SingPost to improve service standards after being fined $100k for lapses

FILE PHOTO: SingPost

SingPost has been fined S$100,000 by Singapore’s InfoComm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for failing to meet service standards on delivering letters and registered mail in 2017. This is the national postal agency’s heaviest fine to date.

IMDA said in a media statement on Thursday (7 February) that SingPost was found to have not met its Quality of Service (QoS) standards on nine separate incidents in 2017.

The authority added that, when meting out the fine, it took into consideration that this was not the first time SingPost had failed to comply with QoS standards, and the margin of failure was “significant” compared to its previous instances of non-compliance.

SingPost announces measures to improve

In response, SingPost accepted the financial penalty, and has announced immediate measures to improve service quality, as part of a broad review of its postal operations.

The measures include:

  • Increasing the postal delivery workforce by hiring an additional 100 postmen and redeploying 35 mail-drop drivers to become full-time postmen;
  • Enhancing postmen’s remuneration with incentives for successful deliveries of trackable items to the doorstep, as part of a broader salary structure review to ensure better remuneration;
  • Extending mail delivery slots to weekday evenings and on Saturdays, with overtime pay for postmen who volunteer for these after-hours slots;
  • Adding dedicated counters and staff at post offices for parcel collection.

Paul Coutts, SingPost’s group chief executive officer, said in a media statement on Thursday: “We deeply apologise to our customers for our service failures. We have heard their complaints and feedback; we feel their frustrations and seek to win back their trust.

“The immediate measures we are announcing today will address the most pressing issues and provide improvement in service quality over the next three to six months. Please bear with us as we look into longer-term measures that address other issues that customers have raised.”

Postmen’s skill-set to be upgraded

SingPost added that it is ensuring that its postmen are equipped to handle the rise of e-commerce, which has significantly increased the postmen’s workload, with the surge in volume of package deliveries being made to doorsteps instead of via letter boxes. During the seasonal e-commerce surge in the last few months, each postman carried out between 50 and 60 doorstep deliveries per day.

In view of this, SingPost is working with government agencies and the Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore (UTES) to upgrade the postal workers’ skill-set and significantly expand its workforce.

Gaps in SingPost’s processes: IMDA

SingPost had failed to meet IMDA’s QoS standard of 99 per cent delivery of local basic letters within the Central Business District by the next working day in May 2017.

Furthermore, in the same year, it also did not meet the QoS standard of achieving 100 per cent delivery of local basic letters by the second working day for five months, and 100 per cent delivery of registered mail for three months.

Aileen Chia, IMDA’s deputy chief executive and director-general (telecoms and post), said: “IMDA expects SingPost to deliver reliable public postal services to consumers and businesses, in compliance with its licence obligations.

“The recent service lapses by SingPost indicate gaps in its processes and we require them to implement measures urgently to meet the public’s evolving postal needs.”

IMDA is currently assessing SingPost’s QoS for 2018 and will publish the results by mid-2019.

Separately, it is also investigating the 29 January incident of a postman discarding mail, and will take  firm action against such behaviour as it is an offence under the Postal Services Act.

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