Peter Marklund's Home
When the Swedish Post is Vastly Superior to UPS/TNT/DHL et al
It's a curious thing. When it comes to politics I'm traditionally a quite liberal and market oriented person. I usually get annoyed when I find areas of society were competition and free trade are restricted and I'm not a great fan of state monopolies. However, when it comes to delivering packages the swedish state owned postal service are offering me a service that is vastly superior to that of TNT/UPS/DHL.
Why is that? Well essentially it's because the postal service uses the approach of delivering to a pick-up place in my area, usually a kiosk or store of some kind, usually with generous opening hours. This has worked like a charm for me so far. Private delivery firms (UPS et al) try to deliver to me in person. Delivering a package directly into a persons hand sounds like a great service, but it's a bit harder than it sounds. I'm not saying delivering to someone in person cannot be made to work reliably, however, the way it's currently implemented there are some serious issues. For a personal delivery to be a success, it requires that the delivery person and the recipient be in the the exact same place at the same point in time, so that the package can be handed over and signed. Now in this day and age with GPS systems and mobile phones and the internet and all that, the problem sounds solvable. In a lot of cases, at least for me, delivery is failing though. For a taste of other peoples experiences, see Lars Pind wishing for a doorman or this swedish discussion saying postal service seems like a luxury. Some reasons personal delivery is failing might be:
- No appointment. The delivery company will not give you a notice about when they are showing up, they just show up and knock at your door. After, the first delivery attempt (for me, always a failure so far), they may or may not be able to tell you what day they will try next time, although they probably can't give any guarantees, and they certainly can't give you an exact time.
- No communication to prevent failure. If the delivery person shows up and you are not there, he doesn't (from my numereous experiences with TNT/UPS/DHL) call you. He will just leave a note saying delivery failed. End of story.
- No direct communication after failure/inefficient organization. I have never been able to talk directly to the driver to make an appointment/change address etc. In the cases where I have talked to the driver and made agreements they have not been met (delivery was not made in the agreed time interval). I have then been corrected and informed that I need to talk to customer support about deliveries, never with the driver directly. In the case of Apple Store it's even worse. You cannot talk directly to the delivery company and change an address, you have to go via Apple Store. After the first failed delivery to my home I called Apple same day and changed address. However, since Apple needs a full day (!) to communicate the address change to UPS, the second delivery attempt the following day was again made to my home address instead of the work address that I changed it to.
- No convenient pick-up/fall back. If delivery fails three times you have to pick up the package at some far off and inconvenient industrial area outside your town (Stockholm in my case) that has restricted opening hours and which would basically require you to make an excursion there and take time out from your day job. If you cannot make it to pick up the package it is returned to the sender and the delivery failure is completed. Yes, this has happened to me.