Published on: October 2, 2015by Kevin Coupe
My son, Brian, likes the phrase, "Don't urinate on my leg and tell me it's raining." (He uses a word other than "urinate.")
It isn't, to be honest, my favorite phrase ... but it is the first one that came to mind with a couple of stories this week.
One of them is from Bloomberg, which reports that "in time for the holiday season, UPS is rolling out to 100 cities a program that requires people in some neighborhoods to fetch packages at nearby locations -- such as a druggist or dry cleaner -- if they weren’t home to meet a driver. UPS says the service, introduced a year ago in New York and Chicago, will trim costs by ending second and third delivery attempts, and can save consumers a trip to a distant customer center."
UPS says that it "wants to have 8,000 Access Point locations nationwide by December, including its 4,400 existing UPS Stores. The pitch to shopkeepers: they get less than a dollar per package, but get foot traffic that might otherwise pass by."
UPS also says that "the Access Point program receives a favorable response on surveys," but I'll betcha that the place it has gotten the most favorable responses is at company headquarters.
This strikes me as being a total money play, as UPS tries to get out of the service business as much as they possibly can. It would be a lot more customer-friendly to, when UPS drivers leave a note saying that they've been there but could not deliver the item, people have the option of choosing a local retailer and having the package delivered there. It ought to be up to the consumer, not the delivery service ... but it seems to me that UPS wants to be in the efficiency business, not the effectiveness business.
UPS is fond of saying that it loves logistics ... but logistics have limited appeal, in my view, if they are not both efficient and effective.
Meanwhile, Motley Fool reports that soon after Amazon announced that it will allow its users to download original video content and not just stream it, Netflix says it will not offer the same option.
Netflix's rationale, according to the story, "Downloading content is too challenging for users."
Netflix's Neil Hunt says that while subscribers want "the ability to consume anywhere they happen to be," Netflix also believes that the "paradox of choice" means that adding options leads to more customer inaction, which can lead to lower customer counts, which would damage Netflix's growth plans.
Now, I get the whole "paradox of choice" thing ... but I think the Netflix explanation is what my old friend Vic Magnotta used to call "nebulous verbosity." I happen to be a big Netflix and Amazon user, and I am best served when I have options of when to watch things ... and if I could download Netflix programming onto my iPad to watch on airplanes, it'd be a huge deal. A game-changer, even.
The real Eye-Opener, here ... is don't tell me that something is in my best interests if it really is in yours.
'Cause I'm not buying it.
- KC's View: