An efficient postal service, courier company or shipping facility is essential for any country, and is, in fact, a vital requirement for the development of a country’s commerce and industry. If these services were not available, it would not be possible to get products from point A to point B or from seller to buyer. It’s true that a postal service, a delivery system or shipping facility is somewhat similar in terms of getting products from A to B or from seller to buyer, but there are some differences in the way it is done.
A courier company or shipping facility, like, DHL, Fedex or Aramex is a private organisation, that promises reliable delivery within 2-4 working days depending on the destination. It's focus is on delivering documents and packages from business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C). It's charges are much higher than regular postal services, but often people prefer it because it is efficient, reliable and secure, especially if the delivery contains important documents or items that are hard to, if not impossible, to replace.
A country’s postal service is usually a government entity, like Qatar’s QPost (now an independent entity since October 2001), and it’s services include delivery and the receiving of documents and packages within the country and outside of the country. The costs are relatively low as compared to a courier company or shipping facility, but the time taken to deliver would be longer.
But, here, we are not going to talk about courier companies or shipping facilities. We will be talking about QPost and whether it’s really as efficient or as well-organised as it claims to be.
QPost has been around since the 1950’s and was taken over by the government of Qatar in 1963, after which it vowed to improve its services as the population increased and the country developed.
In QPost’s own words:
“The road to providing a reliable, swift and efficient Postal Service is one that demands constant attention. Costs have to be minimised to keep charges down and customers happy, while service quality is maximized.”
"Every endeavor is made by the GPC to deliver mail promptly and to dispatch mail anywhere in the world at the earliest opportunity. We keep as tight a rein on costs as possible but seek to provide solutions for the needs of their customers in an ever-changing environment. QPost was the first postal administration in the Gulf to speed the dispatch of sea mail by air, and charges for letters, post cards, printed matter, parcels, small packets, newspapers and magazines have only increased once in almost 20 years as a matter of QPost policy.”
But, is this really true? Is QPost’s service really reliable, fast and cost-effective? Are people in Qatar happy with its services or are they breaking their banks by relying on more expensive options for deliveries just to avoid delays, damage or loss of documents or packages?
We asked people in Qatar about their experience with QPost, and this is what we learnt.
While some people said the QPost service was super slow and they have had to wait for weeks to get their packages, someone even had to wait approximately 14 months between order and delivery, some have said they received their packages within five days, if not before the estimated time delivery date. Some people have even had their packages returned to the sender after they weren't delivered for 14 months by QPost.
Some people raved that their packages arrive well-packed in immaculate condition and have never been damaged, while many complained that their packages have been damaged or wet on arrival. There have also been instances of missing items.
The general consensus is that QPost is cost-effective and much cheaper than courier facilities. However, most people are not happy about the QR 20-25 that QPost charges for home or office delivery for the first shipment, and the additional charges for each additional package.
The general consensus on QPost's customer services is that it is not at all efficient. The staff is not helpful enough and is often clueless about package information, updates and other required information.
The general consensus is that the tracking service for packages is not good and is not always updated with many people struggling to find out where their packages are.
While some are happy with QPost's delivery service, other's say that QPost promises a reliable delivery service, but doesn't always stick to its promise. Those with PO boxes also complain that packages don't always get delivered to their boxes and they have to consistently follow up with Customer Services which isn't all that efficient.
From people's reactions and comments to questions about QPost's international shipping services, it is quite clear that there is, indeed, need for and room for improvement in its services to ensure that people who use it for international deliveries are satisfied and get their packages delivered on time and in immaculate condition.
Here are some recommendations for QPost which we feel will help them become a more effective and reliable shipping service for locals and expats in Qatar and put to ease, their many customers and potential customers:
Since customs clearance is such a frustrating, lengthy process that is also necessary to ensure banned items or contraband doesn't enter the country, and the reason for many delivery delays, it's best to prepare in advance for customs clearance by declaring the goods online. This will speed up the process and won't cause delays in deliveries.
It's very important that when you deliver a package to someone, it is in good condition and not damaged. For this, it is important to properly train personnel that handle the items and to ensure places where these packages are stored are not wet, damp or prone to other conditions that may damage the packages.
Improve your customer service so that if customers have any queries or problems, your customer service is equipped to answer all of them and guide them in a more professional manner.
Keep your customers up-to-date about the status of their delivery. Ensure your tracking system is always updated to ensure customers wishing to track their deliveries are not getting frustrated.
Make your shipping processes simpler as this is a vital part of your business. If deliveries are not on time, damaged or missing, your business will suffer, your credibility and reliability will suffer and you will lose customers. For this, your technology should be up-to-date and your personnel well trained and equipped to deal with difficult situations or problems.
Do you use QPost? What is your experience? Are you happy with the way they do business? What do you think about these recommendations? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
Cover image credit: The Peninsula
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