The SA Post Office had a bad week last week.
Its website was down for several days, emails to postoffice.co.za email addresses bounced, and its domain fee was not paid.
When its emails and site came back online, we asked the Post Office for feedback on what went wrong – but it failed to reply to questions.
Calling the Post Office’s national call centre and head office provide futile, as numbers either just rang or did not work.
This critical failure to deliver even basic online services comes after Post Office CEO Mark Barnes said ecommerce is a potential revenue stream for the organisation.
As it stands, however, South African companies are steering well clear of the Post Office.
We don’t use them
MyBroadband spoke to several of South Africa’s top ecommerce players about their interactions with the Post Office, and all stated they did not use the organisation.
Raru stated that it does not use the SA Post Office, and it “does not plan to in the future”.
Makro provided similar feedback, stating that it does not use the Post Office.
For Takealot, the need for a reliable delivery service saw it acquire Mr Delivery in 2013.
Takealot, Superbalist, and Mr D Food do not use the SA Post Office – instead relying on this in-house logistics network.
Local online PC retailer Wootware is another company on the list of “we don’t use the Post Office”.
“We don’t currently make use of the Post Office for any of our operations. We use door-to-door couriers exclusively,” said Wootware.
Why this is the case
Wootware said that while the Post Office offers costs savings in certain instances, these are “often outweighed by the negatives – accountability, service, and delivery times”.
Is there a chance for the Post Office to attract local ecommerce players, though, as Barnes indicated?
“In order to attract customers, they first need to focus on their staff and internal processes,” said Wootware.
“Running lean and profitably should also be a focus, since this will allow them to offer a better overall service and improve their relationship with creditors, customers, and staff.”
“Previously, there have been stories about staff not being paid on time,” said Wootware.
“If the staff feel valued, are trained appropriately, and motivated by good examples set by management, then they’ll treat the customers better.”
Wootware said many people still rely on the Post Office, and it would be advantageous for all involved for the SA Post Office to make improvements to restore greater levels of trust in its services.