Please Stop Apologizing and Telling Me It is for My Convenience
Nothing is more frustrating to me than a bait and switch. Ordering online for delivery to me means product is delivered to my door. It's always been this way, and it is what I continue to expect. I live in Brooklyn, NY. I don't have a car. I am 5'4" and 117 lbs. It's hot outside. I am busy. I don't have time to manage your inability to get me product to my door. And, I certainly don't want the added frustration of customer service agents at UPS, Lowe's, and Amazon apologizing for the "confusion," telling me it was delivered to a store 6 blocks from my house "for my convenience," and saying "Apologies!" as if that actually means anything.
I ordered an air conditioner from Lowe's last month when the weather was turning hot. On the first delivery attempt by UPS, I got a note on my door that told me my package was going to be left 6 blocks away "for my convenience." Seriously? What part of convenience equals asking me to walk 6 blocks and haul an air conditioner back to my house? That is just stupid training, silly scripting, and mindless business practices.
Today, I got a note from UPS on the door again saying "Sorry, we missed you. You will need to pick up your package ... 6 blocks away." Amazon's message when I tracked the package was "We tried to deliver your package but noone was home. We delivered it to a nearby store instead for you convenience." Yes sure, convenience. It is July, 90 degrees in New York, and I have nothing better to do than to fetch packages that should be delivered to my door.
I tried to not get upset and instead consider it a nice opportunity for a midday walk. So, I walked. I handed the C-Town (UPS Access Point) my ticket. They then told me the package "hadn't been dropped at the store yet." Apparently, once UPS leaves you a notice that they won't be delivering your package to your home, it's another 48 hours before the package actually gets dropped at the location that isn't your home. They just forget to mention that along with all the rhetoric about convenience...
So, let's review:
1. I ordered online with the expectation for product to be delivered to my home because in my years of experience that is how ordering online works. It's this crazy phenomenon called the internet and online shopping I learned about in the late 90's...
2. With their new non-home delivery program, UPS and Lowe's decided to drop an air conditioner at a drop location 6 blocks from my house "for my convenience" nevermind the weight of the package.
3. Yesterday, Amazon and UPS decided "for my convenience" to leave a different package at the same drop location 6 blocks from my house. When I went to retrieve it around 2:15 p.m. today, the package wasn't "off the truck yet.".... for my convenience i'm sure.
And, here is the result:
I no longer trust UPS who I once regarded as a great brand, a great service, and a good company. They no longer deserve it because their messaging and their behavior proves untrustworthy. I promised Lowe's last month I would never order anything from them again. I have never been a huge Amazon fan, and as of today I probably will avoid them too.
All three brands have inconvenienced me, disrespected my time, and essentially lied to me. In the name of providing me with what they are sugar coating as a new convenience to drop packages during the day at random locations because people are so frequently not home, they are simply and obviously conveniencing themselves. Their age-old policy of 3 delivery attempts to my door (7 years of consistent UPS delivery data) apparently no longer works for them and instead they are leaving my packages at random locations blocks away from my home where I can't either carry the package home due to weight or the package isn't there when I am inconvenienced to go to collect it.
No, UPS, you aren't convincing me this is for me and my benefit. You want the packages off the trucks. Rather than looking strategically at your own business model to figure out how to address your urban challenge of daytime delivery in the age of increasing online ordering balanced with meeting customers' need/desire to have packages delivered to their houses when they actually order for delivery, you have concocted a scheme and spun a story. Sadly, you are now as bad as the airlines and Time Warner Cable. You have succumbed to a deficit model after having been a leader in your industry, and a new company - of the Uber type - will likely come in, fill the void, and begin to make you obsolete.
To approach operating challenges and organizational strategy like so is bad for business; bad for the customer; terrible, horrible communication on the parts of Lowe's, Amazon,and UPS; and gives training and development the bad name it deserves. The poor human beings on the other end of every encounter today didn't make the stupid policies, changes, or write the scripts. They just have to sound dumb and pretend the ire emitting off of me isn't as bad as it seems.... All they can do is apologize and keep suggesting the idea of dropping a package 6 blocks from my house is for my convenience which we both know isn't the truth.
If you are going to change a policy that has been in place for years, one that customers have come to expect and appreciate, make sure you engage them in the process of that decision and that change. Allow them to buy-in to your change, understand the reasons for it, and be able to choose whether it is something they want to participate in. Thrusting customers into unknown and unexpected territory that deviates so far from what they know is always bad for business. We are grown-ups. We make our own decisions and we won't be happy to be in the position where your change disrupts our lives. Service providers are called service providers for a reason.... we provide services to our clients. UPS, you have existed to provide a delivery service to your customers. If you are changing that mission, vision, and value - it's your choice but I want to be able to decide for myself if I want the new "service" you provide. Just trying to narrate how sorry you are and how delivering 6 blocks from my front door is "for my convenience" has nothing to do with service. You and I are both too smart for such stupid behavior.
Furthermore, it's 2015 and the Post Office model is dying for a reason... why would you ever think this is a good idea?
When you make a change, respect your customers enough to tell them. Ducking behind your change and surprising them through disrespect, inconvenience, and stupidity isn't ever going to end well. The smarter approach is to do the good, hard thinking of what your users (customers) want/need at this point in time, with the internet and online delivery, and adapt your business model to remain competitive and aligned with your company's original purpose, mission, and values. Regressing to a model from the early industrial era is bizarre, surprising, and clearly.... extraordinarily frustrating for this customer.