Like many retailers, on too many occasions I receive my newspapers much later than our delivery slot.

We suffer from missing papers, incorrect returns credit and when calling customer services, I’m often greeted by a representative that does not provide me with any satisfactory answers.

The service is a problem that is impacting our business as we lose sales and turn away customers, whose routines are disrupted due to the unavailability of their newspaper. One customer swore to me that her coffee doesn't taste the same without the crosswords she does every day in her newspaper.

Absent newspapers have a trickle-down effect where I become the one in the firing line of questions from customers. It made me consciously consider how I react when faced with a disgruntled customer staring at me in disbelief that the newspapers have still not arrived at 8am.

I realised that I must communicate effectively and be apologetic, sincere, honest and helpful.

I take it upon myself to sympathise with the inconvenience this has caused the customer and make an apology despite not being responsible for the errors. I explain why it has happened and when we might receive the papers so that I can suggest a better time for them to return.

For my home deliveries, I can be grateful for having an exceptionally reliable paper man – Brian, who ensures that all deliveries are made regardless of how late we might receive the papers. 

I recognise that customers come to my store based on loyalty, and trust that their needs will be satisfied by us and I value their custom.

Our delivery situation may not improve anytime soon, but it is crucial that we continue to deliver a quality service to those that matter the most – the customers.