Post Office CEO Nick Read has told The Convenience Conference it has invested millions of pounds in a bid to improve its relationship with postmasters as the new boss tries to “right the wrongs of the past”.
Ex-Nisa CEO Read set out a raft of measures the Post Office is undertaking as it begins to repair trust with its postmasters.
It comes as the PO confirmed on 2 October it would not be opposing the appeals of 44 of 47 postmasters prosecuted for stealing money, in what has become known as the Horizon accounting scandal. The move means those 44 will likely have their convictions quashed.
Read told The Convenience Conference today: “My first priority was to settle the outstanding litigation that had undermined the trust of many. The PO apologised to those effected and committed to address the past by undertaking an ambitious and sustained program of changes to the partnership we have with our postmasters. This partnership is the milestone in resetting the relationship with our postmasters, the start of a long journey to try and right the wrongs of the past where we could, and put the postmasters firmly at the heart of our business.”
Read also said there was a need to make renumeration fairer for postmasters, confirming £37m had been set aside to do this following a six-month review.
Other measures include a non-executive role for a postmaster on the board, a £2m investment creating 100 area managers to support postmasters and a £1.2m training fund to upskill new and existing postmasters.
He was also keen to point out the benefits of including a Post Office within a convenience store. “Research shows 93% of shoppers are more likely to choose a store because it has a PO – that’s an impressive statistic and one hard to argue with when you’re looking for a footfall driver.”
Read added that his ‘top tips’ for incorporating the Post Office within a convenience store were to update the signage, use Google’s ‘My Business’ and engage with the local community by promoting services outside and inside stores and on local websites and social media.
“Focus on high-growth customers,” said Read. “Nearly a quarter of PO customers within a convenience retailer are high-frequency business users with 55% visiting at least once a week. So focus on retaining them with excellent service.”
The Convenience Conference has been brought together by William Reed brands The Grocer, conveniencestore.co.uk and Lumina Intelligence.
Register for free and join the first presentation at 10am tomorrow 8 October, ‘24 hours in a Convenience Store’. From 2pm a panel of winners from The Convenience Awards highlight the recipes for success. Hear from Conrad Davies, Spar Y Maes, winner of Convenience Retailer of the Year 2020, Phil Dickson, MD, Empire Booze, winner of Best Training Initiative 2020 and Victoria Lockie, head of key accounts, Nisa Retail, winner of The Shoppers’ Favourite Forecourt Fascia.