Why You Should Complain When You’ve Received Poor Service


I’ve heard many people say that service is “dead” these days, meaning that companies place such little value on it that they don’t train their employees on how to provide good customer service or fail to monitor to ensure that it’s occurring consistently. That statement does resonate with me – I find that many of the employees I encounter seem to hate their jobs and that bitterness seeps into every interaction. While I appreciate how difficult it must be to feel stuck in a toxic job, treating customers poorly is simply unacceptable – and companies need to know about it.

A very recent example is an interaction that occurred very recently, when FedEx Express was scheduled to deliver a highly-anticipated, signature-required package to our address. The driver actually just came up and put a tag on the door, without knocking or honking his horn, and drove away. Fortunately, Mr. fMf was able to run out and flag him down before he got very far away. When confronted about the failure to knock, the driver insisted that he had “banged on the door”, several times, and had attitude about it. Enough already. It’s obvious that the delivery driver had made an incorrect assumption about whether we were there to accept the package, and when caught, refused to own up to his error (and likely deviation from company policies). This kind of bad service merits a complaint to the company.

We live in a rural area and I’ve come to believe that aside from our rural mail carrier (who’s awesome) and our UPS driver (unfailingly friendly and chipper), the other drivers dislike coming out here. We’ve previously had an Amazon Logistics van drivers fail to deliver packages multiple times, the last time with the excuse that he “couldn’t enter our building”…which was a lie. Yes, I said it: a lie. A lie is a statement that is not supported by the facts, plain and simple. The facts did not support his assertion that somehow he couldn’t access our property; rather, from the map tracking of the package, he appeared to be nowhere near us when he decided to call it a day and head back to the office. Did we complain? Definitely. And it was disappointing to hear the Amazon Logistics Customer Service Representative simply admit that he thought that the driver was probably “just being lazy”. The next day, however, a very friendly Amazon Logistics driver brought the package that was supposed to have arrived the previous day.

But back to FedEx. FedEx is the carrier I like the least, based on the drivers who have delivered packages to our farm. The drivers have, at various times, had their music blasting as they arrived, raced up the driveway, left packages at places other than the door (??), and failed to knock at all. Once, I know I startled a driver who had assumed that no one was home when I looked out the window at him – he was clearly not expecting to see me there. The adage about what happens when you assume seems appropriate here.

So the FedEx driver lied about knocking at the door. If he had just owned up to not knocking, he would have politely been advised that he should knock because we’re often here. Instead, he chose to compound the lie by becoming indignant and implying that we were somehow mistaken – and that’s poor service. And will earn a complaint being filed about it.

Sadly, it seems that FedEx must receive a lot of complaints about their drivers – the supervisor’s voicemail box was actually full and wouldn’t accept a message. No worries, there are other ways to reach out to the company, like their handy email form. Oh, yes, it’s happening. And here’s why: because (1) the company needs to know that their representatives are interacting with customers inappropriately and (2) we’re not unreasonable people, expecting “above and beyond” service – we just think the driver should do his job, which is to get undamaged packages timely into the hands of the waiting customers. If there was a way to tell companies that we never want FedEx to deliver anything to us, I would do so.

Complaints actually do provide an opportunity for companies to improve processes and offer additional training to employees, where needed. It also helps companies identify if a patterns exist; for example, if the driver is frequently not delivering packages timely for the reason that the packages can’t be delivered but the GPS tracking shows that the driver hasn’t even made it to the vicinity of the delivery address (like the Amazon Logistics package) or the driver is failing to make timely deliveries saying that the address isn’t accessible (but it actually is), the root cause may not necessarily be “laziness”, it may be that the driver knows s/he can’t make the deliveries in the allotted timeframe, and has resorted to “gaming the system”. This could also be a process improvement opportunity – perhaps the size of the route or the number of packages needs to be reviewed and altered. I sincerely hope that companies use the information in a complaint as a reason to look at the incident holistically.

In stark contrast to the FedEx foibles, our rural carrier does a great job and has provided exemplary service. A recent example is when some hatching eggs were delivered to the local post office but the shipper neglected to mark them “hold for pickup”, despite clear instructions to do so. Our sharp-eyed carrier contacted us the morning the eggs arrived and asked if we wanted to pick them up…and yes, we surely did. While I know our carrier would have exercised due care in delivering them, they still would have had to ride for hours in a non-climate controlled vehicle over bumpy country roads, which would not have been good for the fragile eggs. To our trusty carrier, thank you!!

And to the FedEx driver who refused to own up to his mistake, you just made the situation that much worse by not admitting to it. Mistakes happen. Adults take responsibility for their errors, but instead, you behaved like a petulant child. You should be embarrassed.

Of course, I realize that it’s entirely possible that the complaint will simply go into the void or be dismissed by the receiving employee. There’s always that chance, but overall, I’ve received at least acknowledgement of most of the complaints I’ve filed, and with some, a satisfactory response. More importantly, instead of simply just sitting and stewing about it or whining about it to a friend, I take action that could actually have a positive effect.

If you’ve received substandard service, take action: file a complaint. Keep it factual, unemotional, and professional – the feedback should focus on the behavior/experience. Taking a few minutes to do it could actually make a difference.