Staffing, Stamps and Matters of Taste

Post Office responds to residents’ concerns about Heathfield Terrace branch

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Why are the queues in the Post Office always so long? Why do they sell crystal ornaments but not stamps from the retail counter? And what are ‘ongoing contractual issues between the retail and Post Office sides of Heathfield Terrace branch?

These are just some of the ponderances put forward to the Post Office by a group of local residents who have been campaigning for improved services from Chiswick’s main branch.

In response Post Office’s Business Development Manager Rosemary Spoole said that she had discussed issues with both the Branch Manager at Chiswick, and the Area Manager for the Franchise company that currently runs the office.

She writes, “With regard to the items sold in the retail outlet, such as the ornaments you mention, this part of the premises are operated by the owner and it really is up to her what items she sells. Whilst I could become involved if retail items were considered, for example, offensive to the public, the matter of taste is of course subjective, and I can't insist that she changes her retail offer. In any retail outlet, one would assume that if items failed to sell, the retailer would consider alternatives that were more attractive to their customers, but I'm afraid that is outside of my control.”

The issues that are under her control, such as repairs to the entrance door she claims have been addressed. “Facilities to enable customers to check the size/weight and price of mail items have been reintroduced in two areas of the office. However, I am unable to insist that the retail counter sells stamps if they choose not to, for the same reason as above.”

She continued, “I have discussed staffing levels with the Franchise Area Manager and the Branch Manager as this is of course crucial to providing a good service, and am confident that this is monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure they meet requirements and that the standard of service is what both we and our customers would expect. This includes peak times, such as month end and plans will also be in place for the additional trade at Christmas.”

Ms Spoole said that whilst the Post Office does not use photoboards for the staff members, the Branch Manager at Chiswick called Mr Patel who “is always happy to speak to any customer who wishes.”

“I can assure you that I am committed to working with everyone at Chiswick Post Office to ensure that the best possible service is provided. I believe you aware that there are ongoing contractual issues which is why the retail and Post Office sides of the business are currently being operated separately, and you will of course appreciate that I cannot comment in any detail on this. However this does not prevent us continuing to aim, as I've said, to providing the best service possible, and I'm disappointed if you still feel that this is not the case.”

Chiswick’s main Post Office has long been a source of frustration for many residents for a great many reasons. However, through dialogue and communication there remains hope that W4’s dissatisfaction will lessen, although in time for Christmas may be just be a wish too far.

October 10, 2008