How UPS Failed a Basic Premise

UPS StoreSo I was in the UPS store the other day to ship a package to a client. The client gave me their UPS account number to ship the package. I had shipped packages dozens of times with FedEx the same way. Client gives me their FedEx number. I put the number on the shipping form. Client’s account gets billed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not so with UPS.

I go into a UPS Store and they tell me that I cannot use a UPS number in the store. There is no where on their shipping forms to enter a number. Ostensibly it’s for my protection. “Anyone could get that number then just ship stuff on your account,” says the manager. Let’s set aside for a minute the fact that it seems to work for FedEx and there are any number of ways you can address that issue, I asked “Can’t I just give you the number and you enter it into the system?” Apparently not. If you want to use a UPS #number, they can only take pre-printed UPS labels. But hey, for my convenience I could go over to one of their computers, and for just $1 get online and print one myself. Oh joy! (Yes. That’s sarcasm).

So I get online, frustrated, not so much that I have to pay a buck (lame), but that I was already in a hurry and now needed to take time to do this craziness. But guess what? There’s no place on the website that I can find to enter a UPS number.

Now, I’m big enough to admit that I can sometimes overlook things. (You know when your spouse sends you to the store to get the gluten free chicken nuggets in a bag and you swear up and down they’re not there and then she says check again and you say honey I checked and believe me, they’re not there and she says check again and you say honey I don’t need to check again cuz they’re not there….then you check again and find them. Kinda like that). Anyway, as I was saying. I know at times I can overlook things. So I do what my beloved frequently asks me to do in such a situation (which, for a man can be really, really hard to do). Ask someone.

So I ask one of the UPS store clerks (are they called clerks?) to help me out. He comes over, looks at it and says, “Wow. Sorry. I have no idea how to use the site.” (I’m being totally serious. The UPS Store clerk did not know how to use UPS.com). So I ask the manager for help. He came over, looked everywhere I looked, and he too could not figure out where to input the client’s UPS number.

Is it just me, or does this feel like an episode of “Seinfeld”?

Don’t make your clients feel like they’re in an sitcom episode. Know your business. Provide exceptional service. Exceed their expectations. And for heaven’s sake, know how to use your own website.

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4 Responses to “How UPS Failed a Basic Premise”

  1. Hey Ron,

    A well kept secret is that UPS stores are not actually UPS at all. They are franchises and part of a completely seperate company that has a relationship with UPS. Everything costs more there than if you go directly to an actual UPS shipping depot (sometimes as much as double.) I had an experience a while back where I shipped a large amount of gear, and they insisted in charging me hundreds of dollars in insurance even though I said I didn’t want it and have my own insurance which covers my gear while in transit. They said it was “required” on large shipments. I called UPS headquarters to complain and they did help me resolve the issue and get a refund, but it was not easy – this is how I learned UPS stores are not really UPS. I now tell anyone who will listen to stay away. I hope I never treat my customers this way and I hope they never tell others to avoid me!

    • OMG! That makes the story even lamer on UPS’s part. Who was the genius marketer at UPS that said, “Hey, let’s turn over our brand to a bunch of incompetent, locally owned franchisees with no real connection or regard for maintaining our brand.” Yeah. That’ll be real smart.

      • gloriousdayfilms March 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        I think it’s a brilliant idea. For the most part, local business owners have a greater invested interest to provide you with excellent customer service and maintain your loyalty as a customer.

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