A customer challenge and how to create customer ill will:

I sent two framed pieces of art, one of them  a print by Salvador Dali, to my son in New York. I’m in Los Angeles. The representative at the counter of the Marina del Rey FedEx store assured me that FedEx packaging the prints would guarantee a) that they would be packaged well, b) if there were any damage, FedEx would not assert a claim of improper packaging. I paid extra for this service and was given a $1,000 insurance policy at no extra charge.

The prints arrived in New York … with the cover glass broken and the outside packaging ripped. I filed a claim with the company as requested, with photos and a claim estimate from a frame company. After what seemed like more time than it should have taken, I received a letter denying the claim…. because the prints were improperly packaged. I called to inquire further but was told that the person who denied the claim, the person whose name is on the letter of denial,  had to be the person to talk with me. I called several times, leaving my name and number, requesting a return call. Still …. no response.

I called the local (point of shipment) office. They again assured me that they were responsible for packaging … and proof of FedEx packaging is both in the pictures (they used blue packaging tape) and on the invoice issued by FedEx. But, I was told, they have no authority to settle a claim.  Apparently, neither does the New York (locus of delivery) office.

Several calls to the claims department of FedEx in the East have not been returned. Yet, another department of the company is now threatening me with a collection letter.

This denial and silence breeds ill-will among customers/clients. I read a marketing statistic that suggests that for every good service experience, you tell one person; for every bad service experience, you tell 20 people. This amplification is not what any responsible company wants  to experience.

Moral to my audience:  Make it easy to reach you; don’t hide behind complex web site walls. Return calls and resolve disputes … that’s how you create goodwill.