Conversations with… customer support of a major shipping company

Conversations with… customer support of a major shipping company

Last week, my wife and I were waiting for delivery of a time-sensitive package. Unfortunately, the sender marked that only an adult could sign for it with a government issued ID at the residence that it was to be delivered.  I came home that evening to a sticker on the front door notifying me that delivery was attempted and the service would try two more times before shipping to a warehouse (45 minutes away and closed on weekends). With both my wife and I working full-time, Monday through Friday, one of us would have had to take a day off or arrange for a house sitter.

I called to try to work out a solution. The conversation with the company?s customer service rep went like this:

Can the package be left at a neighbor?s house if I leave you a signed permission note? NO.

What time is the driver expected to deliver? Anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Can you narrow that down a bit? NO.

Is there anything I can do or do you have any suggestions to help me receive this important package as I cannot be home to sign for it? NOT REALLY.

Really?? Really.

Can I speak to your supervisor? He?s busy on another call.

I?ll hold. Fine.

So, I went into my own ?guest service problem-solving? mode when the supervisor finally picked up:

Where is the package right now? At the shipping warehouse.

Does the shipping warehouse have someone in charge? Yes.

Does he or she have an email address? Yes.

Do you have an email address? Yes.

Can you email that person and explain my problem to see if they can help?
Yes, Probably (probably???).

If you email him do you think he or his driver could narrow down the delivery time? Probably (again? probably?!?).

Can you have either the driver or his supervisor call me with maybe a two-hour window and I will have my 90-year-old neighbor go next door when the driver is close? That?s a good idea. Give me your cell number and someone will call you tomorrow.

Once over, this maddening exchange immediately made me wonder: Is my team trying to do everything possible to assist a customer or are they just saying no because of policy? Are my customers becoming as exasperated as I was? 

As extreme as this situation sounds, it was a good reminder for me to double check by sharing this experience with my staff. We need to constantly seek solutions that help our customers ? not frustrate them. (And, yes, the package did arrive the next day.)