A lesson in customer service: Apple vs UPS

While waiting for the delivery of an iPhone I’ve had the “joy” of experiencing both UPS customer service and Apple customer service over the same issue. First the facts:

  • Apple tells me my iPhone has shipped and to expect delivery on Oct 2.
  • UPS attempts first delivery Sep 28, second Oct 1 and third Oct 2.
  • UPS requires an additional $6 for the fourth delivery.

When contacted UPS tells me that it’s all Apple’s fault for misleading me. They can do nothing. Nothing but tell me they’re sorry but they have to follow the rules. Thank you for nothing Abigail in the UPS call center. They tell me to call Apple.

Get to Alex in Apple’s call center. He agrees absolutely this should not have happened this way. Immediately discounts by $9 (50% over what I was charged) a pending order for a Lightening Adapter. Escalates it to the Delivery Team for review as it should not have happened.

Guess who I have positive feelings about right now, and who I want to do business with? Guess who I’d rather not do business with again?

Two marketing opportunities. One failed, one succeeded. Yes, marketing. Every interaction a customer has with the company is marketing. The drivers, call center folk, and everyone that has any interaction with a customer is marketing the business.

I think FedEx’s primary delivery contract with Apple isn’t at risk. Apple only use UPS for overflow demand and given this example, they’ve got no chance of replacing FedEx.  Mind you all delivery companies have occasional problems, but over the 12 years I’ve worked in the US, we’ve come to prefer FedEx over UPS because UPS screw it up so much more often in our experience.

Marketing. Every interaction, all the time.


6 thoughts on “A lesson in customer service: Apple vs UPS”

  1. Funny you should write this : I had a terrible experience with FedEx here in France just today.

    Long story > short : after failing to deliver one of two parcels, they try to blame it on the customer for not telling them there were two packages. Uh ?

    In my experience UPS here is better : the local driver now gives me a heads up by either calling me or texting me ahead of his arrival. That’s service for you !

  2. My life experience has been exactly the opposite. Almost every time I order from Apple, and they send it Fed EX, there is a problem. Often, despite being home, and near the door, there is never a knock. I’ll open it to find a tag saying they missed me. The same has occured with overnight documents i’ve sent Fed Ex.

    You couldn’t pay me to use Fed Ex at this point.

    1. The point I was making was that there is a difference in the quality of service between pretty much any big company and Apple. Doesn’t matter if they’re a transport, cable or phone company – via Apple there’s great service, direct they suck. (I’ve written about activating data plans before and how Verizon direct was a horrible experience. Verizon activating an iPad was simple and easy because Apple controlled the experience.)

      And yes, I’ve had problems with FedEx as well. They’re just not as bad in dealing with it as UPS.

  3. It should be noted that there were 3 delivery attempts. Also, once you have a tracking number you can check the delivery status/date at any time (both for Fedex and UPS) Additionally, UPS will even give you a 2-4 hour delivery window of the time to expect the package, allow you to change delivery address and/or date!(see UPS my choice) $6 dollars to send a driver to a customers door 4 times is not excessive and certainly not poor customer service.

    1. Yes, three attempts: the Friday I went away, the Saturday, and Monday I was away. I was told to expect it on the 2nd, not the 28th

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