retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I ranted last week about a negative customer service experience I had while doing business with FedEx, and noted that I thought that it could be argued that it reflected the kind of cultural failure that can, in the long run, kill a company.

Lots of response to this.

One MNB user responded to my comment that next time I will think about using another overnight company:

I'd think twice about UPS.  I ordered a new ThinkPad.  UPS attempted delivery and I missed them by 10 min.  Called UPS, enter tracking number, wait on hold, get wrong representative, need international representative, have to provide tracking number again, listen to them confirm what I already knew ("they attempted delivery at 5:48pm").  I asked if I could arrange to pick it up at the central UPS facility across town (it's open to the working-person friendly hour of 8pm).  I was told that Lenovo's specifications prevented me from having the package held at the central facility for pick up -- a specification my salesperson at Lenovo had never heard of.  Delivery day two -- attempted at 2pm in the afternoon.  Delivery day three -- attempted at 2:30pm.  Call UPS ("Isn't there a neighbor who can receive your package for you?").  After the 3rd delivery attempt the package can now be picked up…..where?.....the central UPS facility.  But, not that same evening.  Only the next business day following the 3rd delivery attempt.  And, by the way, UPS isn't open on Saturday.
 
I'd recommend the good old USPS.


MNB user Jim Swoboda wrote:

I will be very interested to know if FedEx picks up your story today and contacts you...and you are so right, there are only two possibilities:

a: a bad employee, fixable.
b: a disempowered employee, much harder.


MNB user Michael F. Zagrodny wrote:

Read your article on FedEx and couldn't agree more.  Hopefully, this was just a bad day as I have always appreciated the great service that FedEx has delivered.

Your final assessment..."It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It doesn’t matter who gets blamed. It only matters that the customer is dissatisfied and perhaps willing top go somewhere else next time”...is right on and does far too many times lead to death, maybe a slow death but ultimately breathing stops.


Another MNB user wrote:

I spent 30 years in retail Kevin.  From 1974-2004.  I think I participated in the last great days that you could have working in retail.  You could take care of your customer your way, and do it your way.  If you were committed to your customer like I was, you could sell what you wanted, how you wanted, and to whom you wanted.  With no interference from corporate, except to make sure the customer was absolutely satisfied and would come back again.  In fact, it was so ingrained in my mind to get the customer to come back, many times they would offer me something of monetary compensation (under the table so to speak) to thank me for the service.  To which I would always say, and because I meant it; no thanks just be sure to come back and give us your continued business.  No way today!  Especially with these big operations.  It all is the bottom line.  Make the numbers work, damn the customer.  Amazing to think they don't understand the consequences.

Another MNB user chimed in:

I had a very similar experience with FedEx recently.  I was very surprised to find that my package had not been delivered on-time, and, the customer service representative helping me, while very kind and polite, was either unwilling or unable to give me a break on the price I paid for overnight service.  Very frustrating!

Another MNB user wrote:

Did you ask for a Supervisor?

I am sorry.. I wouldn’t have accepted any of her BS as a final answer.   

Just reading your excerpt irritated me enough that I wanted to pick up the phone for you.

Unfortunately she is now continuing to still provide the same customer service because you didn’t go to her supervisor and tell them you were unhappy with her service..
 
Tho maybe because of your blog.. FedEx will contact you.


And, from another MNB user:

You are not alone in your experience with FedEx. I have similar experiences and if I felt like someone else would deliver a more consistent level of customer service, I would likely stop using them as a primary delivery agent.

I would really like to see the USPS become that entity but I am now in dreamland and need to stop wishing on stars….

Thank You for sharing your experience. It would really be nice to know if any of your readers have any influence at FedEx and can listen/read the responses you are sure to get on this.


Another MNB user wrote:

You are very patient….much more than many of us would have been in that situation.  I am of the mind (I usually blame it on being from the east coast, but so are you!!!) that if I pay for a service, I either get the service, or I get a refund. Case closed. I would have gone up the food chain to supervisor, manager, or someone higher than (in my not so patient viewpoint) was sounding like a little snit that ought to be reprimanded….I cannot believe a customer was treated like that.  I hope FedEx people, especially management, read MNB, it will help them be a better company and help those of us who use their services get better service.  More power to you!

You have to remember that I’m different from most customers. You get treated badly, you get mad. I get treated badly, I get a column.

Which is the point that MNB user Lisa Malmarowski made:

And you repeated a bad customer service experience on a public blog to your many readers and subscribers. Hopefully Fed Ex is listening!

However, not everyone agreed with me ... nor with my decision to talk about it. MNB user Ben Kuzma wrote:

Fed Ex handles a gazillion packages a day - they semi-screw up your delivery so you retaliate by using your clout to disparage them in the guise of reporting about how corporate culture is eroding. This is not reporting – it’s whining about an incident that had no real consequences for you, your client and especially for the rest of us who routinely have had no problems with UPS or FedEx.
 
Chill out dude – I won’t be selling any shares of FDX because you are no longer a customer.


Three things.

First of all, you call it whining. I call it ranting. No big difference. Whatever you want to call it, isn’t MNB essentially me ranting or whining about a wide range of stories? (I just try to keep it relevant, illuminating and a little entertaining.)

Second, clearly I’m not the only one have a FedEx issue. But my larger point was to use FedEx as an example of what can happen to companies that take their eye off the ball.

Third, I’m flattered. Blushing almost. You think I have clout?




Finally, this email from an MNB user...the first time I’ve ever gotten one like this:

Any chance you can modify the pictures of you on your Morning News Beat website so they're not closeups?  They're a bit frightening to look at first thing in the morning.

Frightening?

I know I’m no George Clooney, but frightening?

I think my feelings are hurt.
KC's View: