Just as I was losing all confidence in courier services anywhere beginning with Blue Dart, they actually made a home delivery. Not in Kohima, but in a faraway Indian city. It was, as a matter of fact, rather laughable because the neat little packet marked from Dimapur was a shipment of Naga delicacies. None other than ten dried frogs. The frogs reached their destination safe and sound at 9 pm. The sender could track the shipment right up to the point when they were out on delivery. I have found out that delivering goods at night from door to door is part of an entirely normal workday for courier services in big cities, and all of them operate in this manner. I envied people living in the big cities for about sixty seconds on account of the advantages that big-city couriers offer them. Because every time someone sends me a packet by courier, the Kohima courier office phones to ask that I come to collect my packet from their office. If I don’t show up, they send the shipment back to the sender.
I think the shoddy service we get is to do with our culture of not speaking up even when we know we are getting the short end of the stick. We endure. We complain. But we don’t tell the company it’s not right of them not to deliver to our homes when they have already charged the sender for home delivery. These days, when I remember, I do tell people to send my packages by post, not by courier. When I forget, I get a phone call from the courier office again. There are various reasons why we should insist on home delivery, besides the fact that it is included in their services. Places like Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung, Wokha and all the other Naga townships have colonies that are easy to access. The geographical areas are not a challenge and the courier can easily cover this service as well. If they can’t do home delivery, they should refund the amount they charge for this specific service.
I wonder if anyone has ever asked why the couriers don’t give us this service. Leaving aside big cities, even Imphal boasts excellent delivery services from couriers. In fact, Imphal is definitely courier heaven as far as the Northeast is concerned. I quote my highly reliable poet friend Bijoykumar Tayenjam Singh who says:
‘There are many couriers operating in Imphal. They promptly deliver everything to the delivery address. Nowadays their services have improved dramatically. We can order anything from live plants to heavy furniture online. FEDEX courier delivered live plants I ordered online from Pune within three days. Some couriers even offer the option of payment of their charges at the delivery point, of course with a small additional amount for GST. My daughter sent eight big boxes full of books through a courier by surface transport from Delhi. The boxes were delivered within a week and I paid the charges at the time of delivery.’
Bijoykumar works as an engineer for the government of Manipur. He is an enthusiastic gardener. He adds that,
‘Some of the online stores even offer cash on delivery (COD) at Imphal, through their courier. There is a big competition going on. Unreliable couriers are dying out. We are fortunate that Imphal is connected with the rest of the country by air.’
How far is Imphal from Nagaland yaar? If they can do this in Imphal, courier companies in Nagaland have no excuses really.
Making small businesses effective needs the input of the customers: if the majority of customers are dissatisfied, the company would operate at a loss. Disgruntled customers are bad news for business. Can customers get together and give suggestions for the company to function more efficiently? Can the companies have the grace to accept these suggestions and work on them? It would be a win-win situation for both parties. I still believe we need courier services in our state. They can be a big blessing. They can be a bigger blessing if they could function like their counterparts in other cities. Amen. Let’s get together and work on our courier services. After that, let us join hands in applying for flights from Dimapur to the capital towns of all the other Northeastern States. If Imphal can do it, why not us?