Saturday, 1 August 2009

Stunned At UPS Terrible Customer Service

I needed to ship something back to the UK about 3 weeks ago, and paid almost $100 for 2 day insured delivery.

The woman at the UPS store told me to write the reason for the shipment, in case customs decided to involve themselves in the delivery.

I was sending back an iphone that I mistakenly brought back to the US, and I wanted to make sure that it was insured against loss so paid extra for that as well. I wrote on the form the reason for the shipment, and said that it was something that was bought in the UK, and was being returned to the UK.

15 days later the package had not arrived, and I got a call from the UPS Store saying that they had tried to call the person I shipped it to to confirm the package but had not spoken to her. My friend said that she had not received a single call from them......

The UPS Store told me that they would ask UPS in the UK to call my friend one more time before sending it back to the US. Seeing as they had proved to be pretty inept up to this point I thought that a better plan was for me to take their number, and then give it to my friend to call. This would ensure that the connection was made. She then spoke to UPS in the UK and I thought everything would be ok.

I then get a call on Friday July 31st, saying that my friend never called, and UPS had sent the package back to the US, and it was sitting in Kentucky ready to be shipped to San Francisco.

I have a few issues with this.

My friend did call UPS on Thursday the 30th July, and spoke to someone called Richard Fordham who told her to email him with the confirmation that the phone was purchased in the UK and was just being returned and he would have it delivered the next day.

She did this:

------ Forwarded Message
From: **** ***** <****.****@*******.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 09:53:22 +0100
To: <>
Subject: *****8T304128*****

Hi Richard,

Just to confirm in writing.
The cellphone being delivered is from the UK and belongs to my office in London.
My colleague in US, accidently took it with him when he left to go back last month.


Richard told her that the package would be delivered to her on Friday, which she waited for.

The package clearly never arrived, and I had a call that same day saying that the package was now back in the US.

Either the UPS guy my friend spoke to lied to her, because there is no way that the package could have been in the UK on Friday if it was already back in the US, or UPS is so inept that they cannot track a package and follow through on their promise.

After checking the tracking information, the system shows that 'Shipper requested return of package' which is strange seeing as I did not such thing!

I explained my position, and was not offered any kind of apology, (and was in fact blamed for the whole mess) and told that a refund was not going to be forthcoming. How this is my fault I am still trying to work out. Maybe they blame me for choosing to use their service, or for believing that the package would in fact arrive within the 2 day window that I paid for.

I am stunned that UPS has done nothing to ensure that they fix the mess that they have created and then even had the nerve to tell me that if I wanted to redeliver it they would charge me full price for the delivery!

What planet do they live on if they think that I will EVER ship anything with them again!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

A change in approach needed?

I spoke with a couple of large PR firms this week around the US about how they are using social media, and what approach that they have. Something I am realizing is that there is a chance for these firms to use social media to really strengthen their client relationships in a way that is not occurring to most.

Most of the PR firms that I speak with are approaching social media monitoring in the same way that they approach mainstream media. By this I mean purely from a reporting perspective offering a landscape overview.

What we have been trying to highlight to these firms is that there is a chance for them to really make themselves a valuable asset to multiple departments inside their clients rather than just as a partner to the internal PR/Marketing team.

There exists an economic situation where many clients are finding that their budgets are shrinking, and cuts are to be made. Naturally this results in PR firm allowances being scaled back, or clients looking to move to more cost effective agencies for representation.

There is a real opportunity for PR firms to leverage social media so that their ties are cross departmental within their client base. Exceeding client expectations by highlighting new business opportunities to the business development team, or providing product feedback from consumers directly to the team in charge of product development and R&D should reduce the potential that clients will migrate to more cost effective options when the budget axe is wielded.

For those PR firms that are intent on keeping clients, and increasing the nature of existing relationships, social media offers a channel to do just that. It will require a more progressive and proactive approach, but will undoubtedly result in greater client reliance, and closer ties with each and every client.

The added benefit of providing a better service to existing clients is that as word of mouth spreads, not only does the reputation of the PR firm get a huge boost, but more potential clients will approach you seeking ways in which you could be a valuable partner for all of their internal business departments.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

It is 11am and today has been one of the busiest days in a while.

Had to pack up all my things this morning, move to a new apartment for a few hours, then have to get the train down to my parents, pick up the car, drive back up to London to pick up my bags, then drive back down to drop them at the parents, then come back to London for dinner before heading back down to the parents.......

Amongst all that I have a meeting, a lunch, a suit to return, dry cleaning to pick up and tax forms to fill in.

Tomorrow's flight back to San Francisco should be a breeze compared to today!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

There are very few things that make me really annoyed, as I am pretty laid back.

But today, two things happened that really annoyed me. The second is something that I am pretty sad about.

It is always hard when bad things happen to good people, like cancer for example. There are some fantastic people battling it every day and approaching it with the kind of courage and dignity that most people will never possess regardless of what they are faced with.

I have been reading the blog of a friend that has showed more courage and spirit in her cancer fight than I would ever have thought possible and she seems to be doing it day in and day out.

Some people are amazing.

Monday, 22 June 2009

After an awesome trip to Hungary with three good friends who happen to be colleagues I found myself wondering something.

I tried to think of other friends that I have that have been on holidays with groups of coworkers. I couldn't think of any.

After going on weekend trips to New York, Budapest, Dubai and countless other places I have come to the conclusion that I am pretty lucky to have a bunch of coworkers that I genuinely enjoy hanging out with, or 'kicking it' as was the phrase in Budapest (thanks Kristy)

With only 1 week left in London, I am pretty sure that there will be a ton of mini trips once back in the US

I guess that as of July 1 when I am back in San Francisco, it will be 'Where next?' again pretty soon

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Where next?

Many people have amusing and witty titles for their blogs. I knew that I would probably not be able to match what many of my friends have so creatively come up with, so I thought that I would go with a phrase that has pretty much summed up my life over the last 3 years in particular.

"Where next?" is something that I have found myself wondering on many occasions because of the experiences of the last 3 years.

For those that don't know, which is probably a lot of old friends seeing as I have been so terrible at staying in touch, I have been working for a Norwegian software company that specializes in media intelligence. Whenever I say that to people, they instantly think of James Bond parallels, and seem really interested in the explanation that follows. When they realize that there are no similarities, interest tends to wane.

Nonetheless, they are usually surprised to find that I actually love my job.

I have many friends that work for some of the largest companies in the world, who moan and complain about their jobs, and really hate going into work each day. One of the reasons that I can't even imagine what that might feel like is that I genuinely love what I do, and it has a lot to do with the 'Where next?' adventure that I have so frequently found myself embarking on over the last 3 years.

Way back at the start of 2006 I made a decision to take things a little more seriously. I had been playing paintball for a professional team in the UK that was made up of a group of players who had far more talent than I did. I knew that I was never going to make it big in the sport, and felt that bearing in mind that my parents had spent hundreds of thousands on my education, I should probably make use of it and look for a job.

The job that I found turned out to be far more than an average run of the mill job.

The 'Where next?' theme started in January 2007 at 1am in Monaco. I was on the annual company kick off, staying at a 5* hotel in Monaco when the Director of the UK region asked me if I ever had ambitions to work in the US. I told him (without thinking things through - I know, not a total shock to those that know me!) that if he had a ticket for me, I would leave the following day.

Needless to say, 10 days later I found myself in San Francisco, and the start of my 'Where next?' journey that then took me to San Diego 2 months later, to Silicon Valley 10 months later, back to London a year after that, then back to San Francisco after 3 months.

In between these lengthy stays, I have been to India, Dubai, Norway, Sweden, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique and St Lucia, Miami, Austin, New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii and Las Vegas

I have moved a lot, experienced a lot, and had the time of my life. I have made friends in more countries than I could ever hope to remember, and know that should I want to visit places like Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Buenos Aires or Melbourne, I won't need to shell out for a hotel :)

I have always been pretty adventurous when it comes to new things. And that has found its way into my professional life as well with work.

After working for Meltwater News for 3 years I moved to a sister company Meltwater Drive for 2 days before being part of the founding team of 3 of a new subsidiary called Meltwater Buzz.

I am sitting in London as I write this post rather than pack for my next 'Where next?' adventure.

Tomorrow is Hungary, and I am really looking forward to it.

It has been a busy month, that started in London, then moved to the sunny dunes of the Arabian Gulf, London then Sweden, Hungary tomorrow and then 'home' to San Francisco in less than two weeks.

I am sure that after being back in San Francisco for a few months I will be again confronted with the 'Where next?' question, and I could not be more excited about it.