Jan 072007

They’ve Destroyed Both Companies

They’ve Destroyed Both Companies

Just when you thought Verizon was in fact the worst company in the world to do business with (see my post here if for some reason you’re not on that page), along comes FedEx/Kinkos.

I used to be a huge fan of both companies.  I was even a fan of the merger and felt like it particularly made sense in light of UPS purchasing Mailboxes Etc.  And I don’t know if our experiences are representative, but Mariquita and I have had nothing but bad experiences with both FedEx and Kinkos for the past couple of years.

Kinkos is the worst — most of the people are surly, unhelpful, not smart, have massive attitude, and ignore you when you’re standing in front of them.  They never have packing materials, and when they do, they charge you for them and make you pack your own box in their store.  Their systems have no idea who you are.  We now walk out of our way to the UPS store, where you walk in, hand them a pile of stuff, give them your phone number, and walk out in 2 minutes while they pack your box up and bill it to the credit card on file for your phone number.

And FedEx, which used to be great at its core business, has slipped tremendously as well.  Its drivers and delivery guys are spotty; sometimes ok, but sometimes they don’t even try.  Their definition of going the extra mile stops at the first foot.  And its 800# operators are awful — they clearly went to the Kinkos school of customer service.  At least their packages generally get there on time.  But at work, we’ve turned increasingly to use Mimeo to both produce and ship high-quality documents without having to print and deal with the FedEx stuff ourselves.  A MUCH better alternative.

Again, I just say, why can’t they all be as great as Zappos?  It’s just not that hard.  And Starbucks has proven that a quick service retail operation can be as great at customer service as an Internet company.

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  • Neil Schwartzman

    FEDEX managed to lose a $40,000 digital recording console jazz pianist Oscar Peterson donated to the university concert hall I was running. FEDEX managed to track down one such unit sitting in New Jersey but claimed it was not the same one (there were only 30 of the units on the planet, apparently they felt two of them were being shipped simultaneously).

    Unfortunately, OP’s secretary had accidentally dropped a zero when indicating the value, so they made good on a $4,000 insurance claim, and only after pressure being brought to bear in the national press.

    Attitude, good or bad, doesn’t start (nor stop) with the front-line client-service folk. Friendly service comes from employees being empowered to make decisions and supported in them by management, and by having a measure of gratification they derive from their jobs, beyond a pay-cheque every two weeks.

    Ask yourself – do your employees get up each morning and look forward to going to work?

    Two examples of great customer service people are the sales people at Harrod’s, and Nordstrom: In every instance when I have shopped at either store, the sales staff, occupying what many stores manage to make a mindless, soul-crushing job, have dealt with me in the most pleasant, upbeat manner; professional, courteous, and they know their products.

    These CSRs deliver and not in the obsequious style of the scripted, chirpy, grating ‘My name is Patrick, I’ll be your server today, can I start you off with some drinks? No, ok, these are today’s specials’ irritation one encounters in far too many restaurants in Canada and the U.S. today.

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