Thursday, December 12, 2019


Let's pretend you're a shipping company, and it's December, and you've accidentally overcommitted and you have no way to hit your deadlines. The package is something that requires a signature on delivery, so you know the customer is going to care when it shows up. Worse, you have messed up your schedule so much that you won't be able to deliver it for an entire week after the scheduled date.

Pick a solution:

A) You notify the customer (you have both email and phone#) that you're not going to be able to deliver the package ahead of time, you apologize, then you find a new delivery date that works for both of you.


B) You go into your tracking software the night before the delivery, add a note that says "Customer requested appointment to be rescheduled", reschedule the delivery for a day a week later (which isn't a day the customer will be home), don't notify the customer of this change at all, and leave the customer waiting at home for the delivery during the original three hour window.

Cute black cat in fuzzy bed cave
Ripley says you shouldn't lie to your customers or Santa will put coal in your stocking.

Note that either way the package is going to be delivered a week late. But with the first solution, you might irritate the customer a little, and maybe they grumble to their friends about it, but that's probably as far as it will go.

With the second solution, the customer is really, really not happy with you and gets in touch with Amazon to complain about your crappy business and to get the delivery properly rescheduled. Amazon gives the customer $75 to keep them happy, which means their profit margin has just dropped. Jeff Bezos's shriveled heart clenches and the evil eye focusses on you.

Also, instead of just grumbling among friends, the customer doesn't feel bad about naming the company (XPO) that has such shady business practices. The customer also wonders how big a warehouse you have if you're storing a week's worth of deliveries instead of sending them out when they come in. Bottom line, it makes the company (XPO) look unethical and incompetent.

When in doubt, pick the first option. And hire people who will pick the first option. And train your employees to pick the first option. And set up your company to reward the people who pick the first option and punish the people who choose the second option.

That's my PSA for the month of December.

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