered by Interlink who've been unlucky enough to experience poor service on the sole occasion that they've come into contact with Interlink.
For starters, no one is perfect. Interlink lose parcels too, but — from a retailer's point of view — they really work hard to resolve the issue and have retained a personal approach despite growing significantly over the last few years. For example, if we have a missing parcel case that can't be resolved by tracking online then we make a call to our local depot who are able to contact the delivery driver directly to get further information, regardless of location. This has frequently enabled us to resolve missing parcel cases in a matter of minutes. Just to put this into perspective, if we have a missing parcel sent via TNT then we have to contact a national call centre and speak to a customer service rep who opens an investigation and promises (on a good day) a call back within 2 hours. If we're lucky enough to receive a call back within 2 hours, it's usually only to tell us that they're still investigating. TNT are slow and impersonal by comparison and it leaves us twiddling our thumbs while our customer gets more and more angry.
I know Interlink is francised so I'm not sure how our local depot service differs from other areas but I trust that Interlink are established enough to ensure that standards remain high amongst all their francises.
On the rare occasion that Interlink has completely lost one of our parcels (just once in the last 12 months) we are able to make claims for the loss quickly and easily. By comparison, we also send a large volume of parcels via Royal Mail Tracked which, despite being a tracked service, results in a much larger number of missing items. We currently have 14 outstanding claims with Royal Mail dating from November '13 to January '14 and the claims process for Royal Mail is unbelievably complicated and undoubtedly designed to put most people off from claiming for missing items. The number of things required to make a successful claim from Royal Mail is utterly mind boggling; we're talking supplier invoices to prove product purchase prices as well as copies of all scanned collection manifests and evidence of posting. Royal Mail then send a letter to our customer asking them to confirm that an item they ordered has not been delivered. The customer needs to respond in writing to confirm this. Of course, in the mean time we've sent out a replacement item to ensure that the customer is happy and, as such, the customer will likely disregard the Royal Mail letter. If Royal Mail don't receive a response from the customer, they don't pay compensation to us. It's an utterly ridiculous situation.
The best thing about Interlink however is their technology. Next Day parcel delivery is a competitive business and all the big players are constantly raising the bar by introducing new parcel tracking features that make it easier for our customers to know when to expect their parcel. Interlink are top of the pile in terms of this technology though. Our customers get emails and text messages with estimated delivery times to within 1 hour. Customers are able to rearrange delivery for another day or ask the driver to leave with a neighbour all via their phone or computer without having to contact us. Customers can even track the delivery van online to see exactly when their delivery is due.
Whilst the majority of the big courier companies are aiming towards this level of service, I don't believe that any have so far achieved what Interlink have done both in terms of features and implementation. All our customers receive nicely designed responsive HTML delivery notification emails from Interlink that contain our company logo and details of tracking number and delivery time.
I've seen what UKMail and City Link are doing by comparison and it's nowhere near as smooth.
In summary, I would strongly encourage retailers to trial Interlink.
James Anelay found this review useful
The prices are great and will keep me coming back. BUT...
When I write the following, bare in mind that I also manage a online mail order business. This is constructive criticism.
1) PharmacyFirst.co.uk don't know how to pack things. It beggers belief.
I ordered 10 heavy bottled fluids (shampoos, shower gels etc, approx 2-3kg in weight). PharmacyFirst.co.uk threw all these items into a cheap jiffy bag without securing any of the items together.
What happened? Of course the jiffy bag arrived damaged, opened and with items falling out. Royal Mail had tried their best to rebag the package but with little effect. I would normally blame the delivery company for damaging a package in transit but on this occasion it was blatantly obvious that PharmacyFirst.co.uk had not packed the order properly at all.
This was my second order, and the second time that the goods arrived with poor and damaged packaging so it's not an exception sadly.
All I would say to whoever is running the dispatch department at PharmacyFirst.co.uk ...
BOXES. Use bloody BOXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not rocket science.
2) From placing the order to dispatch takes FOUR working DAYS. In Pharmacy First's defence, they don't claim to dispatch orders same day/next day and I was aware of this when I ordered. But this is e-commerce, and however you look at it, 4 days to process an order is bad. Our customers would be leaving in droves if we treated their orders this way.
3) No warning about out of stock items. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. The package just arrived a week after ordering with items missing and a note on the invoice saying "sorry, we'll refund you". Not the end of the world... but not exactly great customer service.
In conclusion... PharmacyFirst.co.uk ... love the prices, hate the service.
Been with SagePay since January 2009. More and more often the service is going down which leads to failed transaction after failed transaction. Incredibly damaging to our business, not because we lose the immediate sale but because we lose the confidence of the customer altogether.
The service failed in early March, it's now failed again (mid March). As I'm writing this I've watched over 30 failed transactions rack up via our admin panel.
Take mine and everyone else's advice here. Don't use SagePay.
We're moving to a more reliable payment provider as soon as possible.
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