The UPS Store misses the mark

It was finally my turn, and as I walked up to the counter to send my two packages another woman came in from behind me carrying a FedEX box. She obviously had no idea that she was not welcome there.
“Excuse me, do you accept FedEX packages?”
“No we don’t,” frowned the UPS Store worker. Disgusted that she even had to dignify that question with a response.
“Well, do you know where they accept FedEX packages around here?” The woman asked cautiously.
“No idea,” the UPS worker said cynically, as if it was a completely ridiculous question to ask.

I’m sorry, but the social media world has made me far more sensitive to this kind of poor customer service. What was this UPS worker thinking? Did she really need to act this way?

The customer had a problem to solve, but didn’t find any help at the UPS Store. Granted, the customer wasn’t trying to send a package through UPS, but clearly she doesn’t send packages often. It was also likely that she didn’t CHOOSE FedEX, it looked like a pre-paid package that was possibly sent to her.

The UPS Store could have won a new customer for life by:
-Helping this woman find a store close by
-Looking up a store for her in the phone book or on the computer
-Being civil

Was her question really that absurd? She walked into a “UPS Store” that used to be Mailbox Express in attempts to send out a FedEX package. How dare she, right?

Note to UPS Store employees: Put the customer first by learning where the nearest FedEX drop-off location is. It is probably a frequently asked question.

With the increased transparency of the internet, average customer service won’t cut it. Maybe nobody from UPS will ever read this blog post, but you can guarantee that me and the woman with the FedEX box will go elsewhere to handle shipping needs.


11 Responses to “The UPS Store misses the mark”

  1. Andi says:

    Ok let’s set the record straight. Both Fed Ex and UPS are great companies. I own 2 UPS Stores so what I am about to report to you is commonly known to the public. When UPS bought Mail Boxes Etc. And changed the name to The UPS Store, Fed Ex decided that The UPS Stores could no longer accept Fed Ex packages. This decision came from Fed Ex not UPS. The UPS Stores tried to continue to accept packages to service all of the customers, however Fed Ex refused to pick the packages up. There was never any notice given to The UPS Stores that Fed Ex was not going to allow their drivers to continue picking up packages. We have great relationships with the Fed Ex drivers and I wish in the worst way we could still provide this service to our customer. I am a believer that the way you word something to a customer can make or break the situation. I am not taking up for the employee, I do not know this store where this incident took place. It is a frustrating situation, it seems Fed Ex is just a little harder to find, maybe if they had more retail outlets the customers who need them will not have to become a part of a seeking game. I am sure there phone numbers are listed in the phone book. Just kindly remember that this was Fed Ex’s decision.

    • Interesting insight, perhaps that explains the attitude that the employee gave to the person trying to drop off the FedEx package. I’m not sure it excuses the behavior of the employee though.

    • Jim says:

      Adrian I can totally understand your perception of the situation, and the attitude towards that person is unacceptable. Here’s the problem in a nutshell with this franchise and why you probably witnessed the owner’s frustration boil over.
      In 2003, most of the stores changed their name, as well as the business model, from Mailboxes Etc. to The UPS Store based on promises not kept by UPS. One of those promises was that the UPS brand name would drive paying customers to our stores at the expense of the post office.
      The problem was that UPS began picking off our paying customers for themselves. They went into our manifests, which are owned by UPS, and gave our best customers their own accounts, turning us into staffed drop boxes. In 2008, pre-paid packages exceeded paid packages and it’s only getting worse. We are paid a pittance for these packages, yet we are responsible for paying rents, utilities, royalties, supplies, even royalties for accepting the drop-offs on the small amount we are compensated for.
      This is not what we signed up for. MBE/UPS are now trying to tell us to forget about shipping and concentrate on being print shops, forcing us to buy expensive software and machines in order to be in compliance.
      One question may be on your mind as well as your readers. Why don’t we get out? The problem lies in the leases that we have signed on our store structure and the expensive machinery, all which require personal guarantees. So you have a few options available. Sell for pennies on the dollar and hope that there is a job somewhere out there in this economy. Or you could always close and declare bankruptcy. For some owners this is not an option because they are suing UPS, and are fearful that any settlement they may receive may go to the courts. It makes one feel as if they’re an indentured servant to UPS.
      So why haven’t you heard anything about all of this? No one wants to touch this with a ten foot pole due to the amount of advertising that UPS Spends. We received one lucky break from the Wall Street Journal: Also Janet Sparks from Franchise Times has written some wonderful articles on if anyone is interested.
      Sorry to bore some of you, but when you do this day after day (I’m here every day of the week), the situation itself can cause a lot of angst. I try not to let it get to me and I vent here instead of in public – and I would have done exactly as you suggested, directing that person to the nearest FE drop-off location.

      • Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing. It was pretty shocking seeing the attitude of the person working at the store, but obviously there is much more to the story than I imagined. I appreciate the comment.

    • If she were to look online there would of been many listings for Fedex stores in the Google places or Google maps portion of the page.

      I agree that the workers attitude was uncalled for but I represent UPS stores nationwide and have never ran into a worker like that. So I would like to think this was an isolated incident. You might of wanted to make that complaint to the owner of the store so he/she could of addresses it instead of putting a whole chain of stores on blast.

      You could of also left a review on their Google places listing which get over 39% of the page clicks.

      I guess my thought was that you shouldnt be so harsh on a whole chain and should of just mentioned this to the owner. I own 4 businesses and value client/customer input as many other owners do.


      • Thanks Jack,

        I wasn’t calling out UPS or the UPS Store chains in general. What I was calling out was a very poor attitude by an employee of a UPS Store. It exists everywhere, and I think people appreciate that.

        My aim was to point out how our expectations for service have evolved.

  2. Doug says:

    Look at it as if a person who was given a gift certificate for Dominos, walks into a Little Caesars and asks where is the nearest Dominos because they want pizza and they have that free gift certificate. I wouldn’t expect the Little Caesars clerk to be very accomodating about giving directions to the nearest Dominos. You don’t walk into Home Depot and ask them where is the nearest Lowes. Person should be intelligent to find out the nearest FedEx location on her own. If the clerk knew, They could possibly go as far as saying for example, I think it is on Main Street near Pine Avenue. That is going far and above what they needed to do in thic instance.

    • Doug,

      It isn’t the same as a gift certificate to a competing pizza place. They are walking into a shipping store that sends packages from UPS as well as USPS. They used to send packages from FedEx, but how is the average consumer supposed to know they no longer send packages from FedEx?

      Also, I can’t imagine the question is uncommon at a packing store. The person walking in wasn’t trying to support a competitor, didn’t choose that, they were just trying to solve a problem- sending a pre-paid package. Any employee at a store should be willing to help someone solve their problems, especially nowadays.

      Remember the old Miracle on 34th street, where Santa tells people where they can find toys that are out of stock at Macy’s? He is directing them to competitors, because he wants to help them. That type of an attitude is what earns new business. Not rolling your eyes at potential customers.

  3. Steve says:

    I just happened across this post and couldn’t resist.

    Mr. Dayton, do you go into a Wal-Mart and immediately ask an employee where the nearest Target ( a competitor) store is? Do you call JC Penney to ask for the number to Sears? Just think about that for more than a second, let that sink in.

    That being said, all our employees are nice enough to provide not only an address but detailed driving directions to the nearest Fedex facility. We do this, not only out of courtesy, but as a challenge for the customer to see which carrier will serve their needs best. If the package they have is not a prepaid Fedex package, they invariably return to our store.

    I agree the individual you encountered was borderline rude but I hope that is the exception to the rule.

  4. Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. To answer your question, I don’t go into a store and ask for information about a competitor, but that wasn’t what I saw happen. I saw an individual that was trying to send a pre-paid package. The old Mailbox Etc sent packages via both UPS and FEDEX, so it was reasonable for this person to assume the UPS store could mail out her package.

    Glad to hear your employees provide address and driving directions, that is going above and beyond- and nowadays that kind of great service is expected.


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