Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 | Author:

I can’t pass up an opportunity like this, it’s just too bad.  I just got an SMS from FedEx.  The message says that they have a parcel for me and that I should call for delivery.  The message starts with something I can only assume is a parcel number, or whatever they prefer to call it, consisting of three letters and twelve digits.  Here’s what happens:

  1. I press the phone number in the message and my phone dials it.  The machine in the other end asks me to pick a language.  I pick the first one, which is Swedish.  TMITOE says that the office is closed, and that I can press 1 to arrange a pick-up or get tracking information.  No other alternatives, no opening hours, the message just repeats.  #FAIL
  2. I enter fedex.com in my web browser.  I get a big honking box with the word “Flash” in it (I run ClickToFlash).  There is nothing to interact with outside the flash box.  #FAIL
  3. I go to fedex.se which redirects to fedex.com/se.  The menus read (in translation) Send, Track, Account Mgt, Customs Tools.  I suppose that Track is the option that is least remotely connected to Deliver, which is what I want them to do.  I pull down the menu only to discover that there are two tracking options: Track with tracking number, and Track with reference number.  What’s the difference?  What do I have?  I pick the first one and enter the long string of letters and numbers from the SMS and press “Track”.  The site tells me the number is invalid and tells me to check it (it is exactly as in the SMS).  No clues are provided. #FAIL
  4. I pick the second option, Track with reference number.  I enter the same number (copy, paste) and my country and postal code.  No hits.  #FAIL
  5. I redial the number in the SMS but this time I pick English.  TMITOE tells me that the office is closed, and that the opening hours are 8 am to 7 pm.  It’s 6.30 pm.  #FAIL
  6. On a whim I go back to the web site and enter just the digits from the tracking number. Ta-daa!  Detailed information about my parcel, which apparently is in Paris.  There is a form that I can use to add email addresses.  One is labeled “From”, one “To” and there are three more without labels.  Reading the help texts (by hovering over little question marks) I get the impression that I can register email addresses to get automatic delivery notification, or an email if something gets stuck in customs.  There is nothing to even hint that I should get in touch with them about my delivery.  #FAIL
  7. I call back to TMITOE and press 1 for Swedish, 1 (the only option) for pickup-or-tracking, and 2 to “display (!) tracking information”.  I enter the tracking number.  TMITOE thinks a bit and then tells me that the parcel has been picked up by a courier, and to press if I want more information.  There’s no typo there; it didn’t tell me what to press, just to press.  #FAIL
  8. I redial and redo it in English.  ”The package has been picked up by a courier.”  Oh, press *0 for assistance!  All their lines are busy.  I wait.  I wonder if I keep my position in the queue.  I wonder how many clerks are working hard to get down to my call.  Actually, I don’t need to know the exact number, I’d just like to know that there will be someone there eventually, especially considering that their office might be closed.  After just six minutes, I get a ring tone.  And then I’m disconnected. #FAIL
  9. I’m going to use the form for registering email addresses and see if I can get a message through.  I’ll send them a link to this note.  I’ll keep you posted. #JURYSTILLOUT
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2 Responses

  1. 1
    Jon D. 

    In my line of work I deal with deliveries and couriers a lot and it’s inefficiencies like this that must make you wonder “what’s the point?” Talk about a complete waste of time and resources.

    The SMS text message is nice, but then the follow-up effort required on YOUR part basically negates any time-saving efficiencies.

    The Internet has offered FedEx and UPS and other courier companies a massive opportunity as shopping online explodes in popularity. The companies that make it the easiest for all involved will win the day. If this type of process you went through is required, then I bet you’ll not buy products that ship with FedEx. In the long run companies will respond by shipping products using a different service.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. 2

    I wonder to read this story ..I like the effort and this is complete information..Thank you for sharing this blog!!:D