How To Annoy Your Customers, FedEx Style

Hot on the heels of my last post on annoying your customers, here’s another good one. So we finally received our FitBit Flex devices on Monday, but they were in our city on Friday, but just sitting, cooling their heels. Here we are, after waiting for months, with FedEx now teasing us that the devices are here, but not here. This is what we saw when we checked on Friday:

Location: SAN JOSE, Not Scheduled For Delivery

Yup. Our long-awaited devices were sitting in a FedEx warehouse, but because they hadn’t scheduled delivery for the day, they actually arrived in town. So in Fedex’s infinite wisdom, they decided to “neener neener” us by telling us that our stuff was here; we just couldn’t have it yet.

Multiple things wrong here. When you tell a customer that you will deliver on X date, and the package does actually arrive in the destination city on X-3 date, you should deliver it. The customer does not care about when it was scheduled to arrive; he just wanted it yesterday. This is just bad policy, IMHO. Oh, and BTW, for those who think it missed the delivery window, it actually arrived the night before. So what’s the rule? ALWAYS BEAT EXPECTATIONS, if you can.

At the very least, the whole way in which things were communicated needs to be revised. Sure, in the interests of transparency, they should tell us where our packages are at every moment. But on the flip side, this information could expose issues in your operation. Even status updates should be written with care. If you ask me, a customer might forgive one indiscretion like this but pile them up, and they can easily move to another carrier. The second rule: ALWAYS TELL THE CUSTOMER WHAT’S GOING ON, but make sure that the way you say it doesn’t hurt your brand. Fedex’s brand is SPEED, and your package sitting in a warehouse over a weekend isn’t speed; it’s an old guy behind the counter telling you he’ll get to you when he gets to you.

Anyways, we have our Fitbit Flex’s now and are very happy with them – but the experience of purchase and shipping left much to be desired. Your customer might be ok with this if they are waiting for a cool, new, unique product, but treatment like that gets old fast.