Friday, December 28, 2007

UPS - brand destroyed in my mind by the last mile inefficiency



What do I think of a company that efficiently transports a 1lb package for me 2800 miles coast to coast from Sunnyvale . CA to Gaithersburg MD but fails in the last 3 miles to do justice to its brand by making a efficient delivery ?

This is the second time that this happened to me that the driver never came to my door and reported an exception in the UPS tracking system that no one was home.
The first time was a a few weeks ago. The UPS driver had left no note even though there was someone present the whole day. I had briefly admonished my daughter for not paying attention to the door bell and believed UPS was right. Called them and requested they hold the package for me to pickup. UPS customer service is 1 800 PICK UPS ( 1 800 742 5877 ) but you will not find it easily on their website. The next day I drove from my work in Virginia on a riany day to reach the UPS center at 7.03 only to be told they are open till 7 p.m ( I agree this sounds a lot like whining ). The next day i wait till 8.30 a.m when they are open and go to pick up the package. I won't tell you how inefficient the system is at this center but the experience left me wishing I would have been better off if they had a robot to assist. Anyway that episode forgotten- I await another package again from UPS. I am impressed that their phone system calls me and tells me to expect the package the next day and the driver cannot leave it without a signature. I am not worried- I have taken the day off and can wait for this package.
The delivery day is today. I wait for the package between 8 a.m and 7 p.m . When I leave i tell the kid to be near the front door in case the bell rang. I call from the car to make sure my instructions are being obeyed :).

At 5 p.m I cannot stand the suspense. I login to my UPS account to track the package. I am livid with rage that the delivery has been reported as a exception at 2.32 p.m (THE RECEIVER WAS UNAVAILABLE TO SIGN ON THE 1ST DELIVERY ATTEMPT. A 2ND DELIVERY ATTEMPT WILL BE MADE) I check the door for a slip from the driver - there is none. I ask my kid if the door bell was ever heard. My only conclusion is that the driver had never made it to my door. I search again for the UPS customer service ( Cannot find it on the website and have to Google " UPS customer Service Phone"). The lady handles my call efficiently takes my complaint and tell me I will get a call within an hour. Its 5.32 and i have .5 hours approx before the center closes and this is Friday. I trust her and wait. The Phone rings after 30 minutes and the voice on the other side is apologetic and says the matter will be taken up with the driver and his supervisor. COuld I come and pick up the package. I agree and o there to pick up the package and the problem is resolved.

Now creating this blog post has taken up some time for me . Why am I doing it ? I feel cheated. It seems like the drivers when faced with a package that needs a signature probably do not bother even stopping and checking if the person is at home. It is also possible that no one ever complains- since most packages are just delivered at your door without requiring a signature. I never had a problem receiving packages that did not require a signature.

I am blogging because my feelings are hurt. UPS is a big company . It does not have the need to correct a broken system because what can the consumer do ? Go to USPS ? Insist the supplier use FedEx? I have no choice in what shipping method the seller uses but I pay for 2 day shipping. This does not sound right.

Friends advised me to leave a signed slip and give cell phone number on the door for the UPS guy. Great suggestion.. But if he came to the door will he not ring the bell and find a very eagerly awaiting me bounding from my Twitter screen to go to the door.

If someone from UPS ever sees this blogpost- what am I expecting? I hope they just follow the rules- ring the doorbell , wait for an answer and leave a slip if no one answers. Is that too much to expect.

7 comments:

linda.sherman said...

Justified complaints!

fiat lux said...

It's not just UPS, Shashi, over the years we've had this problem crop up with FedEx and DHL as well.

Some delivery drivers just don't give a damn about their jobs, and will take the easy way out if given half a chance. Sad but true.

linda.sherman said...

No doubt it can vary on where you are but service from FEDEX is much better in our locations.

linda.sherman said...

I just saw an interesting article in Fortune Magazine issue November 12, 2007 Pages 118 - 129 called The Making of a UPS Driver. Let me know if you would like for me to find the on-line URL for you.

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

Thanks Linda . Found the link The Making of a UPS Driver "http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/11/12/101008310/"

thank you very much.

Peter said...

you may want to take a read at this entry of mine from long time ago..

http://peterdawson.typepad.com/scmv20/2005/02/who_sucks_more_.html

Most companies suffer from the last mile syndrome !

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