Your Questions & Answers - Support for Postmasters

Support for Postmasters

We asked members of our Retail and Franchise Network team, led by Amanda Jones, to answer your questions about support for Postmasters and flexibility of hours and product ranges.

We need more help and support to grow the retail. What are you doing additionally to support /to grow the retail business?
All Area Managers have been given training to support you and share best practice on the retail side of your business.  We have a number of tools available to support you, so please reach out to your Area Manager for additional support.

Subpostmasters are required see every customer as an opportunity which means the customers are loaded with a lot of information on most visits or asked first feedback. Is this still a right approach?
In order to ensure our customers are offered the most appropriate product, it is important we ask our customers suitable questions to understand their needs.  We are also seeing that those branches who are consistently talking to their customers about banking, we are seeing a large increase in their withdrawals and deposits.

Are there any grants available from post office. We are a very high footfall branch. And we need electric doors.
As an independent retailer you are responsible for the upkeep of your premises. We do not have any grant schemes running.

We have a great partner with the Post Office in our store and need to build on it eg through Branding, training & support. How can we get our branch to stand out more in store, think the old branding is poor and lets the store down and still no uniform for our team.
Your Area Manager can help make sure you are getting the right level of support for your business.  They can share best practice, support with product training and conversations that are effective to ensure the customer is made aware of the most suitable products for them. We have a uniform catalogue that you can order from – please speak to your Area Manager for a copy.  We are also testing the new branding in a number of branches, please contact your Area Manager if you'd like to explore this further.

Is there any training guide book available for us?
Since January 2020 we’ve been letting you know about all the different ways we have been improving the training available to Postmasters, new and existing. We’ve been informing you about the new e-learning modules, additional classroom courses and operational guides and work aids.  

With involvement and feedback from internal colleagues and Postmasters we’ve produced a “Postmaster Operational Training catalogue” which brings this all together in one place.

This launched in Branch Focus in July. View the catalogue here.

As key workers are we going to be offered antibody testing? And when?
An antibody test has not yet been agreed by the Government, so we will need to wait for guidance from Government on this.

Apart from the posters that have been provided by PO, we need something in place to help with managing people into the Post Office, as we try to queue manage as well as serving on both Post Office and retail counters. I am finding it difficult to do both and cannot afford to have an additional member of staff just queue managing.
All the research indicates that effective use of Point of Sale materials, showing number of people in store, 2m social distancing helps to eliminate most issues like this.

I wanted to know who ordered the PPE gloves. They should have checked the quality and the practicality and why did you send gloves with Latex when some workers are allergic to it?
We go through strict procurement processes which includes quality assurance. We also had to source items when demand was extremely high as we were keen to support the network as soon as practical. We provided £50 to every Postmaster to source PPE locally for the allergy scenario you refer to.

Questions about flexibility in hours and product ranges
We received several questions and feedback about flexibility of branch open hours and product ranges available in a local and mains model.

With regard to opening hours, we’ve been able to offer a great deal of flexibility during the pandemic and we hope that there will be a gradual return to something more normal. As we enter Autumn and Winter we would anticipate the busy build up to Christmas will mean customers will expect normal opening hours to be resumed.

In addition, we know one size doesn’t fit all and we recognise we need to be more flexible and make sure the availability of products is driven by customers and community needs, not by operational model. We have been making changes to accommodate requests made by Postmasters, for example last year, 500 local model branches went live with Travel Insurance.

All comments on this subject have been shared with our Commercial and Retail team and will feed in to the wider development of our future strategy.