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?