A trackable letterbox delivery tool and a “Know Your Postman” initiative are two of the upcoming changes featured in Singapore’s 200-year-old national postal service provider SingPost’s overhaul of its services.
SingPost’s newly appointed Singapore chief executive officer (CEO) Vincent Phang told local media on Fri (31 May) that the changes aim to remedy the public’s dissatisfaction with the postal service provider after a string of lapses in its services, which were brought to light by netizens via social media.
The lapses have even resulted in the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s issuing of a fine of S$100,000 against SingPost in Feb this year for its failure to meet the delivery requirements of local basic letters and registered mail on nine separate occasions around two years ago.
The impending trackable letterbox delivery service, said Mr Phang, will serve to work alongside its current registered mail service, with the omission of the recipient’s signature as a requirement to complete a delivery.
Should the service be approved, a new paid service enabling customers to track mail items to letterboxes will be rolled out Oct onwards.
The “Know Your Postman” initiative, which will serve residents of Bukit Timah and Yishun starting July in a trial run, entails handing out magnets featuring a Quick Response code.
Mr Phang, who was formerly ST Logistics’ group CEO, explained that residents are able to get to know the postmen serving their specific neighbourhoods and will subsequently have the opportunity to provide feedback to the postmen.
“The postman has always been key to the whole delivery system and part of the social fabric … and we would like to engage the community in a good way,” Mr Phang was quoted as saying by TODAY.
While he acknowledged that certain individuals might misuse the initiative, Mr Phang stressed that “Having that kind of engagement with the customer is important to us. We will give it a go and see how it goes.”
Mr Phang also plans to invest in technology and automaton to increase the efficiency of SingPost’s mail-sorting process and to reduce the burden placed on its postmen, who he said around 1,000 of them are tasked to deliver nearly 3mil postal articles daily.
“There’s some cost (involved), but we don’t expect it to be material in impacting our business operation. Don’t forget, all this is meant to address certain productivity (or) efficiency issues – making the workload easier for our postmen and also addressing some of their pain points,” TODAY quoted him as saying.
Just last month, a netizen going by the name Fattah Kent took to Facebook to express his anger and disappointment towards SingPost for losing his parcel from Australia at their processing facility, which prompted netizens to share their own stories regarding SingPost’s delayed mail and parcel deliveries.
Earlier this year in late Jan, a postman was arrested following investigations into netizen Alyce Kathlyn’s Facebook post regarding unopened letters from government agencies such as the Land Transport Authority, the National University of Singapore and the Ministry of Health’s Community Health Assist Scheme being discovered in public dustbins.
Under Section 34(1)(a) of the Postal Service Act, it is considered an offence for any officer employee or agent of a postal licensee who destroys or throws away any postal article or anything contained within the article.
A similar case took place in Feb last year, in which a postman was dismissed by SingPost after he had confessed throwing mail articles into rubbish bins when confronted by a member of a public in a video that went viral on social media.
SingPost’s group CEO Paul Coutts said in a statement in Feb this year: “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,” he added.