Putting our customers first
By keeping it simple, smart and working together
We want to be everyone's favourite deliverer, connecting the millions of senders and receivers that rely on us every day. By keeping it simple, being smart and working together, we provide our customers with services and solutions that enhance their business. From managing the ongoing growth in e-commerce to securing accessible, affordable and reliable postal services, our customers come first.
Easy for consumers to send and receive
Our customers want to send and receive parcels and mail effortlessly and reliably, and also like to keep tabs on what they send. We make their consumer experience more convenient in a range of ways, for instance by using data and digital solutions for smoother deliveries. We also tap into all our options to offer our customers just the right service for them – wherever and whenever they need it.
Digital notification to make life easier for customers
We’re always looking for ways to make things easier for our customers, digital notification being a case in point. Previously, customers would be given paper-based proof of having sent or returned a parcel, but this has now shifted to email. It’s less time-consuming and customers have access to these notifications always and wherever they go.
Sending and receiving by parcel and letter locker, 24/7
Sending and receiving your parcels whenever convenient wasn’t exactly an option – customers always had to rely on a PostNL location nearby. Until recently, that is: our self-service parcel and letter locker lets consumers send letters as well as pick up and send parcels. Any time they like.
Keeping pace with e-tailers
We want to serve all our customers to the best of our ability. And that includes our business customers. The rapid growth of e-commerce means we need to expand our network in a variety of ways, while at the same time working on the speed and efficiency of our current infrastructure. Opening more parcel sorting centres in the Netherlands is one way of doing that – and coming up with smarter solutions for selected processes is another.
Shorter storage period for parcels
More e-commerce means more parcels. To keep pace with online sales, we need lots of space for parcels at our PostNL points. And so we reduced the time we store parcels at our retail locations from 14 to seven days. It’s a big plus for e-tailers, who receive returns earlier and are able to provide refunds and resell their products faster. And consumers are hardly affected, as they pick up their parcels within seven days in nearly all cases.
Preparing for continued growth through new sorting process
We’re preparing for continued e-commerce growth by investing in our capacity in the shape of a new sorting centre for small parcels, relying heavily on robotisation for faster and smarter processing. Many smaller parcels will go directly to this special sorting centre, freeing up more capacity in existing centres. As e-tailers switch to less bulky packaging, we’ll be able to process a larger number of parcels going forward, while the costs per parcel go down.
Marketing innovative solutions
We aim to bring innovative solutions to market as soon as we can, which is why we’re always working with our customers to make sure they find our solutions truly helpful. We stay abreast of all digital developments, from artificial intelligence to application programming interfaces (APIs) and robotisation – all to better meet the changing requirements of our customers and to prepare ourselves for further e-commerce growth.
Opportunities offered by API
We continue to develop our online platforms, providing customers with application programme interfaces (APIs) that allow them to embed an application in their website and offer their customers our wide choice of delivery options. We also offer APIs to help improve order and delivery processes, which in turn helps sellers improve the quality of their service and customer satisfaction. Our Flora@Home API even enables them to offer fresh flowers in their web shops!
The strength of AI
We use artificial intelligence (AI) across the company in a number of areas, from process automation to robotics. But one of the most important applications is in data and algorithms, where AI helps us improve customer services and drive efficiency. One example is at our retail locations, which in recent years have seen a huge rise in the number of parcel deliveries and returns due to e-commerce growth. We introduced an algorithm that forecasts when there’ll be a mismatch between expected parcel volume and capacity within the retail network. This helps us spread parcel distribution across retail locations, meaning locations never get too busy and consumers are served faster.
Excellent customer service
We’re continuously improving our interaction with both our business customers and consumers, drawing on customer satisfaction readings. High-quality customer service is based on relevant information and personalised experience – which we create through data, research and feedback.
Greater insight into a parcel’s journey
Additional data points about our shipments – both domestic and international – provide our customers with more precise information about their parcel’s progress – resulting in less interaction with customer service and higher satisfaction.
Feedback in the PostNL app
Another example is the introduction of a feedback button in the app, which customers can use to react to the quality of their parcel delivery. During our pilot project we gave consumers the option of sending a compliment if the delivery went smoothly and they were satisfied, or asking to be called by a customer care agent if they weren’t satisfied. If they were unhappy, the customer care agent first called the deliverer and then the consumer within two hours. The outcome was higher customer satisfaction.
PostNL’s “orange heart” customer lab is based at our head office in The Hague. We’re using this space to meet and talk with customers, carry out research to gain insights into what they want and how they experience our service, and for quantitative research and one-on-one customer conversations.
Our internal CustomerFocus awards put customers centre stage and create awareness among our people. Colleagues can put each other forward for a CustomerFocus award for going the extra mile for a customer. In other words, putting their customer centre stage, truly connecting and making their customer happy by making good on their word. Every quarter, we feature a CustomerFocus winner and at the end of the year we elect the ultimate winner. Think of that postie preventing a house fire by calling 112 when they smelled smoke, that planning service employee who pulled out all the stops to locate a parcel in time for a funeral, or that parcel deliverer who stepped in to help someone who’d fallen ill.