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My DHL Experience

Back in December, a few people I know shared their experiences of bad customer service with the courier DHL. (For those who are interested in reading those stories, I've given the links at the end.) Now, my own experience with DHL had been minimal and okay; a few times, I ordered items from companies that used DHL's Airborne service to deliver to my PO Box, and in all cases the items arrived just fine.

But after reading the testimonials referenced below, I became very nervous last week when I found out that the bank we've been using for Mom's estate account planned to ship some vital documents to my brothers and me via DHL. I looked into the possibility of the bank using another courier, but apparently the bank and DHL have a contract of some sort, and so DHL is the only courier they use.

So I resigned myself to the delivery coming from DHL, and I figured that this would give me a chance to praise DHL's delivery and point out that the previous testimonials I had read might have been aberrations.

You can probably see where this is going. Let me start off by saying that all three of us did in fact receive our packages last Wednesday, so in the end everything turned out fine.

However, in all three cases DHL did not deliver correctly.

My older brother had his package delivered to his home. DHL was supposed to ring the bell and get a signature. The courier did not do so; my older brother discovered the package leaned against his front door when he went looking because the package had not yet arrived. Given the importance of these documents, and the fact that anyone walking by could have taken the package, this was not a good thing.

My younger brother, who works in a university, had requested the package delivered to his office. Instead, DHL delivered it to one of the other offices in the building. Fortunately, Josh knows the people in the other office and was able to locate his package.

As for me...it's a good thing they provided tracking numbers.

I requested the package be delivered to my office, and I included my company name and our mailroom floor in the address. The way package delivery works at my company is that everything gets delivered to the mailroom, and then the mailroom staff distributes the packages throughout the morning. By 11 am, they're usually done. (And if I may say so, the folks in our mailroom do an excellent job of getting packages to the other employees as soon as possible.)

Since I had the tracking number, I was able to see that the package had been delivered by 8:38 am, but the name listed as signing for it was an unfamiliar one. I waited for our mailroom staff to deliver the package, but by 11 am it had not yet shown up, and one of the mailroom staff had told me that he had not seen a DHL package for me.

So I went down to our mailroom to ask the staff about it. They didn't have it, but apparently had some familiarity with DHL making delivery errors before. They suggested I check with the mailroom for the other company that shares our building, which meant going to a floor that did not belong to us and which I couldn't access with my ID. Fortunately, an employee of that company let me onto their mailroom floor, and their mailroom staff quickly and efficiently located my package.

In other words, DHL's courier assumed that a package meant for company X on floor 9 – and indicated as such on the address label – should be delivered to company Y on floor 3.

Again, had it not been for tracking numbers and the knowledge of my own company's mailroom staff, I might still be looking for this package of vital documents. All I can say is, thank God they didn't deliver it to an entirely different building.

Now, if DHL is true to form, some anonymous representative will probably show up here and attempt to reply, defending the company's performance. However, my LiveJournal is set up to reject anonymous replies. Let's see if DHL has decided to create their own LiveJournal account to make replies, instead of doing something like improving their service.

And to anyone from DHL reading this, I wish to point out one more time – all three packages had delivery issues. The only valid defense I can see for this is a sincere apology, and an explanation of how the company plans to retrain their delivery staff.

Links:
Bill Leisner's DHL experience
Keith DeCandido's DHL experience
Bob Greenberger: Jumping on the DHL Bandwagon
Bob Greenberger: DHL Responds
Tags:

Comments

Ouch! I'm glad everything worked out, but this is not efficient service.

The reliability of the delivery company is critical in my decisions whether or not to shop on-line, and I continuously come up against a problem illustrated by your introductory remarks: the person who experiences the service of the delivery company is the person receiving the delivery; but the customer of the delivery company is the person sending it. If it's a matter of deciding whether or not to buy from a particular supplier, you can decide to take your custom elsewhere, but often, as in your case, you don't have that option, so the delivery company doesn't suffer the penalty for bad service.
Wow.

I wonder if DHL has regional problems?

We've had no problem at all with DHL or UPS. We get lots of stuff via delivery service (Jim has this Amazon addiction). Things are sometimes a day late, but nothing's ever been lost or missing.

It'll be interesting to see how they handle all the Harry Potter deliveries this weekend.

I've never had any serious problems with UPS oe FedEx; and like I said, before last week my experiences with DHL had been fine. But after having read about those other experiences last December, I was on alert to keep track of my package. And it turns out, sadly, that it's a good thing I was.
We've had one horrible package experience with UPS - they refused to leave a package at our door even after we called and said that was ok, they allegedly held said package for us at their depot a good 3/4 of an hour drive from our house, and when we stopped there on our way to Boston they kept us there for an hour and a half looking for the package before we finally left (they wanted us to wait longer while they kept looking) and then it turned out they had put the package back on the truck, that was the third 'delivery attempt' and so the package was returned to the sender.

The only reason I would keep using them is that that is only one experience out of very large number of uses. But the main reason is I'm invariably the receiver, not the shipper, so it isn't my choice. :>)
out of full disclamer I worked for DHL many years ago while I was living in London. the leaving the package against the front door seems odd to me. When I did company oriantation they stressed that they don't do that and every package gets a signature if it is a sucessfull delivery.

I was a computer programmer there, but everyone goes threw the standard orientation, which includes a half day of going around with a courier.

I would be curious to know if their orientation has changed since you worked for them.

You might want to read the other posts I linked to about DHL. The other big problem people have had with them is that they've been unresponsive to complaints.
Well its been almost 10 years and at least 1 major merger since then. So it defintily could have. They even changed the colors (used to be red and white)

Also DHL USA and DHL are seperate companies, so it is possible that some policies are different between them. I worked in London for the Europe / Africa operation, I have no idea how the US side of things worked.

Actually I got to see a number complaints when I worked there. You would not belive how many emails we got that said "Where is my package" with no further information (Say airway bill, shipper name, consignee name etc) Our standard office joke was "Schenedey" (note we didn't say that to customers)

Also see loravarnion's LJ from about 18-24 months ago...
I've had plenty of bad experiences with FedEx and UPS (and the USPS), never with DHL (though I have hardly used them). Bottom line is they *all* suck, with UPS leading the suckitude IMO. Last fall, somehow FedEx managed to deliver a clearly marked package to a totally different, not even closely related address across the street, 1/4 mile away. UPS has had things mysteriously not delivered at all or delivered incorrectly, when claiming they were delivered correctly. USPS once lost a REGISTERED LETTER - exactly the service that is supposed to be the most iron-clad against lossage.
Back when I worked for Harvard, we only used DHL if we had to send something to a place that no other courier would go to (Haiti, the parts of Colombia that were controlled by guerrillas, etc). And the packages would take forever, and there would be all sorts of problems, but they were our only choice. And that's imprinted on me ever since. The only time I'd consider using DHL would be if I were shipping something into a war zone.
You must not question the methods of DHL. DHL delivers as DHL sees fit. Comply!

-a non-DHL-affiliated livejournal user

I don't know what the acronym actually stands for...

...but I prefer to believe that my campus is hosting the Michael A. Burstein Fan Club this week. :D




Re: I don't know what the acronym actually stands for...

Works for me. :-)
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