Our blogs - #InsideOut

Building for the future

Filming the documentary was great, although I was very self-conscious! When I was walking around with the microphone on it made me think about every little thing I did or said. I hope I come across okay on the show.

It was certainly interesting having the filming crew on site when the building work was taking place. We had a lot to contend with. It wasn’t just a lick of paint – it was pretty much a rebuild, with walls being taken out around us.

Changing times

Over the past couple of years we’ve been working hard to reduce the loss our Crown network makes. A few years ago it was losing £46 million a year and now that figure has been reduced to £12 million. Ultimately we have to change – we cannot continue to be a burden on the taxpayer.

The last three years have definitely been the most challenging of my career. We’ve been investing in 300 Crown branches and working with branch colleagues to change the way we serve our customers, and it’s a huge programme of work.

The search for solutions

My job is to find solutions when a branch needs to move because of special circumstances – a postmaster who’s retiring or a branch that’s had an emergency such as a fire.

Every situation is different. I’ll do everything I can to find the right solution.

The documentary focused on three branches I’m working on.

In Kingsland, the postmaster, Jean, is 73 and wants to retire. I’ve known Jean for 20 years.

A moving story

We’ve had three Post Office branches in Crewe across three generations of the family. My last branch, Hungerford Road, was being remodelled as a Local and I made the difficult decision to move on to a new branch.

There were a lot of ties with Hungerford Road as my dad Neville had run it since 1977. I took over the reins in 1996. We won the national Best Post Office award in 2006 and dad was really proud – he’d come close to winning it a few times.

We are family

It was an honour to be invited to take part in the documentary. I’ve been involved in a couple of Post Office TV adverts as well, so I’d had some experience of filming before this. Some people have said I could make a career of it! I don’t know about that, but I’m always happy to help promote Post Office.

At what cost to our customers

Postmaster Carol Easton’s branch in Cromford, Derbyshire, is one of a number of retailers in the area, so it is a Local model rather than a Community branch. But her shop isn’t really big enough to be able to modernise and develop its retail offer, so a nearby retailer would offer the best solution. While she understands why, Carol says there are two sides to every story…

I do understand why the Post Office has got to change to become sustainable in the future, but my worry is at what cost to our customers?

I care about my customers. After all, it’s my community too.

The Post Office has always been there at the heart of the community – a place people know and trust. Some people fear that if a new entrepreneur comes in, it will lose that.

Before we relocated East Finchley, there was uncertainty in the community. The Crown branch had been there for many years. At both the branches I have taken on, the care and commitment shown by all the staff was plain to see.

There was concern that the customer service wouldn’t be as good with the new branch. Sometimes it felt like I was trying to win hearts and minds one at a time.

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"There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." - Madeleine Albright

#InsideOut - Post Office is Key to Unlocking Benefits of a Digital World

The position of the Post Office as both a physical and digital proposition offers consumers an integration of channels through which they can get the important things done. As part of our #InsideOut blog series, Post Office Communications & Corporate Affairs Director Mark Davies explains that as live experiences have prospered from the development of digital, not suffered, opening up face-to-face opportunities for consumers rather than closing them down.