In 2005, Jeff Jarvis posted a piece called Dell Hell which finally caused Dell to sit up and take notice of its poor customer service. I can't claim to have anywhere near Jeff's reach and influence. But I certainly am experiencing a similar level of frustration as I try to find out what is happening with my MacBook Pro which was, to quote UPS's online tracking service, sent "Out for Delivery" at 8:02 a.m. on June 15, 2010. (Disclosure .. . I do some work for a competitor courier serivce, but this has nothing to do with that relationshp.)
Here's what's been happening: I have been tracking the shipment online since it left Shanghai (yes MacBooks are built in Shanghai) until it arrived at the UPS Concord distribution terminal on Tuesday morning June 15, 2010 at 8:02 a.m.
According to the online 'tracking shipments' information available to me on Monday afternoon, my new MacBook was scheduled to be delivered initially on June 15th, although that information was edited at some point online to say that the delivery day was actually June 16th. (You will have to believe me on that one. I have now started to take Zap Grab captures of the tracking information so that history doesn't get changed.)
Today is June 16th and here is what happened: ups.com says this "Your package is on time with a scheduled delivery date of 16/6/2010." Since UPS will only give you a full day window for delivery, I asked my son to stay home all afternoon today in anticipation that it would arrive as other courier shipments usually do between 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
When I checked the online tracking at 2:00 p.m. nothing had been updated on the package detail since 8:02 a.m. June 15th, which made me suspicious. So I called the 1-800 number for UPS package tracking. The first person I spoke with was no help at all and in fact couldn't even tell me whether my MacBook was on a truck for delivery or not.
So, I asked to speak with a supervisor. Kim (her real name) got on the line, was very apologetic, and said she would call central dispatch to find out what was going on. About 30 minutes later another woman called me -- I think she was from central dispatch -- and said they were trying to phone the driver to see what was happening. After another 30 minutes or so she called back to say that she had been in touch with the driver, the package was indeed on the truck and would be delivered this afternoon.
Guess what . . . it is 9:45 p.m. and no MacBook. In fact, UPS online tracking still says that package went "Out for Delivery" at 8:02 a.m. on June 15. So, I just got off the phone with Cory (his real name), who was also very apologetic, and who said he would have central dispatch phone me in the morning to tell me what the hell is going on.
Assuming I get that call, and I am not in the least confident, what this means, of course, is that I now have to figure out a way to ensure that somebody is available all day tomorrow as well to receive a shipment that nobody seems to know when it will actually get here.
I'll save the analysis of what this means about customer service and reputation until I see whether or not UPS doesn't screw up delivery tomorrow. At this stage, I would think some manager should deliver the thing personally given the trouble they have put me through . . . or maybe this is just how they do business with every customer.