All Hailes to the top post office

All Hailes to the top post office

Lee Simpson
Edinburgh Evening News

STAFF and customers at an Edinburgh post office were celebrating this week after it was named the best in Scotland.

The Wester Hailes branch picked up the accolade in the 2006 Best Post Office Awards thanks to its friendly staff and ‘first class’ customer service.

The award brought with it a £500 prize and a commemorative plaque. Now the Westside Plaza post office’s nine-strong team is hoping to clinch the national title at a ceremony in London on November 16.

The competition began a few months ago when customers across the UK were asked to submit comments on their local branch to Royal Mail.

Deputy manager Alistair McGlade, who has worked at the branch since 1988, is set to bow out at the top today , as he leaves for a new job at the St James’ Centre post office.

‘It’s certainly great for me to go out on a high,’ he said. ‘This is great news for the staff as most of them have been here a long time and the collective customer care is first class.

‘I know a lot of our regular customers like having familiar faces behind the counter, which is particularly good as a lot of our work is based on the trust factor.

‘When we can spare a member of staff, we also try to have someone on the other side of the counter to help people out where we can, whether it’s with queries or filling in forms.

‘A lot of people like the personal touch and by helping them with paperwork before they get to the counter we can also help reduce queues and further improve the service.

‘A lot of post offices try to help their customers where possible but we do try to go the extra mile. I will be sad to leave the place as I have loved my time here – both working with the team and the customers.’

Colleague John Lockett, a clerk at the branch, said he was delighted when the news of the award came through.

He added: ‘It’s an achievement for staff and customers because their comments were genuine – they really think we are good enough to win the award. A lot of people take a pride in their local post office and they know we will always try to give them the best advice possible, even on matters not related to the post office.’

West Edinburgh councillor Ricky Henderson said: ‘Given that so many post offices are under threat, it’s great to see a post office providing service that is fully appreciated by the local community. It’s good for Wester Hailes to have a local facility performing to its maximum ability. Wester Hailes has a lot of things going for it and this is just one of them.’

Andy Bayfield, head of area Post Office Ltd, congratulated the Wester Hailes team. He said: ‘The branch has first-class customer service and top level sales knowledge and it is also recognised by its customers for its friendly and knowledgeable service.’

Ferry Road post office branch was also was also shortlisted in the category of Best Town and City Post Office Branch. The success comes just days after Tranent postmaster George Thomson joined 1000 postmasters marching on Downing Street to demand action on declining Post Office Counters business.