THE UPS STORE Franchisees: Drop-Offs Can Drop Dead

Did you receive curt or downright rude service when dropping off packages at The UPS Store this holiday season?

It may be they were coping with the holiday rush.

Or it may be that The UPS Store franchise owner hates your guts.  statue2.250

After all, you who drop off UPS packages without buying anything are freeloadersNon-paying leechesBloodsucking parasites feeding off the host of their life savings.

Commenting at the post  Is The UPS Store a Good Franchise Opportunity?, the manager writes:

The person printing saving the 5.00 label is UPS customer and not a customer of the TUPSS…


Francois writes:

A person that comes into a store with a dropoff is not a customer, they have spent no money in that establishment, they are not supporting that establishment. The owner is well within his rights to charge for any ancillary service (which might normally be gratis to a paying customer) which assists the non paying leach…

financials writes:

It’s unfortunate that UPS chose to put the owner in the middle, and out of frustration, the owner now takes it out on UPS’ customer. (notice it is NOT the stores customer).

UPS Store Owners are Rightfully Pissed Off…

You can’t blame The UPS Store franchisees for being pissed off.  They were sold franchises under the promise of building a local shipping business with the power and brand name of shipping giant UPS.  Once they had invested their life savings, they claim the shipping giant undermined them by going direct to their potential customers with cheaper pricing.  Instead of paying The UPS Store, many customers pay UPS directly, print out their own labels and drop their packages off at The UPS Store.

The UPS Stores, which receive $1.00 or less per drop-off, claim they’ve become glorified drop-boxes for UPS.  And they’ve got a point…

…But Why Blame the Customer?

Some The UPS Store franchisees have let their justifiable anger at UPS undermine the service philosophy of their stores.  They think they’re justified in being nice to shipping customers and rude to drop-off customers.  Yelp! reviews of one CA The UPS Store show how these attitudes are not lost on customers:

UPS Store, CA

Rated:  2/5 stars  Customer comments:

“Good attitude if you ship from this store.  Bad attitude when you just drop off the package to ship.”

“The lady here is not nice…   it’s the first time I’ve ever been to The UPS Store. =( But probably not to this one again.”

“…she gave me attitude and said ‘you didn’t give me the business, and bring me in the trouble.’”

“Did I really need to be lectured twice…?”

“the lady behind the counter was pretty angry.”

“I’m not fond of being verbally abused”

“She’s ONLY nice if you bring an UNPAID package… avoid this place.”

Customer Abuse is Self-Defeating

While their anger is understandable, it’s both misplaced and self-defeating.  The commenters who defend maintaining a “caste system” of customers are operating under two dangerous misconceptions.  The first is that all people who drop-off packages are not customers, and the second is that you can be selectively rude without negatively affecting the reputation of the entire business.

Drop-offs aren’t customers? Successful shop owners don’t perceive customers as single, isolated transactions.  They perceive the lifetime value of customers and potential customers.  Low shipping revenue means that the store owners must work to maximize non-shipping revenue, such as document imaging, photocopying, mailbox rental, notary services, etc.  Today’s drop-off visitor is likely tomorrow’s (or yesterday’s) purchaser of other products and/or services.  UPS Store owners are missing the concept of the loss leader, getting potential customers into the store to sell them on higher-margin purchases.

Rudeness is anti-branding. Word of mouth marketing is critical, especially when times are hard.  Imagine how many people leave the store above unhappy.  Imagine how many people they complain to.  Imagine how much business they send to competitors.  The UPS Store franchisees need to realize that even drop-off visitors still provide powerful word-of-mouth marketing and referrals.  It’s up to them whether they get the referrals, or their competitor does.

Some of The UPS Stores Are Doing It Right

Some of The UPS Store franchisees have decided to take a healthier approach to running a service business.  They keep their ongoing battle between themselves and UPS, and focus on what successful b2b service businesses do: help their customers succeed.  Consider the reviews of this The UPS Store in the same state as the one cited earlier:

UPS Store, Portal Ave, San Francisco
Rated: 5/5 stars   Customer comments:

“I… had the opportunity to witness them service other customers.  They were great to all of them too.”

“I’ll definitely ship through this store from now on :)”

“I can tell you “ALL” of their staff are so helpful and great people. They treat all the customers that come there, even the crazy ones with kindness and professionalism.”

“I listen to them telling someone information that they probably repeat hundreds of time and just think, how they always say it in an informal nice way? I don’t know how they train or pick their people but it empresses me.”

“They win the award for best businesses in San Francisco for me.”

Which of these stores do you think does better financially?  Which of these franchisees is happier (or less miserable)?  And which has more credibility in building a case against UPS?




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