I know this story is going to be a long one, but I have a point to make about customer service. I went to the UPS Store to have them pack and ship some things. I filled out the paper work, discussed the shipping options and resigned myself to paying $40 for 3-day delivery plus $20 to put some stuff in a box, dump in some peanuts and tape it shut. And that's when William, the UPS employee, said, "But this won't go out tonight. We can't possibly get everything here packaged and shipped out tonight." I suggested he could sell me the box and the peanuts and I'd pack it myself, but William said, "Even if you do that, we won't be able to get the order processed in time to send it out tonight." It was 4:00pm, 10 days before Christmas and there were TWO employees on the premises of the UPS Store in downtown Cincinnati. He did not say he was terribly sorry. Nor did he offer any suggestion for getting my business package sent on its way.

I put everything back in my bag and left William and his co-worker dumb-founded by my behavior. At the FedEx office across the street, Elaine helped me select a box, crumpled up sheets of paper to fill in the gaps, whipped out her giant tape dispenser, and asked me how fast I needed it to be delivered. $38 got me a two-day delivery guarantee. The box and packing assistance were free.

Need I say where I'll go next time? The OOPS Store has lost a customer. Not because they couldn't do what I wanted them to, or because I considered their prices high. They lost a customer because (1) they didn't have enough staff on duty and (2) they didn't teach their employees to "feel my pain." In a service business, you must help the customer accomplish her mission, even if that means suggesting that your competition might provide better service on this particular occasion. "Take it or leave it" is not an attitude that will bring customers back to your business.

Linda Fatherree posted this on December 15, 2004, in Service.
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