FedEx: They Absolutely, Positively Should Have Gotten it Right the First Time
by Randy Cassingham
I just about tore out most of my hair trying to ship a package via FedEx, and it should have been a piece of cake.
First, since the last time I logged in to my account, they changed something and wanted me to add some information. No problem: I did that. Then I had to "confirm" my address. It showed me the address it had on file. It was correct, so I clicked "Continue". Bzzzt! "Information doesn't match what we have on file." Huh? And it wouldn't let me "update" my address info without typing in what they had! How can I possibly do that if they have an error and won't show me what the erroneous info was!
I couldn't go forward and thus had to call FedEx. The agent who answered couldn't help and I was transferred to "tech support". But they couldn't figure it out either! So I was transferred to the billing department. After I explained the problem for the third time, the clerk there found the problem: they had my Zip Code wrong in their system -- they had the Zip for the local FedEx office, which is in the next town (and the next county), rather than mine.
Yeah, whatever. "That's not correct, and here's the right one," I said. She typed that in, but her system kicked it out: the Postal Service, she said, couldn't verify that Zip Code for that address. Well so what?! They're not the Post Office! But, she explained, they match everything with the Post Office data base for address verification, and that's the way it is. "But," I counter-explained, I don't get mail delivery here! There is no mailbox at my rural location; I have a PO Box in town to get mail. "Since the Post Office doesn't deliver here, they can hardly be considered the authority for what my address is, can they?" Plus, I pointed out, FedEx delivers packages to my address all the time, with the Zip Code on the package being right for my town, not the town in the next county!
Yet she wouldn't budge: that's the way her system works. The only thing she could do, she said, was call the Post Office and see if she could get that corrected. Gaa! She put me on hold -- and astoundingly was back with me within two minutes, saying my Zip Code was fixed. I was suspicious that anyone at the Post Office could do anything that fast, but I went back online and was able to get my packaged "shipped". Next step: drop it off to the nearest FedEx pickup spot. I went to their "Find a Location" screen and typed in -- yes -- my Zip Code.
No locations found. It did show places in three other towns, but I thought it was rather odd that they wouldn't have a pickup spot here. Surely I didn't have to drive an extra 20 minutes!
I was pretty sure there was a pickup spot close by, so I went there and, sure enough, there was a drop box, pretty much smack dab in the middle of my Zip Code. When I got back home I went back to FedEx.com and again checked my Zip Code for a pickup location. None found. So I went to their support page and informed them that their system shows no location in my Zip Code, but there most definitely is one, and I provided the exact location and asked them, "Please update your system!"
I quickly got a reply:
Re: FedEx Express [Incident: 060821-002376]
Thank you for your inquiry.
We received your message and are routing it to the person at FedEx who is most qualified to answer. We hope to be back with you shortly.
They "hope" to be back with me shortly? Sheesh! I hope so too! But at least they'll route it "to the person at FedEx who is most qualified to answer." Sure enough, just 17 minutes later, I got my reply from that "qualified person":
FedEx provides thousands of convenient locations, staffed and unstaffed, where you can handle your shipping business. To find the nearest locations and check detailed maps showing how to get there, use our online drop-off locator.
We hope this information is helpful. Thank you for shipping with FedEx.
FedEx Customer Service
Elaine is the "most qualified" person to answer? Quick: sell your FedEx stock! If Elaine is an example of someone who's "qualified" within FedEx, she and everyone with similar "qualifications" will take the company down for sure! I had just made it clear their "online drop-off locator" had erroneous information. Hello?
By now I had spent over an hour online and with their phone support to ship one package, and this is what I get for helping them improve customer service to make it easier for people in my area to use them next time? I was now officially a Cranky Customer. "It's obvious you didn't actually READ my message," I replied. "Please do so, and don't send me a canned response again."
Just 28 minutes later, "Kristine C" did a much better job:
We appreciate you taking the time to advise us of your concerns as it only through our customer's feedback that we may make improvements in our services. I have alerted the appropriate FedEx personnel for corrective action needed.
Elaine blew it, and needs remedial training. Kristine should get a raise so she doesn't get FedUp with her job and leave it to the Elaines of the world. The question is, will FedEx do either one?
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One-Month Update: It could well be true that "Elaine" and "Kristine" are not real people, as several of the comments suggested (see all comments). Either way, the bottom line is that after a full month nothing has changed on the FedEx web site: it still shows no drop-off location for my area, advising customers still need to drive to the next town (10 miles) for a simple drop-off box, or to the next county (35 miles) for a staffed location. Shame on FedEx for not getting it right, and double shame on them for not getting it right even when they've been told of the problem!