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How UPS and FedEx Got Me Thinking About Customer Service

We live about a mile and a half off the pavement and down a dirt road. We share the road with about 20 other homes.

Part of this road includes a very steep long grade along the north side of a hill. During the winter, the road on this hill can be slick for several weeks after a snowfall because it doesn’t get much sunshine. As a result, we can have trouble with garbage pick-up, FedEx and UPS deliveries.

Apparently, UPS does not provide its drivers with a way to contact the customer. But for the last couple of winters, the UPS driver would use her personal cell phone to call us to meet her out by the paved road. Without the proper tires, her big ole’ UPS truck would not make it down the hill or up safely. We didn’t mind driving out to get our packages. But unfortunately, that kind-hearted driver isn’t on our route anymore.

It snowed a few days ago and we haven’t been getting our packages from UPS. They’ve been “out-for-delivery” for about 5 days now. So we called UPS to find out if they could ask the driver to meet us where our former driver had so we could get our long-overdue packages. After multiple go-arounds with the automated system trying to get us off the phone, someone with a strong Asian accent answered. She said they had no way to communicate with drivers. And “kindly” kept saying that she was sorry we hadn’t received our packages. The call went nowhere.

Needless to say, it sounded rather hollow. Of course, her condolences were likely genuine. She probably apologizes all day long. Not being able to connect with the driver is not her problem, it’s a company policy. It’s a policy that our previous UPS driver decided wasn’t good enough. (I never asked her directly about that, but that’s what it felt like because she took the time to call us, and let us know that she was calling on her personal phone since she wasn’t given a company phone to do so.)

Today, we got a call from the FedEx driver. He had a package to deliver and said he’d be out at the end of the road in about 10 or 15 minutes if we would like to meet him there. No problem! I’m always happy to drive out with our 4-wheel drive truck and pick up a package.

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To me, that call he made is customer service. That’s taking care of the customer. That’s why they’re in business.

I don’t know if it’s FedEx’s policy to have their drivers contact customers in order to facilitate package delivery where the road conditions aren’t great, but it’s very much appreciated.

As for UPS, well, I’m not so thrilled. We sure appreciated the previous driver though. (Maybe she’s not driving our route now due to getting hired by FedEx or something, lol!)

UPS is a big company and they have lots of customers. We’re just one of them. But no matter how big your company is, each customer matters. If every single customer stopped using UPS, they wouldn’t have much to do. Granted that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but the point is it’s their business to serve their customers.

This is where you can gain a big advantage with your own business. Where are other companies in your industry dropping the ball when it comes to customer service?

If you run a smaller business, you can easily gain a competitive advantage over a large company by delivering talk-worthy customer service. You can be a lot quicker in creating change and adjusting to the needs of your customers. Don’t ignore this advantage! If you do it could be hurting your bottom line.

What can you do to wow your customers? I’ve written about how Zappos wows its customers. You could refer to that article for some ideas.

If you take the time to find just one way in which you can better support your customers, I can pretty much guarantee they’ll appreciate it. And doing so will help differentiate you from your competitors.

Take a few minutes today and find one area in your business where you can better serve your customers. They’ll thank you for it.


Funny thing! The afternoon after I wrote this article, a new UPS driver called and asked us if we wanted to meet him down by the mailboxes to get our long overdue packages. We sure did! It still sounded like he used his personal phone to call us. It was nice to get the packages finally!

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Trevor Wilson

Trevor Wilson

I love helping business owners who are passionate about making a positive difference in their clients' lives. I'm a passionate learner and teacher. My purpose is to help people live a more fulfilled life. In my professional life, I love helping business owners get clear on their purpose and identity. Then I help them clearly communicate their story so they can attract their ideal clients. I do this because I believe that when you work with your ideal clients you'll live a more fulfilled life.

Successful people do what everyone else won't dare to do. Don't wish it were easier; make yourself better.