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My first encounter with Dutch customer service…

October 04, 2005

I was told ahead of time by several people that the dutch had never heard of the concept of customer service. Buying anything was generally difficult to do. Today was my first real experience with this idea.

When I arrived on Saturday I was told I would have to wait till Monday to be able to get the key for the parking garage I am going to be using. To get this I had to turn in a signed contract at a car dealership that owns a few garages around town. This step took about 3.5–4 hours, mostly just waiting for the people to show up in the morning, but I was given a key at the end and told how to use it and get into and out of the garage. I was also told that if there were any problems, there was an after hours number that was written on the inside wall of the garage. Can you guess where this is going???

Well, I got back from work at around 8 this evening and tried to get in. The key didn’t work. They told me I had to position the car just right for it to sense the car was there and then use the key. I moved the car forward and back and kept trying the key. Nothing. So the next step was to figure out that after hours number. To do that I figured I would have to find a place to park and then wait for someone else to show up. Parking on the street can be very tough, which is part of the reason I am getting this garage space. So after 45 minutes I get back to the garage and luckily someone else pulls up.

I explain my story to the couple in the car and they said the exact same thing happened to them when they first signed up. They let me in and I got the number to call. I was given the instructions once more and was told to try it again. 30 minutes later I returned with the car, but it still did not work. I called the number again and after a bit of back and forth trying to get my name straight and figure out what my key number was the guy at the other end said my key wasn’t yet activated and there was nothing he could do. My best bet would be to find somewhere else to park and lodge a complaint in the morning.

Ugh. How could this have been better? Oh let me count the ways. Maybe if more than one person at the office could help with their parking garage business. Maybe if they could have given my realtor the activated key ahead of time so that I wouldn’t have to pay 75 euros to park over the weekend plus another 25–30 euros tonight. Maybe if they actually activated my key when I turned in the contract. Maybe if they gave me the after hours number in case of emergency. Maybe if they gave the after hours people the authority to do anything. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I will have to give them a call in the morning and hopefully get things figured out.

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