The other day, my wife and I wanted to have some chicken for dinner. Actually, I did, and my wife was cool enough to go with it. She ordered the chicken before I had arrived home. And my home is on the 5th floor of my building and our buzzer doesn’t work, which means I have to physically go to the front door and open it for guests. So I told my wife that I would just wait downstairs till the chicken arrived. She told me that it wouldn’t arrive for another 20-30 minutes, but I was cool with waiting. When the delivery guy arrived, he apologized a bunch of times and explained that they are really busy at that time. I told him that it was okay, because he arrived in the time frame he told us he would. Also, this guy looked to be in his 50’s or something, so I’m guessing he is part of a family business or may even own the chicken business. His apologies made me feel sad for him because he didn’t do anything wrong, but I can guess that someone may have gave him an earful. Maybe along the lines of, “my family is hungry, why did it take you more than 30 minutes to get here!” Who knows, but after starting my Flower business awhile back, I have been able to get firsthand experience of having to deliver goods to and for customers, and it’s not as simple as you think.
I totally believe that one major thing that people in every single country take for advantage is the delivery service. If you have never worked for a delivery company or had to transport goods from one place to another, you’ll never understand how difficult it could be at times. Most people will think that it is easy to deliver an item from point A to point B, but sometimes, and more often than not, there are some complications that will catch the delivery person off guard.
I remember when I was in the second year of running my small English hagwon in Korea, and I was talking to somebody about the challenges I was facing in building my business. And this guy was like, “it’s so easy, all you got to say is a,b,c and hello”. People around me laughed while I was unamused. I guess the teacher in me was not impressed with that comment. However, anyone with teaching experience understands the challenges of teaching, and if you add business to the mix, things get a little more complicated. But that’s how many people view the delivery service they use or wait on. People want a package to arrive on time at a specific time on a specific date. And they think to themselves, “how hard is it to deliver a package to an address at a specific time?!?!”.
The good thing is that most people in Korea are aware that deliveries may not be on time and can be delayed, but some people from some other countries can’t understand why a delivery would be delayed or that a delivery is unable to be made as requested. They don’t consider the fact that there can be a lot of traffic, a large volume of orders, a hard to find address, a building that does not allow people without an access pass into, or the fact that they have provided the wrong address or the wrong contact details of the recipient.
As you can see, there are a lot of little things to consider if you decide to start a business that requires a delivery component. Honestly, before I had to make flower deliveries, I would be annoyed at the fact that deliveries would be made during lunch or dinner time, or if the delivery guy delivered the goods later than I expected. Now I realize that something could have went wrong in the series of events. What most people don’t realize is that the delivery guy has a route to follow because he also has other packages, yes you aren’t the only one waiting for something, so not expecting to receive a delivery during lunch is quite entitled thinking, especially in such a busy country like Korea. However, if you request for us to avoid lunch, we will try to do that for you. Also don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe a delivery should be made in time if that is what was stated by the company’s, but I also know that sometimes things can happen. But some people can be unforgiving.
I know that there are businesses that deliver food, which I have never given much thought about till right now. They deliver hot food that is ready to eat. And if the food is spilled or is leaking over the bowl, what is your immediate reaction? It’s probably not you thinking about the obstacles the delivery guy had to overcome, it’s probably you being angry at the delivery guy or at the company for bad service. I know that there are a few expats that are running a food delivery service in Seoul, Korea. I can’t even imagine what kinds of complaints they may get. And obviously, if you are a customer, you deserve the best service and should be treated well. But I think a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t given much slack. And I believe this to be true for entrepreneurs in the English education industry. But then again, most people don’t really care about the entrepreneur’s feelings and it’s also something we entrepreneurs need to accept.
Delivering items to point A to point B can be challenging, especially at certain times of the day and in specific areas of Korea. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to experience every single aspect of my businesses because I have come to understand small business owners a lot more. And more importantly, on a personal note, coming to Korea and then starting my own business with my wife has given me a deeper appreciation for my parents who immigrated to Canada before I was born. I’m truly thankful for them for everything they have done and continue to do.
So do you plan on building a business or have a business with a delivery component? What kinds of problems have you faced? What are ways of dealing with the stress of delivering in heavy traffic in Seoul or other busy cities? I would love to hear from you in the comments.