On Monday the Australia Post Chief Executive, Ahmed Fahour told Neil Mitchell on his 3AW radio program that the critical state Australia Post is in is due to the decline of letter volumes and the great losses that the company predicts in the next 10 years.

The conclusion of his interview was that unless the regulatory change was made (regarding the cost of letters) the government would need to pitch in $6 billion dollars to subsidise the loss over the next 10 years… OUCH!

Why am I sharing this with you?

During the interview Mr Fahour went on to talk about the customer service standards that Australia Post live by. He proclaimed that they have a minimum score of 94% that their service standards need to meet and he has never known of this score not being met. Further more he went on to explain that if he could reduce his costs they would be able to deliver the service expectations of the consumer. It would seem that his last comment contradicts the service standards score that they have never failed to meet.

First lesson – when you measure service standards against a score is it realistic and taking people to an edge always or is it easy? Who sets the score?

Second lesson – Reducing costs is not the recommended way of improving service standards.

As much as I agree with Mr Fahour that reducing costs will allow him greater flexibility with staff ratios, hours of work, rates of pay and supervision of staff, I was a little surprised to hear that this was the ONLY focus discussed (on radio) in order to save Australia Post’s Parcel income stream from larger international competitors taking over the market share.

If we are going to be held accountable for business outcomes there are 4 areas that all employees are responsible for and all employees can add value to:

  1. Master your Craft – in other words be bloody good at what you do.
  2. Generate Sales – this is everyone’s responsibility no matter what the role.
  3. Reduce Costs – I think we have said enough about this one today, again it’s everyone’s responsibility.
  4. Innovate – challenge the status quo and always try and do better than before.

If businesses can embed a culture of employees where all employees feel responsible for the above 4 areas then greater customer experiences will evolve and businesses will be confident about a sustainable future.

So I ask you this question;

Are cost’s getting in the way of your business delivering exceptional customer experiences? If you answered yes then I challenge you further by saying; if you just focus on reducing your costs your competitors will eat you alive!

If you want to know more about how to embed ways of holding employees accountable for he above 4 areas then feel free to contact me.

Go and Inspire!

I need to say I have absolutely nothing against Australia Post, I wish them all the success and may we all see Australia Post continue to improve and serve us for decades to come.

If you are interested you can listen to the full Australia Post interview here.