Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Lawyers Can Learn About Customer Service At UPS

I'll try to make the story brief.

I was tracking a package yesterday. Wine. From Napa. As of 8:01 a.m. it was on the truck. By 5 p.m. it hadn't arrived.

I called UPS. "Can't tell you anything for an hour."

At 6 p.m. I was told this package, from Napa, CALIFORNIA, was returned to the warehouse and was being "held for customs."



"It didn't have the proper markings on the box."

I was told they would hold the package at the warehouse and I could pick it up.

"Be there by 7 p.m., that's when we close."

At 6:50 p.m. I arrive to a guy who is extremely suspicious of me because my address on my driver's license is my home address and the package was being shipped to my office. He asked for a business card. I pulled one out of my wallet, that was in the pocket of my pants of the suit I was wearing.

"This package is not here. Come back at 8 p.m."

Then, I find out the truth. The package is damaged.

I tell the guy I'll take the undamaged bottles and settle up with the winery.

This confuses him.

After 40 minutes of back and forth and several more stories about where this package is and what really happened, I tell him to just have it re-delivered to my office.

"I can't do that, you have to speak to a supervisor."

I spoke to a supervisor on the phone who seemed to understand the situation and told me she'd call back in 5 minutes.

After 10 minutes, I left. As I got in my car, my phone rang, it was the supervisor asking me to please wait and she would call me back in a "very short time." I told her I had enough and she understood. She also admitted that drivers are told to scan the package as being held for customs when there is damage: "I know it's wrong, but that's what they're told to do.

After another 10 minutes, now having spent an hour there, I left. She called, verified the package was damaged, and seemed shocked that my response was "send it all back to California." (I had already spoken with my friend at the winery who was preparing a new shipment FED EX.)

The take away?

[1] UPS lied to me.

This is the "never admit fault" language on the back of your auto-insurance card. UPS assumes the issue is fault, not what happened. They pay no mind to the fact that the wine is insured, I really don't care that it was damaged, I just want to know the truth. Instead, they hide it as long as they can.

[2] UPS did nothing to make the situation easier on me.

This is 2009, computers are everywhere. When I hung up the phone at my office after saying I would pick up the package, I saw something to the effect of "customer will pick up" on the UPS website instantaneously.

When I arrived at the warehouse I was cross-examined ("who told you that") in a way that made clear they did not believe me.

When I said "just send it to my office," they should have said "absolutely sir, have a good night, and we're sorry for all of this."

In the end, their goal was to be as far away from the situation as possible.

[3] UPS doesn't care.

This blog post, my memo to my office to never send anything UPS, will have no effect on UPS. NO one from UPS will read it, and I will receive no response. I know that, and they know that. It's one thing to know that losing a customer or client will have no effect on your bottom line, it's another thing to act like every customer or client matters.

[4] UPS was more interested in protecting the issue of fault, then just being honest.

"I screwed up." "We screwed up."

When did we stop just being honest? Probably when people became afraid of being sued at every corner.

But this was an insured package. What was the cover up aimed at accomplishing?

Last week I realized a document in a case was not filed and my client received a letter to that effect. I knew what happened. It was my office's fault, and I told the client. I told him the truth. He's fine. I'm fine. We're fine. He knows I'll be honest with him. I could have said "I don't know what happened," or been evasive and just told him "I'll take care of it." Instead, I told him exactly what happened and took care of the situation for him.

He's my client, still.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com


1 comment:

Davezilla said...

That story is so typical of them. I truly hate going to their "service" warehouses as you get anything but.