By Matthew Pearce
Emu Park Post Office licensee Kerry Kay has seen many changes over the years, but his dedication to customer service has never wavered.
Looking forward to a more relaxed schedule very soon, Kerry’s last shift will be on Saturday with the official handover of the business on Monday.
Kerry’s 52-year association with Australia Post started in 1969 when he was employed as a telegram boy.
From there, he progressed through the ranks, taking on roles as postal officer, postal clerk, postal manager and more while moving around the country.
“My favourite place to work would have to be Berri, South Australia. That was an absolute treat, I love South Australia,” he said.
“In the North-West, my favourite spot was Julia Creek.”
In 1997, he purchased the Emu Park Post Office and he’s been a fixture in the Capricorn Coast town ever since.
Kerry said one of the things he would miss most was the interaction with customers.
“I’ve made some lifelong friends, not only with staff but with customers as well – there’s a lot of customers that I’ve stayed in contact with,” he said.
“I’ve got to know a lot of people in town simply because I was working at a post office counter.
“Despite what people say, customer service can be a very interesting sphere, there’s fewer irate customers than people make out.”
Kerry said his career had provided him with plenty of opportunities.
“Wherever there was a challenge, whether it was relief work or a promotion, I’d lap it up,” he said.
“I said to my boss in Brisbane the other day, if there was a message that I could give to anyone that was working as an LPA (Licensed Post Office) licensee or with Post, it would be stop the negatively, just tackle things for they are and embrace it because it makes life so much easier.
“And you also manage your stress better that way.”
One of the defining moments of his was working in Melbourne on a project called ECS (Electronic Counter System).
“Up until then, everything was manual, we’d take a phone bill off you, we’d tear the bottom off and we’d book it up at the end of the day… and then we’d send it away in the mail,” he said.
“The ECS was the first model of an electronic counter system. That was really interesting for me and when I got back to Queensland, I went on the road to implement the ECS, which took a few months.
“There’s been a whole heap of challenges that Post has thrown at us over the years and I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed the whole time that I’ve worked for them, because of those challenges.”
While things have changed a lot over the years, Kerry said the basics of Australia Post’s role remained the same.
“We’ve still got to deliver letters and we’ve still got to deliver parcels, that can’t change much,” he said.
“What’s changed is how we deal with those parcels once we get them in our system.
“There’s ways we’ve made things more efficient, such as sending people texts and messages to tell them their parcel has arrived.
“And because everything’s electronic we can do things like identity and verification work and passports and tax file number applications now.
“Australia Post has got a very good reputation from the likes of the ATO and Passports Office in terms of how we handle our information and confidentiality.
“That’s why we’ve been able to get more and more identity verification agencies to come on board all the time.”
While he’ll miss the interaction with customers and workmates, Kerry said he’d still have plenty to do.
“I’m into Little Theatre so I can concentrate on that a bit more and there’s a lot of work to do at home, including the garden. That’s six months of work for a start,” he said.
“My wife and I will be staying in Emu Park, we have family and friends here and we’re a part of the community.”
Post Office Network acting state general manager Jason Cahill said Kerry was a fantastic example of the many hard-working licensees across the country who were truly valued by their communities.
“We thank Kerry for his work in various roles over the past 52 years and wish him all the very best in his retirement,” he said.