Monday, 28 October 2013

Great Business Going Pathetic: Case Study- Mercury Express Logistics


I am not in the habit of calling out businesses for their crappy service but Mercury Express Logistics have provoked me beyond breaking limit. It actually pains me to write this piece because I am a supporter of businesses that are doing something good. It is a business that is providing us an opportunity to purchase goods from the United Kingdom, United States of America, India and South Africa and having them delivered in Zambia. Mercury Express Logistics took advantage of a problem, most sellers abroad would not ship to Zambia, however, Mercury have made that possible. Items are shipped to Mercury in the respective countries and they in turn bring them to Zambia. It is supposed to be a fairly straight forward logistical issue. Mercury used to provide an efficient service, the goods would get here within the stipulated time, and they would even send you a text that your items have arrived, that was once upon a time.

 

Mercury Express Logistics have in recent months been the source of my many frustrations. It is an annoyance that the management appear to have repeatedly ignored. I have purchased many items online from Ebay UK and used Mercury to deliver them. To the best of my knowledge there were three direct flights from the UK on a weekly basis before British Airways suspended their route to Lusaka. So I would expect to receive my items at the latest within two weeks. However, rarely have my items arrived within two weeks. It took months for my items to get here.  This is only part of the problem. When I call Mercury to inquire if the item has arrived I am put on an endless hold. When I pay them a visit, I am asked to write my name down and it takes close to 45 minutes for someone to come and tell me that my item hasn’t arrived. If you are expecting multiple items they will perhaps come out with one item and tell you that the rest have not arrived when you bought them at the same time. I am still baffled. I am then told they will send me text messages when the other items arrive which they never do. At the point of writing this piece items I had purchased over a month ago, have not yet arrived. I have wasted fuel, time, stress levels have gone up and I have further lost business as a result of the items not arriving on time.

 

Just in case you may think that I am exaggerating read some of the comments from other people who have used their service and judge for yourself lest am accused of being this bitter chap.
 





 
 
 


The terrible customer service currently being provided by Mercury is one that needs to be addressed urgently before it leads to their collapse. I would advise them to heed Sam Walton’s advice, “There is only one boss. And he can fire everyone in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Therefore, these are my suggestions for Mercury Express Logistics

1.      Don’t Take the Customer for Granted

Just because Mercury may be blossoming with business and they are considerably cheaper than the rest of the competition they must not allow that to get to their heads. At this point I am willing to pay an extra K20 with any other provider as long as I am assured that my item will arrive within the stipulated time. They should not for a moment think that they are irreplaceable currently there is Post Couriers, FedEx, DHL and others who are coming up. We may soon forget the name Mercury Express Logistics.

2.      Expand and Hire If Traffic Increases

From the clear look of things Mercury have way too much business and they seem to be overwhelmed that they are unable to handle it. They to do not have enough staff to handle the calls, go search for the packages besides this their storage facilities have become inadequate. Despite them still having a large yard and enough expansion space I wonder why they cannot expand the facilities they currently have.

3.      Invest in Technology

Mercury is still using Stone Age methods of looking for packages when you go there. You write your name on a piece of paper, someone spends thirty minutes looking for your item before returning to tell you that they could not find it. Hello this is 2013. It is as if Mercury have never heard of a device called a computer and software. What should be done is that you provide your name, they search in the computer if your item is there or not. And we all move on with our lives no time wasted.

4.      Small Things Make a Difference

In business it is the small things that can differentiate you from your competition. This is a tenet that Mercury seem to have forgotten. The simple text message was enough for me to be satisfied, because I did not have to waste my time and fuel going to Mercury when my item has not arrived. Then they stopped sending text messages for small parcels that I was expecting and now they have stopped altogether sending me any text messages. It is even no longer worth it calling their offices to inquire if your parcels have arrived, it’s a hopeless cause. They seriously need to go back to basics.

I may be one of only a handful of disgruntled customers, but my best advice is until they improve only use Mercury Express Logistics if what you are purchasing is not urgent, inexpensive and you have all the time in the world for the nonsense of a service they provide. At this moment, I have no further plans to waste any of my time or fuel for their lousy service. When someone decides to use the word Express in their company name, I expect the service to be express and not a situation where my item takes two months to arrive. Where is the difference between them and the Post Office? There should be a reason why I am paying more money. I can live with a few weeks delay as long as my time and money as a customer is recognised and valued by fantastic customer service. Mercury Express Logistics need to lock up, go away somewhere and really reflect whether they still want to be in business. In the meantime, anyone with the FedEx, Post Courier, DHL and DotComZambia contacts?

 

34 comments:

  1. What this article states is the Importance of Great Customer Service- At Dot Com Zambia we believe in doing business the right way and making decisions that are best for the customer even if they are not the best decisions for our bottom line!! We get 3 clients a day walking into our office saying they will never use Mercury again and they ask how we are different. This is what I say:
    1) We are an e-commerce company-that is all we do, not logistics, not publishing newspapers. Our job is to work with you, the customer.
    2) We have been doing this since 2006, we started out of the trunk of a car and a basement in the U.S. But we have grown by word of mouth bu loyal customers who keep using us and telling their friends. Today we have 3 offices on 3 continents.
    3) The offices in the UK and USA are our offices with our employees, not a warehouse at the airport, where someone throws your package in the corner without a care in the world.
    4) We use state of the art technology to connect all our offices, we know when your package is in our possession, when it starts transiting to Zambia and when it is ready for pick up.
    5) We have invested in technology, technology that other businesses are now licensing from us.
    6) We have simple rules that we follow like respond to all requests within 24hrs, provide notifications ASAP, set correction expectations
    7) We put the client first.

    Mawano Kambeu
    Managing Director
    Dot Com Zambia
    Plot # 30 Manda Hill Road, Olympia Park, Lusaka, Zambia
    Tel: 0979-993338 or 0968-545167
    Website: www.dczambia.com
    E-mail: sales@dczambia.com

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    1. Mawano, I will definitely be paying you a visit. I desperately need a reliable courier service. As you have rightly pointed out that customer service is paramount especially if that is your core business. It is sad that in Zambia few organisations value their customers. I hope when I use your services, I would be able to write a glowing report.

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    2. We would appreciate the opportunity to earn you business.

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    3. Dot. Com Zambia, use Mercury Express Logistics for most of their items

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    4. Anonymous, we have no affiliation with Mercury, so am not sure where you are receiving your information. But it must be noted that Mercury is an agent for a number of companies including UPS, TNT, Skynet etc (But it must be noted those operation are separate from their personal shopping business and probably explains why it is hard for them to handle all the business they have coming in).

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    5. Mawana, I have finally used DotCom Zambia services. I must say I am impressed. The item got delivered within the stipulated time that you indicate on your website. There was no drama and stress. I reckon I will be using your services in the near future and can recommend it.

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  2. I have had issues with mecury staff especially a lady called inonge who has a bad altitude towards work and only attends to to the some of us and bazungu.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, the issue of selective customer service is really an issue they need to address. I believe they can do better.

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  3. Pathetici pathetic pathetic....one of my parcels took 3months, yeah you read right. No words for them

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    1. Susan, 3 months. The annoying thing is that they resort to their default answer, "It is not yet here, we are expecting some stuff in tonight." Each time I go there that is the response I get.

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  4. Incidences:
    1. Mercury sent me text once. It said I had a UK parcel waiting for me. When I got there they said there was no parcel and advised me to only show up when they send a message. Like I enjoy dealing with poor service. As if I said to myself "Oh! I'm in the neighbourhood let me see if Mercury has anything for me."

    2. I get there, I put my name down. I wait for over thirty minutes as the person who initially took down my name apparently disappeared. I do not see how a parcel should take more than 3 minutes to find even in a manual system. Simply arrange the items in order. They don't even need computers to be efficient. Things were better before their renovated.

    3. This one was not even on me, but a client complained that they did not call him when his parcel came through. The girl there said she didn't know his middle name was so and so... if she did she would have told him about it already. This suggests that she only calls certain clients. The parcel address sticker always has the clients phone number on. Why should the girl be selective with who she calls?

    The other annoying thing is, they seem so busy there, but the work they put in is terrible. This says they have alot of dead weight.
    Other couriers services seem to only have 3 people running them, yet they are way better than this gang. Mercury makes the courier service seem like brain surgery. I bet I can do better on my own with a five year old and a pet cat keeping me company.

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    1. Anonymous, I think that is one thing that Mercury do not realise. They think our worlds revolve around them and we have nothing better to do. This is purely a case of revisiting the way they operate. I have also noticed how certain clients receive preferential treatment.

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  5. I have had more than a few challenges dealing with Mercury and it is so frustrating that you need to divert your urgent items to more expensive couriers to guarantee minimal hassle.

    I have used Mercury, FedEx and DotComZambia. The only company that has consistently provided me with efficient service is FedEx, of course the catch here is that their prices for small items is ridiculously high, however, I receive my items when I expect them and when I alert them to a problem they respond very quickly.

    I do hope Mercury reads this post and actually reforms their services.

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    1. Claudie, I also hope Mercury read this post. The already have an advantage of being cheap and well known in the market but I think they are letting that get to their heads.

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  6. Nice blog . I did buy my first item using mercury in august and after 2 weeks I went to check and found it. But now I tried and bought again bt ts nw goin 2 be a month nw been goin thr thy kip tellin me there is nothing tho I was aware of their falling online service even before buying the 1st tym. Lol imagine even the vice president came looking for his parcel as we watched him go without any parcel aswell. Its really a shame. Am. Considering using fedex or postcourier . and about dotcomzambia the guys are allover the net. But they too overpriced and no matter how much they try they can never win customers. Would advice them to bring in rates according to how heavy an item is that's how most couriers charge and not what they have paying 200 pin jst fr a simple phone and service fee of 50pin what for?? And oh mercury have since deleted their facebook page.lol in order to hide pipos negative comments from those who want to try them but aint awre of their now pathetic services

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    1. Anonymous, we appreciate your feedback and we try hard to earn your business, but always remember cheap is not always the best route, other wise this forum about Mercury would not existed as they offer the cheapest prices from the UK. But contrary to what you have said we have built a group of very loyal customers who have allowed us to expand.

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  7. Hi Anonymous, the Veep.lol. How I wish I was there to witness that. If the Veep can come and not find his item then what luck to the rest of us have. I think with Mercury, when you buy something it is best you put an allowance of over 2 months for it to arrive. And the deletion of their facebook page just shows that they are no willing to take the feedback to improve. They need the comments, apologise and make things better

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  8. LOL I was actually there when the Veep can in with his body guards,LOL!But seriously these guys think they are irreplaceable,there business model is easy implement by the way

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    1. How I wish I was there. I have however, noticed some improvement in their service after all this ranting.lol

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  9. I applaud you for this! The one thing that you have indirectly highlighted here, is that customer service in Zambia in non existent! I too, was shocked when I went there and was asked to write down my name and number while someone went behind somewhere, to manually check through parcels! Excuse me, the least you can do Mercury, is employ a school leaver who can create a basic spreadsheet, with the following columns: name, number, item description , date of parcel received. Simple! The other thing you have highlighted here my frustrated brother, is that generally we do not like to complain about poor / bad customer service. I believe dearzambia.com. was a great platform for such feedback but it has totally gone off track. It's time we stood up against these organizations that take advantage of us.

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    1. Please feel free to contact me directly. if we have gone off track I would certainly like to know why you feel that way and we can then try to rectify your concerns.

      Mawano Kambeu
      Dot Com Zambia

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  10. Has anyone out here in Zambia shopped online from the U.S. using GPS Logistics Couriers - Zambia. They look like they are new a company that is based in the U.S. and in Zambia as well. I like that they have real-time online tracking of their parcels and that they have a U.S. and Zambia contact number. Mercury has completely removed their Facebook page so its hard to say if they have improved their service or not or even if they are operating. I am really thinking about trying this company out, but I what to know if anyone here has had an experience with them. The company website is www.glzambia.com. Any feedback out there will be appreciated.

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    1. From what I have gathered they use already existing couriers such as DHL and Fedex which makes them more expensive. However, I would be willing to pay a premium for efficient service.

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  11. Dear Frustrated Brotha:

    This is an interesting blog. We have received inquiries on our service through your blog. Thank you. With regards to our service; yes we do ship using DHL and FedEx to Zambia. Since we ship very often to Zambia, we have agreements with these companies which allow us to ship parcels to Zambia at reduced rates. For example, to ship a laptop parcel weighing 10 pounds from Atlanta, Georgia USA, FedEx will charge you 325.06USD for economy and we charge you 159.84USD for the same parcel using international priority. As a result, our customers benefit from our reduced shipping rates whilst taking advantage of FedEx and DHL's efficiency.

    You can track one FedEx parcel with tracking number 798298024570 which our Lusaka based customer paid for on 14 March 2014 and dispatched on 21 March 2014 using our standard shipping at http://www.glzambia.com/fedex-parcel-tracking. You will notice that this item was shipped via FedEx International Priority and it has already arrived in Zambia. Our customer will receive this item tomorrow (24 March); exactly 5 business days from the time it was shipped from the U.S. For customers who choose our Express service, they normally receive their parcels within 5 business days since we ship their parcels within 24 business hours after we receive payment online and on Saturdays if the customer paid late on Friday and Saturday is not a U.S. national holiday. You can track this FedEx tracking number, 797617896046, to see how quickly we can get your parcels to you when you use our Express service.

    In the end, our prices are cheaper than using FedEx and DHL directly and our efficiency beats any current international online shopping company in Zambia. Unlike Mercury and Post Couriers, we actually have Zambians working at our GPS Logistics Couriers – Zambia location in the U.S. location who handle your parcels and in Zambia at our partner company, GPS Solutions Zambia, therefore, providing our customers with extended hours of operations and excellent customer service due to the time difference between the U.S. and Zambia. In addition, we insure the value of your goods up to 500USD and charge 2.5USD for each additional 100USD thereafter instead of asking you to come into our office in Zambia to pay for extra insurance on your parcels through congested traffic. Unlike our competitors, who will explicitly tell you that they are not liable for lost or damaged parcels, we are actually liable for lost or damaged parcels and this forces to provide excellent services to our customers.

    Thank you for creating this platform to enable us to clarify any concerns or questions people might have on using our services. Please email us at sales@glzambia.com so that we can offer you a discount on our published rates for your first shipment with us as a token of appreciation for directing customers to us through your wonderful blog.

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  12. thats the fedex you wil enjoy it
    C/O FEDEX ZAMBIA, ONE WORLD LOGISTICS AND FREIGHT LIMITED,
    KITWE HEATHROW CUBE, 2ND FLOOR, 9 ARKWRIGHT ROAD
    Colnbrook, Slough Berkshire SL3 0HJ
    United Kingdom
    any help 0968874447 how help,lets kill mercury together

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    1. Hi Allan, this piece was not intended to kill Mercury. Rather to help them improve their services. In the end all customers want is a good service worth the kwacha that they pay for. If Mercury improve their business out of the suggestions from this post then it was worth writing it.

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    2. Hi Allan. How does your service work? Do you have a website? What are your shipping rates?

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  13. Have there services improved I am looking for a courier to ship something from India. Its not to heavy. Who would be recommended as DHL is way too expensive for me currently.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, I would say they have improved. I use mercury for shipping items from the UK now with their new system in place it is possible to track the item. I am not very shipping from India as I have not bought anything from there yet.

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  14. Well, I wouldn't say Mercury is really improving. I bought an item from the US which was delivered to their US office on June 16. Up to now I still haven't received it. Each time I check on them they ask me to recheck the following week. Trust me, currently they are not worth your clientele, unless you've got all the time in the world to waste! And hey, they are so rude to clients!

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  15. Hello someone please help me out with FedEx UK and USA shipping addresses....I hear its K100 to pay for a phone that arrives hw true is that?

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  16. I agree with you guys about mercury & its services. But that's in the old days now. They have this "ishop service" thing that makes it reliable, cheap & fast. In the past months, I've used there service to buy goods from the UK and its great. With ishop, you are able to track your parcel immediately it arrives at their UK address to zambia. For more info go to: www.highstreetconect.com. Hope this will help one or two people.thnx

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  17. anyone know the address for the post couriers in kitwe

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  18. Mercury might have had some poor service before, but if you try them now you will definitely be surprised. quick response within 15 mins via mail. if you call its within 5 you get a response.

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