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Is Someone Accountable? … Anyone? … Anyone?

Posted December 19, 2012 8:22 PM by Mark Cutler

While the term “vlog” traditionally refers to video blogs, I’m referring to this post as my first vlog as shorthand for a “venting blog.”  Today, I had (actually, I’m having because I’m still in the midst of it) one of the more frustrating customer service experiences in recent memory. At 7:59pm I am waiting for a delivery that I was told would arrive between 7:45am and 11:45am this morning.

The question this issue begs is:  Who is accountable?  I called the delivery company at 11:50am when it hadn’t arrived yet and I hadn’t heard from them.  The customer service rep called the driver who said it would be delivered by 3:00pm.  The rep, when she saw my account, told me that they never should have told me 7:45-11:45 and that she was sorry.  Great.

At 4:20pm, when the delivery still had not arrived and I hadn’t received a call, I again called customer service.  The rep again called the driver and was told that I was the next delivery and he would be there in 30 to 40 minutes.  Sorry.

Just now, at 7:59 pm—three hours after the last delivery time they gave me and 8 hours 15 minutes after the end of the original window—I called again.  I explained the situation to Rob, the night service manager, who apologized, tried to call the driver but couldn’t reach him, and then offered to keep calling and call me back when he knew something.  Well, he called back to say that, sorry, he still can’t get in touch with the driver and it just so happens that it isn’t one of their drivers, but a contract driver and his company can’t reach him either. Rob apologized again, told me he was escalating the issue, would keep trying to reach the driver and get back to me as soon as he knew anything.

So, right now, I’ve not left the house the entire day so as not to miss the delivery and I will likely have to do this again. What I want to know from the delivery company is: Who is accountable?  And, what I silently wonder is, how, if at all, they will be held to account?  Finally, what will they do to correct the issue that caused this mishap and improve their performance?

The driver, obviously, isn’t concerned about repercussions – he provided incorrect information twice already today and is incommunicado right now – and he isn’t even employed by the delivery company.  The questions the performance management consultant (read: nerd) in me asks are: Are drivers held responsible for on-time delivery? Are customer service reps held responsible for providing accurate information and following up to ensure they did? Is the delivery company held accountable by the vendor I made the purchase from?  Is the contract company held responsible for on-time delivery by the delivery company? 

By asking these questions, you can start to see how this transaction was doomed to failure because there are so many links in the chain at which it can breakdown.  Is there really any chance for them to improve their performance?

As for me, I’m nothing to them.  My order was from another company that is using this freight service and gave me free shipping. They can’t make it any more free and they can’t get the delivery here on time.

It is now 8:23pm and I still don’t know when my delivery will be here.  I just want to know, who is accountable for this and will any behavior change by me expressing dissatisfaction?