On the 16th of December I couriered a parcel to Rome by DHL, containing books (Job in Tourism Yearbooks) that had been ordered from us and were supposed to be used as Christmas presents. No shipment has ever been more unfortunate! A couple of days later they called us from the DHL office in Milan to inform us that they had been robbed, and among the stolen goods was the cheque we had made out to pay for the shipment. First setback: DHL was not providing us with a copy of the report of theft (which was only sent to us much later, in January) without which we could not stop the cheque payment at the bank. We eventually managed to convince the bank. A few days later our customer called us to say that the books had not yet been delivered in Rome. Alarmed, we called DHL, who quite efficiently (!) managed to video trace the parcel, and assured us that it would be delivered on the following day, which did not happen. I called Rome from the mountains, and our customer pleasantly reassured me: “Enjoy your holiday without worry, DHL has guaranteed they are delivering the books by tonight!”. The parcel was finally delivered … on the 29th of December.
DHL guarantees delivery within 24 hours; having taken 13 days (and having caused a financial loss), the very least they could have done was not to request the issuing of a new cheque (the previous one had been stopped because of the theft). On the contrary, in spite of all explanations (the story had by then become of public domain), they demanded a new payment, hinting at the possibility for us to request a voucher on a future shipment. It is not the amount of money that upsets us (75.80 euros) but the inconsistency of DHL’s behaviour. Given that they did recognise the loss caused, and the relevant procedure provides for the reimbursement of an equivalent amount, why force me to issue a new cheque and file an application?
This is a typical shortcoming of large organisations, which can, however, be remedied by a little good will. In services, customers’ satisfaction is fundamental, and this is where hotels generally excel. A friend told me that, at the Shangri -La Hotel of Hong Kong, a parcel containing expensive shoes, delivered first at a wrong room number and then taken to the legitimate owner, was reimbursed on grounds that the owner did not want the shoes any more, because they had transited elsewhere. Aside from extreme examples, however, we do admire hotel companies that endeavour to reduce their customers’ difficulties. For instance, an IT system is currently operative which allows all employees to report customers’ grievances even if they relate to different departments, to allow for timely intervention and improvement. If DHL operated in the same fashion, I would probably be a satisfied customer.
Translation of The Italian
editorial by Paola Praloran