Friday, April 03, 2009

That's Customer Service for You

I'm not the type of person who stays quiet when things happen. If I see something I like, I make it known. When I experience something not-so-hot, I say something, usually to try to fix it. I'm a firm believer that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Besides, if I did something for someone and they didn't like it, I'd want to know, because chances are good that I was trying to do something nice.

Have I lost you yet? Let me explain.

I've had some problems with the post office. The first was because of a postage situation. I wrote a letter explaining the situation and agreeing to pay for more postage, but the post master took care of it. My packages were mailed and I didn't have to pay extra. Three cheers for the postal dude!

That was pretty easy. This is a small community. People get to know each other, so you can talk to the post master when you need to. I like that about where I live. But what do you do when it's a bigger problem? What if it's not MY post office, but the post office in general? How do you figure out the problem?

Simple - go to the website and contact them (there's a place to express concerns).

Okay, so I'm trying to print postage for a package I want to send. I follow the procedures, but the last two times nothing happens. It just doesn't print anything. Granted I'm not charged for the lack of postage, but there's obviously something wrong. I send a message to the trouble shooters and wait.

Pop quiz: how do you get people to leave you alone? Make communication with you the most annoying thing in the world.

I got an email back from the USPS tech people. Excited, I opened it. POOF. That's the air escaping my lungs as I read the email: [paraphrased for dramatic effect]

We're sorry this isn't working, but I can't help you until you give me the following info:
- what were you trying to print?
- what kind of printer do you have?
- is it a color printer?
- what kind of computer do you have?
- what system do you use?
- how old is your system?
- are you using the factory installed drivers, or did you install your own?
- what color was your paper?
- did you plug the printer into the computer?

Seriously - they sent me about ten questions that needed to be answered about my system before they could help me. But didn't I tell them that I've been able to print postage before? This is a new development, and none of the hardware on my end has changed?

Since I pretty sure my computer ISN'T the problem, and since I'm pretty sure some geeky guy in a cubicle in Virgina doesn't care about my printing problems, I ignored it.

Then came my magazines. I only have two subscriptions. I finally got them in the mail - both of them had the backs ripped off (one had the entire back HALF ripped off). Since they came across country I contacted local and national postal people.

Local post master - concerned, caring. Spoke to me and looked into it for me.

National computer center - [again, paraphrased]

Sorry about your mail. In order to figure out what happened, please give us the following info:
- when was the magazine sent?
- where did it come from?
- how long did it take you to get it?
- what does the label say?
- what's the code on the label?
- is the label white or pink?
- was there enough postage on it?
- did you buy the magazine, or was it a gift?

Once again, I don't think they even read my message. If they did, then they missed the part where the cover was ripped off. You know, the cover - the part with the labels and postage and codes on it??

With all of this said I want to make sure you know that I'm not anti-post office. I like dealing with the locals. I know them. They understand that my two magazines are important to me. I live in's still snowing here. There's nothing else to do if you don't have your magazines.

But those folks in Virgina...they don't seem to care. And they've made their point. I won't be dealing with them anymore. I will only talk with my local post master. He gets me. He's nice. He really does care about making a good impression, because he lives here, too.

Great big national organizations - they're really losing their appeal.

1 comment:

Camille said...

I'm anti-post office. I'm pretty sure that if we allowed UPS and FedEX and DHL to compete for our business and magazine publishers business, we'd have a a MUCH better system.

The post office is my #1 reason to fear gov't run health care. "Oh, sorry we accidentally gave you the wrong meds. Where did it happen? When? What doctor? How long did you wait to see the doctor? How tall was the doctor? How tall are you? What is your eye color?....