Recall study – expectations vs reality

by Graham Dodd on 02/05/2019

Recently we declined an opportunity to tender for a local authority’s door drop requirements, because payment was performance related.

We chose not to participate because the concept is fundamentally flawed and does not necessarily reflect the quality of the service provided.

But how do you prove that to a client who from the outset includes such a clause in their tender?

Whilst we have faith in the door drop solutions we provide, we have said many times before, door drop is not a perfect science and even if it was, measurement will suggest otherwise.

Recently we published the results from the first of a series of control cell tests we have completed “internally”, i.e. we completed the distribution and the staggered backchecking process. You can read the results here.

The tender we opted out of had a two tier “measurement” process.

Phase one was the results of checks submitted by the supplier.

Really? On a performance based contract, would you expect the supplier to provide anything other than positive checks?

But, phase two was the result of internal monitoring of the Council’s staff confirmation of receipt (with no process disclosed).

We have been here before.

Last year we lost an existing local authority contract, which never really came as any surprise given the experience of the preceding year.

Our contact simply demonstrated absolute faith in staff claims of non-receipt and irrespective of whether positive backchecks were provided in the same roads, even adjacent households, was adamant their colleagues were correct and the distribution process was flawed.

Simple points such as colleagues would be at work at the point of delivery and the newspaper may well have been moved from the doormat by the time they returned home, never cut any ice.

Finally they agreed to participate in a control cell to measure recall.

Their staff distributed to an agreed area and then backchecking was completed in the same manner and timeframe as the rest of the drop.

The result?

The staff area produced higher recall than the rest of the drop, but by just 1.2%.

The recall level was very similar to the results you can access in the link above, proving recall scores will not match real distribution penetration.

What happened next?

Sadly, a somewhat alienated contact, who simply could not accept the backcheck results completed on his staff’s perfect distribution.

We offered to repeat the process on the next drop to once again compare results, but the next drop was after the contract went out to tender.

And then, in an amazing piece of public sector procurement, the Council directly appointed our final mile suppliers, at a rate higher than we quoted in our tender, which made their feedback as to why we had lost the contract very interesting!

Any client who works with us will know that we will always investigate complaints or queries and I repeat, given that door drops are not a perfect science, there may well be issues arising.

But don’t expect your door drop item to trigger perfect recall even on the same day as distribution, when as the interviewer, you can see it sitting on their hall table!

This article was written by...

– who has written 77 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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