Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good-bye UPS

Re UPS tracking number 1ZR516F40390285569

Dear UPS,

Today I switch to FedEx. You seem to have made a lot of changes in how you do business for the new year, and for your customers they are uniformly for the worse--1) Your new web software is buggy, 2) I no longer have a regular driver--the drivers and their level of competence vary from day to day, and 3) your customer support system is configured to provide anything BUT support.

In the four years you have been my exclusive shipper, I have put up with watching my boxes of glass bounce off an overloaded dolly wheeled by an overzealous and inexperienced driver (really), I have philosophically accepted the continual rise in your prices aligned with a commensurate decline in your services--always polite, rarely helpful, increasingly slipshod and haphazard. But today I finally reached my limit. The 30 minutes I spent this morning (on top of the hour fifteen last night) *not* getting a problem resolved by customer support or a supervisor was the last straw, I am the camel.

You redid your website for the new year along with raising your prices. It takes me a little longer to process my shipments, but it's prettier (maybe the increased prettiness is supposed to offset the decreased usability? Not a good idea, but not my call...). Yesterday at the end of a very busy day in the glass studio I entered a shipment into the system and scheduled a pick-up pick for no later than 6:30 pm. Based on the lack of reliable pick-up service I received for my shipments over the holidays, I checked at 8:45 pm to make sure it had been picked up. It hadn't. I looked on my UPS page to make sure it had been entered correctly. It had.

I called Customer Service. I *hate* calling UPS customer service. The voice response system (VRS) is one of the worst I have dealt with (only Delta's comes close)--the options never match what I need to call about, and I am not allowed to get to an operator until 4-5 tries by the robot voice. By that time I am so enervated, aggravated and stressed that it's hard not to snarl at the customer support rep. (Note: Ask your reps how many callers are cranky when they get to them, and if the number is high, re-think your phone tree options.)

The ever-polite support rep can't find my pick-up request in the system. Nor can she find my tracking number. We ditz around for several minutes while she verifies that they have *nothing*. She says I need to speak to web customer support, gives me the number and transfers me. She transfers me on the dot of 9:00 pm and I get an answering message saying the hours are 7:30 am to 9:00 pm EST. If I have a shipping emergency I am directed to press one of the buttons (who remembers this level of detail the next day?) and enter my call-back number. I do. Then I'm told someone will call me back within the next hour. I wait. They don't.

This morning I called customer service again and I am already wound up before I ever get the annoying VRS. I try to state my problem as briefly as I can as I really don't want to waste a lot more time getting this one package picked up and to the Art Institute in Chicago by tomorrow. Bottom line: The support rep can't find the tracking number or the pick-up request in her system. She tells me I need to speak to technical support. I say don't want to speak to technical support to spend more time helping UPS fix their technical problems--which are, by the way, NOT MY PROBLEM. My problem is that I want my package in Chicago by tomorrow. Why their new system failed is NOT something I wish to spend my business day helping them figure out. Please just enter the shipment again, get it picked up, and pay the difference as it will have to go next day air now instead of ground. Figure out on your own time what happened with my shipment. She can't do that (the whole just-enter-the-shipment-and-make-the-customer-happy thing).

I ask her if she can just look in a regular browser window to see the package--I would happily give her my login and password and she could see exactly what I see in all its hyper-linked glory. She says no, only technical support can do that. I repeat that I wasted an hour last night waiting for them to call me back and they never did, and I am not willing to give them any more time for, again, THEIR PROBLEM. After a bit more going around, I ask for a supervisor. The supervisor cannot see the tracking number in the system either (surprise, surprise!). She also cannot find a record of my call-back request from last night... I hear the disbelief and boredom in her voice. The front-line support staff may have to be excruciatingly perky and polite, but the supervisors are above that. Fine, whatever. I am not going to argue with her about yet another failure in their system.

I move on. I lay out in plain and simple English what I expect UPS to do to resolve this issue. I expect them to create a new shipment request, get my package picked up and off to Chicago for arrival tomorrow. She says she'll have to put a call in to the local distribution center and someone from there will have to call me back within an hour to discuss how they can help me. I explain to her that a customer support model where the customer cannot even get to someone who can resolve her problem is not customer support at all. Having to wait for someone from the local distribution center to call back--not to be able to be transferred there or given the number to call myself--is ludicrous and I am not doing it again (refer back to the pick-up nightmares in December). I am not sitting around waiting for another hour for someone to call me to fix what is obviously a bug in their software. I set the phone firmly back in its cradle.


Anonymous said...

I used to date a UPS employee ... the operative words being "used to". Obviously the rest of their employees are from the same mold ... I feel your pain! Here at my place of employment we switched from UPS to DHL. Less expensive, more dependable. Richard says "hi".

Sandy in frigid Wisconsin.

Bill said...

And now the teeming multitudes wait anxiously for the answer to the question: how did FedEx do?

Dee said...

i detest ups - getting shipments is also interesting at my house - sometimes they leave them inside the fenced area by the back door to the studio/garage, sometimes they leave them in front of the garage - note that they NEVER walk up to the front door to ring the bell in these cases - and sometimes they bring it to the front door and ring the bell, usually when arno is happily napping, thereby waking him up.

and yes, their customer support system DOESN'T support customers!