Jim S Miller

Thoughts on the Client Experience and Banking

Customer Service Failure: A Day in FedEx IVR/Call Center Hell

with 2 comments

Customer walking in to FedEx Office location

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I needed to print a presentation at FedEx Office.  When I tried to login to their website, I realized I forgot my password.  Fortunately I have a lot of experience dealing with this issue, so I went through the normal steps.  I clicked on the forgot your User ID button, entered my email address and received the email with my User ID.  With the correct User ID in hand, I clicked on the forgot password button.  As is common in these cases it asked a challenge question.  I filled in the field and hit enter, and got this response: “Please check your User ID or password, then try again.”  I tried again and got the same response.  They don’t give any other suggestions other than “try again.”  Eventually I got a message that said to call 1.800.Go.FedEx.  I called the number and it turns out this is the main FedEx number (not just FedEx Office).  First time through the IVR menu and I couldn’t figure out what to select, or how to go back to the previous menu options so I tried again from the beginning.  I still couldn’t figure out how to navigate the IVR menu on the second call, but was eventually able to reach a real person.  I thought I was on the right track, but she told me she was part of FedEx and I needed to talk to someone at FedEx Office…so much for acting like a single company.  She gave me a phone number for FedEx Office and tried to transfer me (wonder why they don’t use that number on the FedEx Office Website?).  Eventually she came back on the line and told me she had someone on the line from FedEx Office.  Now I am making some progress!  I explain to the FedEx Office woman that I need my password reset.  She tells me she is the billing department and can’t help me.  She gives me the main FedEx Office number, but gives me important information….she tells me to select option 2 twice.  Great!  I call the number, select 2 twice and get a real person.  I explain my problem for the third time.  Guess what?  He can’t help me.  He tells me that he needs to contact level 2 support (whatever that is) and gets my phone number and email address. 

At the beginning of the call, I was told I could stay on the phone and take a survey after the call.  I am ready to give my constructive advice, but am only asked 5 basic questions, each on a scale of 1-5.  Overall I gave them a 1 (lowest score), but the rest of the questions are about my wait-time (which wasn’t too bad on my third call), professionalism of the representative (which was OK, but he certainly didn’t seem too interested in helping me) and  a couple of other questions.  It did not offer any option to leave a comment about why I am unhappy with my experience.  After the call I sit by the phone ready to get help, but no one calls or emails.  I need to get this presentation printed, so I try the password process again.  Eventually I discover the challenge question is case-sensitive  and bingo I am in.  Did I ever hear from level 2 support?  Twenty four hours later and still no response.

 What could FedEx have done to improve the customer experience? 

  • If they had displayed that the challenge question was case-sensitive, I would have saved a couple of hours and they would have saved three phone calls that their representatives had to handle.  (easy fix – no cost to FedEx and saves them money by handling fewer calls)
  • When my challenge question failed, if they had given me an appropriate phone number to get help, and the IVR menu options it would have prevented the first two calls.  At that point, it is obvious that it is a password problem, so it shouldn’t be hard to give a helpful number to call, rather than the main FedEx number. (easy fix – no cost to FedEx)
  • I doubt anyone in management has ever tried to navigate their IVR menu.  They need to simplify it and make it easier to talk to a real person.  My attempt of pressing “0” twenty times did not help.  (somewhat harder fix, some cost to FedEx, but they are a big company, I think they can afford it)
  • A password reset should not take “level 2” support.  They need to fix their process or better train their employees to handle this.  (moderate fix, but would save FedEx money in the long run…or maybe in less than a month) 
  • If they tell a customer they will contact them, they should follow through…even if they find out later than I resolved the problem on my own.  (easy fix – no cost to FedEx)
  • If they are going to ask their customers to take a survey, there should be a way to leave real feedback.  How can they improve if they don’t understand what went wrong. (easy fix – call Prime Performance for help)

 Below is a commercial for FedEx Office.  Their tagline is “We understand you can never have too much help.”  Based on my experience this is marketing spin.  If they really care, there are a few easy fixes they can implement….or they can just make another commercial.  The choice is theirs.

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Written by Jim S Miller

December 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Jim: I’ve been through this scenario with another company, and there is nothing more frustrating! Especially when there’s an easy fix but the entire interaction is anything but easy. The juxtaposition of the real experience to the commercial is poignant!

    I wish more companies would ask their customers for their ideas. Thanks for sharing -

    Donna Highfill

    December 1, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    • Donna: It certainly is frustrating. I wonder how many executives try their companies’ IVRs. Thanks for your comment.

      Jim S Miller

      December 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm


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