Yodel is the UK courier company everybody loves to hate and official delivery partner of many of our top online retailers including Amazon.com. Just back in August, Mothercare and Matalan joined John Lewis in ditching the supplier due to overwhelming customer pressure. UPDATE: Yodel got in touch to point out that the reasons these retailers no longer work with Yodel are unknown and that Yodel does not believe it to be due to customer pressure]  — pressure that miserable customers are consistently applying across social media and Amazon’s own online sites begging Amazon to stop using the courier. So widespread is Yodel despair — and trust me, one bad interaction with Yodel can leave one feeling despair — that an Amazon shareholder wrote to the company’s investor relations department in the US to raise the issue, reported The Guardian.

For me, the current situation with Yodel hating online so clearly encapsulates the Outside In theme of Forrester’s latest book and upcoming Outside In: A Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London on November 6th and 7th. Outside In makes the case for customer experience as the most powerful driver of corporate strategy today. In fact, research shows that the quality of customer experience is directly linked to a companies’ profitability, making Amazon’s lone UK shareholder one savvy investor in trying to flag the Yodel issue to corporate HQ.

While it’s easy to dismiss online griping as a modern day irritation, alongside the old cliché that everyone is Tweeting what they eat for lunch, the reality is that complaints via social media are at the very least a great source of unsolicited customer feedback. Forward-thinking companies don’t just stop at the listening stage, though, and are systematically embedding the use of social technologies into their organization’s culture to facilitate exceptional customer experiences — from Best Buy’s well-publicized online Twitter reps Twelpforce to Neiman Marcus’ fun store-based scavenger hunts using Foursquare.

I’ll be running a workshop at the November forum on how to train your team for social success where I’ll cover:

  • What are the opportunities and risks of opening your employees up to social communications?
  • What are the various training options on the market today?
  • Which approach is best for your company?

This will include a live planning session where we’ll assess and diagnose where your training currently is, what you need to do next, and how to get there. Hope to see you then!

Update: Someone just told me that Yodel took legal action against Twitter in July of this year. This explains the disappearance of the hilarious parody account @NotYodel. I think you’ll agree this was an excellent use of Yodel’s resources toward the problem 😉