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WH Smith & Post Office, Forest Hill
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nosthetruth


Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #41
19-02-2008 05:27 PM

i know that there obviously will be people who complain about the post office being in whsmiths but if people would think about the following 2 points they would see it is going to be a benifit- first they are now open till 5.30 on a saturday and the second is although the p/o doesn't open till 9.00 the shop opens at 7.30am so no more waiting out in the rain- at the old p/o it could thunder down and they wouldn't let you in, obviously the management wouldn't expect people to be waiting in the shop for hours for it to open but at least it will be dry and warm to wait in, but lets wait and see how long it will be before people start abuse that

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Snazy


Posts: 1,504
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #42
19-02-2008 06:04 PM

Shocked at the service quality, and lack of job knowledge!
Took about 4-5 mins to send a simple package 1st class.

Not convinced it was the right move just yet.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #43
20-02-2008 09:38 AM

You say shocked at product knowledge. I had assummed staff at PO would be the same as old PO. Is this not correct

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #44
20-02-2008 11:29 AM

brian Wrote:
You say shocked at product knowledge. I had assummed staff at PO would be the same as old PO. Is this not correct


I think most of the counter staff are new and some are quite young, so some latitude may be required until they are settled. The people who have served me have been inexperienced but polite, which makes a change from previously!

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #45
20-02-2008 11:54 AM

Yes, I think the staff are now employed by WHSmith rather than the PO, aren't they?

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Snazy


Posts: 1,504
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #46
20-02-2008 11:59 AM

brian Wrote:
You say shocked at product knowledge. I had assummed staff at PO would be the same as old PO. Is this not correct


Didnt know the various options for sending a small package, i.e parcel, 1st class, special etc...
Surely if they dont know those basics, what else dont they know.

Not knocking them, they are trying, just think its poorly planned out, and the only people it affects are the consumers.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #47
20-02-2008 01:35 PM

I found the staff at the old post office always to be very helpful and polite, with excellent customer service. (I've yet to visit the new one in Smith's so will reserve judgment, but found there to be a strong contrast in that Smith's staff - especially upstairs - generally being surly and unwilling to help.)

Unless they voluntarily took redundancy or retirement, I would have thought that their jobs would have been protected under the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) rules.

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NewForester


Posts: 377
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #48
20-02-2008 04:19 PM

I asked the previous workers if they were transferring to the new PO and was told that they all had to reapply for their jobs as they would now be WHS employees, not PO staff.

I haven't seen one familiar face there yet.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #49
20-02-2008 05:10 PM

Under TUPE, they would become WHS employees, but should not have to have reapplied for their jobs - just automatically transfer across, with protected terms and conditions.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #50
20-02-2008 05:16 PM

Oh I assumed would still be run by Post Office just renting space from WHS. I apologise.
Guess we need to give them time to learn the job

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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #51
22-02-2008 03:53 PM

Visited today for the first time. Found the staff helpful and polite - but learning on the job. The environment is much more pleasant than the old PO with the relatively open counters a pleasant change.

I believe that although the staff wear PO uniforms they are employed by WHS on WHS terms and conditions. The former PO staff were offered the opportunity to take up jobs with WHS (on WHS terms), transfer to another PO or take redundancy. I believe most took the last option. I'm sure that WHS terms aren't nearly as good as the PO, but then WHS isn't losing half a million pounds a day. If the deal between WHS and the PO results in us having a more secure PO then I'm all for it.

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #52
24-02-2008 12:53 AM

nosthetruth Wrote:
first they are now open till 5.30 on a saturday and the second is although the p/o doesn't open till 9.00 the shop opens at 7.30am so no more waiting out in the rain-


opens at 7.30 am ?? Check the new opening times as posted on the shop front. Now opens at 9 am - and not at all on Sundays......just what you need from a paper shop!!

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #53
24-02-2008 12:55 AM

Which WH Smith *is* open on a Sunday?

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annsquire66


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #54
25-02-2008 09:40 AM

Hi,
I have several comments, being one of the former staff members from the old PO! Am slightly restricted by the fact that I am still bound by the Official Secrets Act so bear with any vagueness...
We were all offered the opportunity to apply to join WHS when the franchise was first announced (and indeed they would have been delighted to have us), however a 30-40% pay cut combined with all day working on Saturdays and fewer benefits unsuprising didn't appeal.
The TUPE rights were avoided by giving us a compensation payment broadly equivalent to what we would have received if we had taken the PO to court in breach of them. This was in addition to an attractive voluntary redundancy package. One lady transferred to an office that wasn't being franchised nearer to her home, the rest of us accepted the payoff.
As we had virtually all been there over 10 years (most of us 14-18), we originally joined an organisation that was primarily a customer service led government department. This has now become a sales orientated business which most of us were uncomfortable with, and for me that was my main reason for going.
I wish the new staff at WHS well, but have grave concerns for the quality of customer service in the short term- only because they are straight out of training school. It takes a good year or two to be comfortably knowledgeable in that job, and that is assuming you have the memory of an elephant!
We all knew most of our customers, and often did things outside our remit, especially for some of the more vulnerable customers as they frequently had no-one else to trust.
I was concerned to see a WHS staff member and security guard mocking of one such customer on the day the new branch opened, as the man hung around outside debating out loud whether he would be ok in there- time constraints and the fact that he was not aware of their derision stopped me from seeking out a manager to make a formal complaint.
I am lucky enough to still live in Forest Hill and see many former customers, but my colleagues who won't were all sad to say goodbye to so many lovely people. We had many touching farewells...

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #55
25-02-2008 10:53 AM

Thanks, Ann, for giving us the clear picture - and thanks, too, to you and the other lovely ladies I used to see at the old post office - I always found the customer service to be top notch. Best wishes to you all in whatever you do next!

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #56
17-03-2008 11:49 PM

Me and the family were on my way to FH Station on Sunday. We had some letters to post. "I know", thought I, "we can post them at the Post Office, now at WH Smiths. Post Offices always have a post box outside".

wrong!

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annsquire66


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #57
18-03-2008 09:37 AM

thenutfield Wrote:
Me and the family were on my way to FH Station on Sunday. We had some letters to post. "I know", thought I, "we can post them at the Post Office, now at WH Smiths. Post Offices always have a post box outside".

wrong!


Apparently they have yet to be granted planning permission to install a post box outside, and are not 100% sure they will get it either!
I also heard on the grapevine that the lack of open counters (causing huge queues) is WH Smith's choice, not their staff's... Alienation of goodwill versus business costs clearly does not add up for them!

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #58
18-03-2008 03:13 PM

Whilst I support 100% the desire to maintain post offices , I am somewhat baffled who uses them.
Stamps are on sale in many outlets.
Pensions etc paid into bank accounts for years.
What exactly do they sell that you cannot get elsewhere.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #59
18-03-2008 03:20 PM

Well, if you want to post anything bigger than a letter, for a start.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #60
18-03-2008 03:33 PM

Or pay cheques into the numerous banks which don't have branches in FH...

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