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How To Speak To a Human at UK Delivery Companies

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How To Speak To a Human at UK Delivery Companies

Summary

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A frustration that plagues many of us is trying to speak to a human to get to the bottom of a problem we have. Sometimes there are a particular combination of key input and phrases you can say when calling customer services to speed up the process.

We contacted the top five most complained about parcel delivery companies, according to the Citizens Advice, to discover how long on average it takes to talk to a human. The team also uncovered the quickest ways to bypass systems to avoid the dreaded hold music.

Key findings

  • Yodel has the highest average time out of all parcel delivery companies analysed with it taking 16:21 minutes to get through to a human
  • DPD has the shortest wait time to wait to talk to a human at 2:20 minutes
  • Evri only allows one call with a human per parcel, with any calls after directing you to the website
  • DPD failed to deliver the parcel to the correct recipient and it was returned to the sender by the person who received it by mistake
  • Evri's call bot frequently struggles to understand verbal dictation for reference numbers
  • 9 a.m. is the best time to call parcel delivery companies, with the exception of Amazon Logistics

The UK's 5 most complained about parcel delivery firms

The top five worst-performing parcel firms in the UK according to complaints made to the Citizens Advice Bureau are as shown below [1].

The top five worst performing parcel firms in the UK

Credit: Citizens Advice

Evri came first for a second year running, scoring only 1.75 stars out of a possible five. Whereas Yodel gained the lowest rating score on any criteria, with just 1.70 for customer service.

Royal Mail scored the highest, removing Amazon from fifth place and bettering their score from the previous year with three stars overall. However, it’s worth noting that none of these major delivery companies achieved a four or even five-star service overall.

So with that in mind we set out to discover the average time it takes to get through to a human when you call these companies up, and tried to uncover any ways to speed the process up.

Longest time taken to successfully speak to a human at parcel delivery firms

With parcel reference numbers in hand we called each company three times throughout a day at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. to calculate the average time it took to speak to a human rather than a bot. Calls were not made on Fridays and weekends to ensure peak times didn't unfairly influence the data.

The results show that Yodel has the highest average time to successfully talk to a human at 16:21 minutes, whereas DPD has the shortest time to wait to talk to a human at 2:20 minutes.

The avergage time it takes to speak to a human at a parcel delivery firm.

Time taken to successfully talk to a human at top parcel delivery firms

We called each individual parcel delivery company three times on the same day to ensure we took peak times into account to give an average wait time.

The time it took to speak to a human at a parcel delivery firm

Yodel was shown to have the longest average wait time of all the companies analysed at over 15 minutes, 16:21 minutes to be exact.

Royal Mail took second place with an average time of 13:24 minutes. Amazon Logistics followed in third place at 5:21 minutes.

Evri only let us speak to a human once after 3:16 minutes. After hanging up the company called back and registered a case number for the enquiry and reference number. This meant that on the second and third calls, we were unable to speak to a person as per their policy.

Despite having the shortest time to successfully talk to a human at 2:20 minutes, DPD failed to deliver the package that was sent.

How to speak to Yodel customer service UK

The average time to talk to a human at Yodel was 16:21 minutes, the most of all the five parcel delivery companies that we called.

The initial call at 9am took only 4:10 minutes to speak to a human, shooting up to 27:53 at 1 p.m and reducing down to 17:03 at 5 p.m.

We took the below steps in order to speak to a human.

  1. Called 0344 755 0117
  2. The call was answered by a bot
  3. Verbally confirmed ‘yes' to having a tracking number
  4. Provided the last four digits of the tracking number over the phone
  5. Verbally confirmed the postcode of the delivery address
  6. Verbally gave the full reference number
  7. Was placed on hold
  8. Call was then answered by a human

How to speak to Royal Mail customer service UK

In second place is Royal Mail. It took an average time of 13:24 minutes to speak to a human at the parcel delivery company, and it wasn't an easy feat.

The initial call at 9am took 8:08 minutes to speak to a human, increasing to 12:25 minutes at 1 p.m and increasing to 19:39 minutes at 5 p.m.

 We were unable to speak to a human if we selected the option to say that we had a tracking number. The alternative steps we took are as follows.

  1. Called 0345 774 0740
  2. The call was answered by a bot
  3. Hold for further options
  4. Selected option one for residential
  5. Keyed in option 5 for ‘anything else'
  6. Selected option 2 for ‘everything else'
  7. Keyed in option 2 for not conducting a survey afterwards
  8. Was placed on hold
  9. Call was then answered by a human

How to speak to Amazon Logistics customer service UK

Coming in third place is Amazon Logistics with an average time to talk to a human of 5:21 minutes.

The initial call at 9am took 6:48 minutes to speak to a human, decreasing to 3:52 minutes at 1 p.m. and increasing to 5:25 minutes at 5 p.m.

We took the below steps to talk to a human at Amazon Logistics.

  1. Called 0800 279 7234
  2. Pressed 3 to continue
  3. Was asked to verify account
  4. Verbally agreed to this by saying ‘yes'
  5. The bot waited while this was sent
  6. Verification message sent via SMS, email and on the app
  7. Clicked the link in an SMS to confirm
  8. Link directed to the Amazon site and clicked ‘approve'
  9. Bot said thank you for verifying the account
  10. Was asked to verbally describe the reason for the call “just like you would with a person”
  11. Verbally confirmed ‘Status of parcel'
  12. The bot did not understand
  13. Was placed on hold
  14. Call was then answered by a human

How to speak to Evri customer service UK

In fourth place is Evri with an average time to speak to a human of 3:16 minutes. No stranger to controversy in relation to their customer service, it's no surprise that we had issues talking to someone about our parcel [2]. In one instance a customer said that the courier set her property on fire in order to get a call back from customer service, before admitting the fire was a lie.

When selecting the option to discuss the delivery as the receiver we were not given any option to speak to a human at any point, resulting in the bot hanging up several times.

Once we selected the option as a sender, and the delivery was confirmed as successful we were then placed on hold to speak to a human. When we hung up, we then received a callback from Evri to discuss the parcel.

However, this kind of interaction is limited to the first time you call about the parcel as a case is then logged associated with the parcel's reference number. As a result, your access to talk to a person is taken away.

We also found that the bot we interacted with on the phone call struggled to pick up on the characters being read out, often confusing the letter c for t.

The initial call at 9 a.m. took 3:16 minutes to speak to a human, with us then being unable to speak to someone at both 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

  1. Called 0330 808 5456
  2. Verbally confirmed ‘yes' to track the parcel
  3. Verbally confirmed ‘sending'
  4. Answered ‘yes' to having a reference number
  5. Answered ‘no' to having a reference number that started with a number
  6. Provided the first three characters of the reference number
  7. Confirmed that these were correct
  8. Provided the next three characters of the reference number
  9. Confirmed that these were correct
  10. Provided the next five characters of the reference number
  11. Confirmed that these were correct
  12. Provided the last five characters of the reference number
  13. Confirmed that these were correct
  14. Placed on hold
  15. Call was then answered by a human

How to speak to DPD customer service UK

Coming in fifth place with the shortest average time to talk to a human at 2:20 minutes is DPD. However, the parcel delivery company isn't without its complications.

DPD failed to deliver the parcel to the recipient. In fact the parcel ended up stuck to another package and being given to a complete stranger who then returned it to the original sender.

Initially when we rang DPD we were told that they had not received our parcel yet and that our sender would be able to tell us once it had been dispatched. When we called DPD later about this the message changed to say that they had our parcel and it was on its way to us, which was false.

The initial call at 9 a.m. only took 1:25 minutes to speak to a human, increasing to 3:14 minutes at 1 p.m. and decreasing to 2:21 minutes at 5 p.m.

In order to speak to a human about our parcel the following steps were taken.

  1. Called 0121 275 0500
  2. Told parcel was not received as yet and to contact the sender
  3. Selected option one regarding redelivery
  4. Pressed 0 to speak to a local depot
  5. Was placed on hold
  6. Spoke to a human

Ringover quote

Discussing the study, Ross Slogrove, UK & Ireland Country Manager at Ringover, said: “Our findings show the importance of good customer service software, ensuring that people have access to a human to talk to so that queries and problem can be solved in a timely manner. Poor customer service not only impacts the customer experience, but your business overall with data from ICSS showing that poor customer service is costing UK businesses £11.4bn a month in lost productivity.”

Sources

Methodology

Using the five most complained about parcel delivery companies according to Citizens Advice, we sent out identically sized parcels using each service to determine the average amount of time it would take to speak to a human when we called their customer service line. The parcels were posted between 15th - 18th May.

The only exception to this rule was Amazon who we ordered an item from directly on 15th May 2023 to then be delivered by Amazon Logistics.

We called each individual parcel delivery company three times within the same day to take into account spikes in call waiting times and to give a fair time average. The times we chose were 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Calls were made between 18th - 24th May 2023, avoiding Fridays and weekends so that peak times didn't unfairly impact the data.

The times captured are from the start of the call until the point we got connected to speak to a human.

All data and phone numbers are correct as of 25th May 2023.

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