Thursday, March 20, 2008

TNT Post Customer Service


I needed to mail a document quickly to a friend of mine in the U.S., and I went down to the post office yesterday to get it done. Dutch mail has been privatized, and the former monopolist is now a corporation called "TNT Post."

Leaving aside the somewhat odd name (why not "Anthrax Mail," one wonders), the company has a pretty good reputation.

Here was the conversation (abridged) I had with the guy behind the counter, which was good-humored throughout. I felt like I was in a Monty Python skit:

TS: I'd like to mail this with your fastest service.

TNT: I'm sorry meneer (=sir), our express service is closed for the day.

TS: Oh. Well, let's just get it ready so you can post it first thing

TNT: I'm sorry meneer, we can't do that.

TS: You can't just put it in your pouch for tomorrow's mail?

TNT: No.

TS: Oh. Well what are my other options?

TNT: Where are you sending it?

TS: The United States

TNT: I'm sorry, we don't have anything but regular mail service to the
United States.

TS: Priority mail? Can it be sent registered mail?

TNT: Yes.

TS: Okay, let's do that.

TNT: How do you want to send it?

TS: (pause) I was thinking _ in an envelope.

TNT: Okay. (Very long pause).

TS: Can I buy an envelope?

TNT: I'm sorry, we don't sell envelopes.

TS: (Looks around shop, notices all manner of bric a brac, but no envelopes. Laughs).

TNT: Yeah, we find it funny too, meneer. We get a lot of complaints
about that.

TS: How much for a box?

TNT: It depends on what size.

TS: Smallest size.

TNT: I don't know, it's written on the display.

TS: (retrieves small box for EUR1.70). Okay, let's send this.

TNT: Can you take it over there to fill out the address information?
Then I can help other customers.

TS: (returns after waiting in line again). Okay. Here it is.

TNT: (takes box). The United States...that'll be 11 euros.

TS: So it will be there in what, 3-5 days?

TNT: (Laughs). That's optimistic.

TS: So what's pessimistic?

TNT: Where's it going?

TS: The. United. States.

TNT: It will arrive within 5 days, but it may take longer than that to be delivered.

TS: Come again?

TNT: Everything has to be sniffed nowadays, meneer.

TS: What's the worst case scenario?

TNT: (Shrugs).


According to TNT's web site, it should take 5-7 business days to arrive. We shall see...

(geoff coupe)


Laura K. said...

Oh holy heck I have a deja vu moment right now!

What is UP with them anyway???? Our local tnt post is small and the workers hide behind bullet proof windows with drawers. If they have to service you in any way they make it clear you are taking up their precious time. When I go in I get that 'oh it's HER again' look and if I don't have customs forms filld out and stickers on for priority they SIGH at me and hand me a new stack of them to take home. WTF.

So I try and go to the big one in the main part of town. They are nicer there luckily but now I hear they are closing for good! Why? Because they want to give less customer service or something. Color me confused.

We are from the land of 'the customer is always right' so I guess we're loopy or something.

If it makes you feel better, everything I've ever sent to my family in Iowa has taken 4 business days priority mail... and same the opposite way. Mom sends me something, even HUGE boxes and they get here in 4 business days.

Now tell me why I can have delivery confirmation to mail a letter across the street but to send a $200 package to the USA they don't offer it? I'll never understand that. And FYI they lost that package and it took 8 months to get money to pay back the lady who paid me $200 for its contents! I'm actually shocked that I provided enough proof of its worth to get a full reimbursement. I expected a letter with a laughed recording inside!

Promise me you'll never ever send anything surface mail! YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!!!

Derek said...

Er... I don't get it. So you needed to send something to the U.S. quickly and you know the TNT service sucks. According to their website, FedEx has two drop-off locations in Amsterdam.

Too expensive? Not nearby to where you are?

Toby Sterling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toby Sterling said...

@Derek you would have made a good reporter, you know?
The short answer is, I vaguely know non-TNT outlets exist (DHL is somewhere too) but I don't know any near my (new) office _ and I just ASSUMED the overwhelming massive monopoly megacorp postal service here would have normal service to God's own U.S. of A.
Also, this was my one window of opportunity to get it done. May sound odd, but I swear it's true. Post offices close early here and my life is freaky busy.
Next time: FedEx. Like they say, hindsight is always 50/50 :p

Toby Sterling said...

@laura. What I'm talking about. I made the surface mail mistake once _ only once. My favorite customer service story here is when I walked into a tuxedo rental place, and the four people working there were all having coffee and smoking at a table behind the counter. When I came in, they all looked up for a minute and then went back to talking.
I felt like flicking the lights on and off _ like my teacher used to do in 3rd grade _ to get their attention.

Anyhow, someday soon competition will come to the little bastards of TNT and hopefully their customer service will shape up. But I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

HI all

I am new at blogging. But I am up against the wall with my options. to shorten my story, I was a student in the Netherlands and I had left 2 boxes with a friend. I mailed him $200 to have them mailed back to me and after 4 months, I still have not received the package. Called TNT and they said it takes a while sometimes months for packages to arrive. waited a little longer, was told that only the sender can file a investigation. He filed it. was told that it was over 6 months and consider packages lost. end of story. Cannot issue insurance claim, cannot issue investigation. Nothing. Does anyone know what I can do at this point?

Toby Sterling said...

@Anonymous _ This isn't my main line, but my contact at TNT says:

"ask him for the con note number and I will check

this is the ref number that was printed on the label where he put the address etc..."

I hope you have some kind of proof you sent the package...

Anonymous said...

What a rubish! The post service in your country is even worse dude!!