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By B.L. Ochman

I first published this post three years ago. Sadly, nothing has changed since then. Except that customer service has gotten even worse. So, dear readers, it’s time to run this one again.

Within five minutes of me Tweeting this during an endless customer service call with UPS, it was re-Tweeted dozens of times, as was my next Tweet “We don’t give out our last names” – only hookers and customer service reps & people who don’t want to be held accountable say that.”

What prompted both Tweets was a phone call that took an hour and 15 minutes, and involved 10 different people, none of whom could solve all parts of a $34.32 problem.
Like so many companies, each department in UPS customer service is in its own silo. Not all of them can forward a call to another department. They don’t give out last names, or phone numbers – at least not until you finally get a supervisor – and even when one department can call another, they still have to wait on hold just like their hapless customers.


Hourly employees make your reputation
Even if those 10 people make minimum wage, that call cost UPS more than $34.32. And it sure cost me a couple hundred dollars worth of my billable time.

When you come right down to it, it’s almost always the hourly employees who have actual contact with actual customers who create your bottom line results. It makes great economic sense to empower them to solve a problem with one phone call.

Yet day after day, poorly paid employees, who are not empowered to make even their own simple decisions, handle the most important thing any company has – customers. It’s really time for that policy to change.

In case some companies haven’t noticed, we are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Customers count. Treat us like you know that. We’ll all be a lot happier. And more prosperous.