TNT Brand Promise Fail

I really make an effort to keep things positive on this blog. I really do.

But the service I received from TNT was so bad today that I had to share it with the Maloney on Marketing family as it is a clear demonstration of staff not living the brand.

Before we start you need to know that TNT’s slogan is “sure we can” (much like Obama’s “yes we can” just a little more non-committal).

TNT Sure We Can

The Situation

My flatmate moved to Brisbane for work and left some boxes to be shipped up at a later date.

When she arranged for TNT to come pick them up, they arrived and said they could not accept the boxes as they were too large, after she had already specified over the phone the size of the boxes and they said it would be ok.

This was frustrating but no real big deal, I just went and got some smaller boxes and divided the contents up accordingly and arranged for TNT to come back and pick them up again.

The booking was fine and all the to and from addresses were taken over the phone. However, the first frustration occurred when they could not tell us what time the courier would arrive, it would just “some time that day”, meaning I had to stay in the house all day waiting (good thing I am working from home at the moment).

Then when the courier did arrive, he asked for a consignment note, which no-one told us that we needed. On the consignment note I needed to fill out the to and from addresses again. This was a problem as I didn’t know exactly where the boxes where going.

When I asked why the call centre didn’t tell the courier the address , he replied “we are just the donkeys, they don’t tell us nothing”.

Amused as I was by this, I reasonably asked if the courier could tape up the boxes while I called Brisbane to get the address to send the boxes to. He replied “no we can’t do that” and stood their leaning against his trolley while I taped them up with the phone held to my ear by my shoulder.

Then to cap off this experience, the courier found the address in his handheld device and exclaimed “oh it was here the whole time!”

The Branding Lesson

At the end of the day, a brand is a promise, and TNT’s promise was “sure we can”.

But in the two experiences I had with TNT in the last few weeks, what I experienced was “but we wont”, and I have updated their brand accordingly.


TNT's New Slogan

TNT's New Slogan

Breaking a branding promise is how millions of dollars of advertising are wasted in a second.

As cliche as it sounds, you have to ensure that your staff “live the brand”, because if they don’t, some pissed off customer will blog about it.

I will not be using TNT ever again.


Following this blog post I was personally contacted by the Managing Director of TNT, and his National Customer Service Manager. They investigated the issues and apologised for the inconveniences caused. I cant really ask for a much better response than that, it is just sad that it had to come to a negative blog post. Thank you Bob and Brett for your response.


Tags: , , ,

Categories: branding

Author:Chris Maloney

Chris is a multi-channel marketing strategist and one of Australia's most awarded young marketers.


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14 Comments on “TNT Brand Promise Fail”

  1. The Housemate
    February 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Not to mention the first fiasco whereby they picked up half of the luggage on a ‘guaranteed next day delivery service’ but it didn’t get delivered for 5 days. They have since invoiced my company (the Red Cross…yes a charity!) for $350 and claim that there was no one at the delivery address. The delivery address was a hotel in Brisbane CBD with a 24-hour concierge service. I think what they meant Maloney was “Sure we did” {insert sarcastic tone!}

  2. February 15, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    Customer loyalty begins with a great customer experience. Customer attrition begins immediately upon a poor customer experience.

    Reward points, discount vouchers and other so-called “loyalty programs” will not overcome a bad experience encountered at any point of customer interaction. And neither will lower prices.

    With all the options and alternatives available, there is no need for customers to accept or put up with poor experiences. A lesson that hopefully TNT will learn from you broadcasting your experience.

    • February 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      Totally agree Steven, marketing cant beat service. I am glad I broadcast it, as a friend had a similar experience and tried to complain and was left on hold for an hour. Hopefully someone at TNT will read this!

  3. John
    March 22, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    TNT is a profit driven organisation now and doesnt care that they are not meeting with the standards they set. last week Iwas on the hold for 33min because of a delivery failure. the week before they didnt ship my goods to a hospital because the driver was looking for the department on the street rather than within the hospial,WTF?. TNT went on to blame me as I didnt make it clear for the driver. 3 of our area managers have resigned in the last 3 year and have not seen the last one for almost a year and when he did come in he promised the world and delivered nothing. if you can afford to use another company I would recommend that you do. P.s. TNT don’t have an avenue to lodge a complaint and the reason is that if they did it would pull their limited C/S resources and that they would be swamped with complaints from everyone.

    • March 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      I agree John…they need a mass customer walk out!

  4. Bob Black
    March 30, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I have read with interest your situation and I will look into the issues you describe and take necessary positive actions, you may wish to provide some more details which will make that an easier task. Each week we deliver close to 1,000,000 items in Australia alone, a huge geography with a relatively small and dispersed population, we service many large global blue chip companies and many more small/medium businesses, we have over 20,000 trading customers per week and in 13 weeks would service over 100,000 individual customers, we certainly don’t get it right everytime and we learn from the mistakes we make, when we are made aware of them, any letter I recieve with any form of complaint is responded to and in most instances resolved, sometimes resolution is not possible and an explanation is provided. We afford training to everyone of our 5000 employee’s and in the majority of cases we receive positive responses, in fact our drivers score the highest positive response in Customer Loyalty Measurements. I apologise for the lack of service you have been given and look forward to hearing directly from you.

    Regards Bob Black

    Managing Director

    TNT AU/NZ/Pacific

    • April 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks for getting in touch Bob. I will contact you directly

  5. Bob Black
    March 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    • May 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you Bob, Brett did a great job looking into the issues for us.

  6. Michael Gauci
    April 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I can understand with a business that size how difficult the process is in putting controls in place. It’s up to each local manager to create a culture whereby staff are fully engaged in what they do to go the extra mile. If local managers can’t get staff buy in, then this is managed. Yes from time to time you will always run into a bad egg- but when companies understand the importance of staff engagement and motivation and reward staff based on smart kpi’s and feedback, the closer they will get to minimizing these instances. After all, what is a brand without a team of dedicated people driving it? Like you say Chris, the message is lost in the delivery of the service.
    The company size sure does have it’s benefits but without strong local managers, it makes life difficult for people like Bob, who obviously have a passion for his business and a vision for how things should be.

    • April 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

      I agree with your thoughts Michael. Bob has been great in putting my case in the hands of the right people in the Australian business so I will be sure to let you and the Maloney on Markeitng family know how it all goes.

  7. January 3, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Hi Chris, thanks for the isolation dispelling article.
    I’ve always found TNT to be swift, courteous and professional.
    Imagine my surprise then when I tried to book them FOUR times (the first three times they ‘sure couldn’t’ pick up the consignment)
    After finally picking up, the consignment ‘went missing’ for a week with no way of tracking it despite a consignment number. Originally booked on 17 /12 /2012 for delivery the next day, the shipment finally arrived on 2 / 1 / 2013.
    If I tell you that the shipment was a table tennis table for my children for Christmas who’ve never spent so much time looking patiently out of windows and when it finally arrived it had been dropped and was badly damaged and after more hours on the phone I’ve been told that nothing can be done, as my company whos’ account it was on had no item by item insurance, well, deep breath.
    I’d like to think that this can be resolved quickly and that Bob, his team and my family can have a happy new year but at the moment, troubled and stressful times my friend.
    That said, good article, shot in the arm when needed, happy new year

    • January 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      Sorry to hear about your issues Paul, I hope that TNT respond in an appropriate manner. It is a pity that those who have bad experiences have to resort to blogging about them, it is not good for the brand or the customer.

      • January 5, 2013 at 2:16 am #

        Thanks for your reply and concern, Chris, you’re right, of course, both brand and customer alike suffer in situations like this. I’ve written to Bob Black (thankyou for providing his email address above), so we’ll see if together we can put things right.
        Keep up the good work,

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