DHL delivery services

DHL – Missed Communication in the Customer Journey

[tweetable alt=””]”I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.” – Diane Sawyer [/tweetable]

I’m a huge nerd. So it should come as no big surprise that I was one of the many that contributed to the ground-breaking Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign (don’t judge me). And if you contribute, you get swag mailed to you. T-shirts, posters, blu-rays…all depending on how much you contributed. Well, I gave enough to get a few of these things (again with the judging) which led to my customer service experience with DHL delivery services.

It’s probably best if I break the interaction down into steps.

Step One – Yay, swag!

So I get an email a few weeks ago letting me know I have a shipment on the way.

“The following 1 piece(s) have been sent by SHIPPING DEPARTMENT of DELUXE MEDIA MANAGEMENT via DHL Express on April 25, 2014 using Waybill XXXXXXXXXX.”

Swell. I look forward to it.

Step Two – Oh, one more thing. 

On May 12th, I received a follow up email from Ehsan, a “Customer Care – Tracing,Certified International Specialist” (not really sure what that generic title means) and the first bit of communications since the product was shipped. This one was to tell me they required a buzzer number for my home so they could drop off the DVD. Now, I’ve had problems with DHL in the past in that their hours of delivery don’t really mesh with most of those people on the planet that work the usual work hours. Makes sense for business-to-business delivery, but I never really understood why this is the best practice. Anywho, my response:


My buzzer # is XX.
As packages generally have arrived while I’m working, it’s usually best that I pick it up (unless you can confirm a drop off between 5-6pm) – R”

Step Three – Wires crossed

I never, ever did hear back for an answer to my question…or to my email at all from Ehsan. No confirmation of receiving the email or that they could confirm the drop off. What I did get though was:

“You have a shipment coming to you from DELUXE MEDIA MANAGMENT in the USA that is currently undeliverable. Please contact customer service within 24-48 hrs and provide a buzzer number to access your apartment for delivery. If an address is not provided within this time frame the package will be sent back to the shipper. Thank you!” – Regards, Chemouia, Contact Center Advisor.

Um, I did tell you the buzzer number. As much as I love the threat and the very excited exclamation mark on the “thank you”, I was trying to be as accommodating as I could, considering that I was A) not really being listened to, and B) having to now call them to figure this out.

 Step Four – Old school 

I gave them a call, well with in my mandated 24-48 hour window, and talked to someone who helped me confirm the DVD was at the delivery centre and that I could pick it up the following day. She checked if they could deliver it but I shared my frustration at DHL’s delivery window. She didn’t argue and just made sure to alert the centre that I’d be there. Pretty quick conversation and she was fine. There to fix my problem and get me what I wanted.

So I drove out on my lunch break the next day to pick it up. Mission accomplished. Oh wait…

 Step Five – WTH?

The day after I had picked up my product, I got this:

“Good day Russel, This e-mail is to confirm that your DHL shipment AWB# XXXXX has been delivered. If you have received the package that is great, if not please contact customer service at XXXXX.” – Regards, Chemouia 

“I actually picked it up myself but thanks.” (that’s actually the short email I sent back)

3 Lessons Learned in this 5 Step Process

1) Listening is key. I was asked to provide information that would help with delivery, which I did. Followed by a question about their service. Both looked like they were ignored. To build a positive relationship, ensure your service both listens and responds. It’ll make me feel good.

2) Threats aren’t good. I’m sure DHL didn’t mean to come off with that tone but with the robotic nature of the email and the “if you don’t do this by the time we say, you’re not getting your precious DVD” does feel a little dickish when I hadn’t done anything wrong up until that point. Felt like a firm hand when a soft skilled correspondence would have sufficed.

3) [tweetable alt=””]Better communications within your organization will only benefit the communications outside your organization.[/tweetable] The final email that I guess was intended to put a bow on the situation, only made it worse as they were demonstrating that they weren’t really sure where I was in the process. Really confirmed by the “hey, if we did our job and you got the product, that’s great.”

I have no ill will towards you DHL, I just wish there had been more of a human touch to your correspondence (the initial email that didn’t follow up and the phone call were both great but beyond that…) and a reassurance that you know your customer journey.

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