I like new toys. Who doesn’t. Most courier services offer online tracking to reduce the load on their call centers, but it also adds value. I might not call several times a day to watch the progress of my new toy, but I certainly keep a tab open on my web browser for that purpose…
But today I noticed something on Canada Post’s tracking page:
Please note that this is the most up-to-date information available in our system. Our telephone agents have access to the same information presented here.
It’s not that this information is a surprise. While at some level, I hope the organization has a slightly better idea of the location of its packages than is displayed on its website, it’s also fairly plain that anything you let your outsourced callcenter look at is easily enough put on the web.
So… what’s the deal? My read of this paragraph is that so many people think that the website must be wrong — because there’s so little tracking information — that they call the call center and cause extra load and cost to Canada Post … enough so that they feel that they need to say this on their tracking page. Wow.
It is bad. The tracking site seems to display when someone paid for their postage (the package ID is in the system) and then often there are no updates until after it is delivered. My last package was stuffed into my mailbox for most of a day before any change in its status on the online tracking system. If you know supermailboxes, the whole front opens for the post guy to insert mail… then each individual door opens for the mailbox owner. The problem is that the package was exactly the size of the slot — which is a few millimeters larger than the individual door. I had to cut the package out of the box with my Swiss Army Cyberknife. Don’t leave home (even for a minute) without it (even to get the mail).
I suppose it’s bad enough that Canada Post no longer delivers to your door, but the supermailboxes are an embarrassing travesty. All the other courier services deliver to my door. All the other courier services do tracking right. I suppose the point is: they’re all more expensive.
When I bought a cisco switch on eBay and had it shipped to Amsterdam, I was able to see many of the steps it took. Looks like a lot of air freight is going through Dubai these days. Maybe this has something to do with the recent spat between the UAE and Canada.
One reason for the modern tracking systems is to assure customers that their packages are safe and properly cared for. Another reason is that the technology that enables them is inexpensive and getting cheaper by the minute. Yet another reason is that the same technology helps monitor your employees — that they are using their time effectively. Hrm. Is this a union thing, Canada Post?