In My Case, USPS Delivery Was Anything But Special

Jan 28 • Front Page, Social Media, Trending • 4954 Views

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Social Customer Service has been a huge emerging trend for brands over the past 3 years. Singular social media managers, agency teams, large social media response teams—or some variation of all three— represent thousands of brands online with the goal of providing helpful, responsive customer service via social media.

On Wednesday, January 22, 2014, I reached out to the United States Postal Service’s Twitter account to inquire about a package I had ordered. Their website informed me that my package was scheduled for delivery on January 21, the day before.



I reached out to their Twitter account because I know that’s the best way to get a company to respond. I provided all the necessary information for the USPS team to be able to identify precisely what the issue was, and get back to me with an answer. The game changed when I received this response:



Transit delays? I’m a social media manager, so allow me to translate this tweet. “We don’t know why your package hasn’t been delivered, but we won’t admit it.” Still, while I was snappy, I was willing to forgive, if I could receive a credit on the two-day shipping I had purchased (and subsequently not received).


But then…



Are you kidding? So now, an employee of the merchant I had purchased services from has informed me that the particular product I purchased does not have the ability to be refunded, even if the package wasn’t delivered on time. I decided it was time to alert my 758 followers of the situation.  


But, I’m not unreasonable, I just want my product, so I asked for some more information.



Uh oh, now I’m really upset. Because my new friend CB had been thrown into battle unarmed and underprepared. This isn’t his/her fault. I blame the strategy. The USPS clearly doesn’t have a customer service escalation policy that can solve any problems, or even provide peace of mind to customers who are searching for information on their shipments. So I got mad…  


And voila, this article was born! Although… the USPS did respond to my tweet in eloquent fashion.


For the record, I still haven’t received my package. I’m going to have to go to the post office in person and retrieve it. This is an incredible lesson for brands: it makes no sense for you to have a social media customer response policy that avoids customer questions and doesn’t provide them with any real information. I have a choice when I ship, just like every customer has a choice when they make a purchase. Social media gives you opportunities to speak directly to your customers; don’t lose their trust the way the USPS lost mine.


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You are correct, @DuhDuhDUH, the social media manager is not the customer service manager. However, with a dedicated team on the task (evidenced by the two letter signature at the end of tweets) of at least 2 (Cb, and Af) I think it would be possible for them to send requests up the proper channels from their computers. If the USPS integrated their social media response policy with their customer service team internally, they could process customer requests, send them to the appropriate channels, obtain the correct information and respond according to the info provided from the customer service team. Even my smallest clients have a customer service escalation policy that is centered on providing customers with useful information that meets their needs as completely as possible. 

Obviously, you can't make everyone happy, and I was on a bit of a witch hunt. But I expect the best service from a company that "delivers more mail to more addresses in a larger geographical area than any other post in the world."  

Thanks for your comment!


While I can see that point, I am smart enough to realize that the social media manager is NOT the customer service manager and that they will NOT be sitting at a computer able to process all the tweets and inquiries they got. If you wanted information go to the customer service website/phone number and call. Simple as that. I KNOW that you guys do not personally deal with every issue that every Grade C company that you manage comes to face. Therefore I don't know why you would expect USPS to do the same.

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