Royal Mail misses First Class performance target

Royal Mail has ‘narrowly missed’ its target for First Class mail in Q4, having delivered 92.8% of that class of post by the next working day. Its target was 93%.

This ‘narrow miss’ also applied to the 2015-16 financial year as a whole. It delivered 92.5% the next working day, against a target of 93%.

Royal Mail sis do better with Second Class mail. For Q4 and the year as a whole the postal operator managed to deliver 98.8% of this class of mail within three working days. The target for this was 98.5%.

Royal Mail defended itself in a statement saying that the First Class results was “impacted by events outside its control”.

“For example, Christmas activity by consumers and companies now includes Cyber Week; it has become a significant part of the festive retail calendar,” said Royal Mail. “Christmas itself has always been exempt from Quality of Service regulation because of the exceptionally high mail volumes. Cyber Week, by contrast, can fall within, or outside the exemption period. In 2015-16, all of Cyber Week – from Friday 27 November to Friday 4 December 2015 – fell outside the exemption period. In addition, significant disruption in parts of the country due to poor weather and road closures impacted delivery performance during the period.”

According to Royal Mail is the 15-16 performance was adjusted for these factors, 0.31% would be added to the 92.5% reported performance. With statistical variance thrown in, the figure would be adjusted by another +/-0.1% and this would make the final figure far closer to the 93% target. The postal operator will ask the regulator Ofcom to account for these figures and it will also ask the regulator to include Cyber Week in the exemption week, regardless of when this falls.

Even so, over 7% missed delivery targets represents tens of millions of individual items and even achieving the 93% target would not please the thousands of customers who have been failed, even if it did ‘meet the target’.