Last week I had to send a letter via DHL to Mozambique. I thought this was a small task and would cost me half an hour. I could not have been more wrong as it cost me actually a few days.
First I did go to a DHL Service Point, as I thought that would be the easiest way to do it. However, they told me that they only process packaged inside The netherlands and not abroad. The employee recommended me to go to the local post office. Clearly he had no confidence in his own organization.
Then I did go to the DHL website and did find a number to call. The customer service person helped me fine and recommended me to use the web instead of the phone, as that would be 20% cheaper. I had to use their application called 'Ship Now'. Midway into the application I could not proceed to the next screen as one button didn't work. So, I did try two different browsers, only to find out that they all had the same problem. So, I called again, but it was weekend and the e-commerce customer service people are not working during the weekend! Interesting. On Monday I called again and the CS person immediately understood the problem. Many customers are calling about this problem. He knew how to solve it. So, I did ask why they hadn't fix the bug on the site. His answer was that management had decided to retire that product and so they would no longer invest in it.
Also he gave me a good tip, to book the order at around 2.30pm. The reason is that you have to stay at home for the pickup between 8am and 6pm. So, if you book later in the afternoon (but before 3pm, otherwise your order will be processed the next day) you less time to wait for the pick-up.
Anyway, I proceeded with my order and at the end I had to print the labels. That didn't work either because the file that they had sent was corrupt.
With a lot of perseverance and tolerance, I managed to send the letter to Mozambique. It is clear that DHLsees the customer as nuisance. It looks like you have to be very grateful as a customer that they are willing to serve you. Product-centricity rules customer centricity, still! By the way this was also the case with FedEx. When I did call them in the weekend I only get an answering machine, as there was nobody available in the weekend.
These old mammoths will not survive the new way of doing business. I expect that a new player is already in the works who will beat them on customer service and customer-centricity!
Are you really caring about your customer?
GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!