By now, you’ve probably heard of the FedEx guy who delivered a computer monitor by throwing it over a customer’s fence. Yep, he tossed it right over what looks like a 6-foot fence.
The customer wrote under the video, The sad part is that I was home at the time with the front door wide open. All he would have had to do was ring the bell on the gate. Now, I have to return my monitor since it is broken.
FedEx quickly handled the situation with the customer and came out with an apology to FedEx clients worldwide. According to Matthew Thornton III, senior vice president, U.S. operations FedEx Express, the driver is no longer working with customers.
There are so many questions, thoughts and comments we can have about this guy and this situation. But my hope is that you focus on a greater question: Is this how you’re treating your customers? If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’m big on customer service and making sure your frontline is doing everything possible to take care of them.
In Is Starbucks Losing People To Perceived Indifference? I shared how customers will leave your business if they believe you don’t care. Obviously, throwing and breaking a customer’s new monitor screams just how much you care. But, as I discussed in that post, even not paying attention to a customer’s simple request tells them how much you care.
I believe there are three things team members need to not make mistakes like this:
- Vision – It’s imperative that your team believes that taking care of the customer is of the utmost importance. Without them, the team members’ jobs don’t exist. The only way to get someone to believe it, when it’s not already ingrained, is to repeatedly cast the vision. Over and over, you need to be explaining why and how to treat customers. As this becomes a mantra of your organization, anyone who disagrees will probably leave.
- Leadership – There must be a strong leader in place who actually knows that leading means people are following you. It’s someone who spends more time finding team members doing things right instead of always finding them doing things wrong. When your team feels they have an amazing leader who believes in them, they will strive to not let that leader down.
- Motivation – To care more about your customer than yourself, you have to feel like you are doing work that matters. If you wake up in the morning dreading going to work, then you probably don’t have a feeling of contentment from your job. But when you understand that delivering someone’s computer monitor brings them excitement and happiness, or helps them start that new business, or allows their kids to do better in school, then you cherish the item you’re delivering—without taking shortcuts. Plain and simple: If you believe in what you’re doing, you want to do everything in your power to help others believe it, too.
Right now, that driver needs a strong leader to take him under his wing and mentor him to a place where he loves what he does. And that mentorship doesn’t stop there. It needs to continue through the life of his career.
Question: What would you do if you saw this kind of behavior at your company?
48 thoughts on “FedEx Guy Throws Computer Monitor Over Fence”
Initially I would have wanted to can this guy, especially if he was consistently a problematic team member. But like the restaurant server who walked out on a shift and left her team hanging who you used as an example while back, the right thing to do is extend grace and find out what’s going on with this person that’s driving them to behave this way. Pardon the driving pun.
Haha…you’re excused. And you get double points for bringing in a past blog!!
Ah, I am sure the driver was busy and behind schedule, and he clearly did not think anyone was watching.
I can see this happening if the culture of FedEx (especially around the holidays!) is centered on speed, speed, speed. I saw my local UPS driver literally running to and from delivering packages to people’s doorsteps. That can be a good thing, and I certainly felt like the driver I saw was a hard and commendable worker. But the culture also has to be established that speed doesn’t come at the expense of the customer’s satisfaction.
The real issue is probably who sets this culture. Is it the drivers who pay lip service to policies but secretly know that they’re all going to cut corners in order to get home to their families faster? The cultural leaders might not always be the formal leaders.
The crazy thing is, it’s not that corporate is beating the drivers up on speed. The faster they go, the more they get done, the more they get paid. So it’s not like they are so stressed from corporate. If you can’t make all of your deliveries, someone else will, and they will get the money. Therefore, he can only blame himself.
It could be either a case of frustration or carelessness. One, the driver must have been exploited by stretching him for long hours; or else, he must have been so abrasive on his part to commit this thoughtless act.
We need to interact with this guy and find the truth. Then, we mentor and groom him accordingly.
True, customer service plays a crucial role in a company’s success. There is no place for margin of error. It’s a non negotiable component. Organizations like Amazon and Apple provide matchless customer service and that has helped them reap rich dividends. Realizing the importance, companies must train their employees properly and subsequently treat them fairly.
They have to or they get this kind of result.
That poor guy – not only was he caught, he was caught on film. Not only did the customer and the security company see it, it was shown to his employer. And not only his employer, but now the world! And not only was he reprimanded, he lost his job. In addition, no one even knows his name so that he gets that little false reward of “fame” that people seem to crave these days.
Despite my sympathy, if I had an employee who did this, his derriere would be fescue!
Hahaha….that hilarious! One bright side, they didn’t say they fired him, just that he’s not working with customers any longer. Hopefully someone is taking him under their wing.
This is truly an unfortunate situation. I can’t help but wonder what would make this driver make such a poor decision? Was this the first time and he just got caught or was it stress related and he made an unfortunate decision? I always wonder what type of work environment or leadership someone is under to make a decision like this. Was he motivated by fear to get the job done? Fear works for a season but it rarely achieves anything great. This makes me question what type of leadership I am projecting to those under me. It makes me want to be a better leader so that I can avoid situations like this.
And THAT’S why I put it up. We should all be asking those questions of our leadership. Thanks Eric!
Everywhere there are people who live by the shortcut method. And, there are those who don’t. Something inside of them says that it’s more important to have quantity than quality. My question is, does FedEx train their personnel with this philosophy? Speed, rather than quality? Because ultimately, the behavior of our employees with the public rests on the training we have provided them. This story is a wonderful reminder for me, as a business owner, to ask myself what message I have been giving my employees.
Kathi, This is a good point. I’m thinking that it might not be a bad idea to show this video to my team. It could be the springboard to handling our customers with a higher level of quality.
I like that idea Jon. I wonder what my employees would say if they saw this? Hm…
As a mom of a preschooler and a toddler, my first reaction was that this guy needed to get yelled at: “We DO NOT throw things over people’s fences”. After that, my second reaction was: “Wow, this guy has never had a good leader in his life. No one has told him the value of work and integrity, and he doesn’t know that he should do the right thing, even if no one is watching”. If I were his leader, we would have a lengthy conversation about what is going on with him and what we need to do to make sure he has what he needs to perform his job as expected.
It’s sad that this type of behavior is becoming more normal. We need to return to the time when all empl0yees had a sense of pride in what their businesses were producing…a time when all employees worked for their employers and customers like they were working for the king. Returning to this time does start with leadership, but I think there is more to it as well. There seems to be a move in our culture away from the standards that put our customers first.
Just sharing my thoughts from experience. I want to lead in my organization like it matters. And I want to hire people and lead people who believe this and put it into action daily.
You are so right Jon! It amazes me that people want to earn a living but not work for it. There is a reason it is called WORK! 😉
Pride in work is being replaced by a sense of entitlement…. Or so it seems to me :/
Where is that coming from!!!
Weeeeeeell… I believe a lot of it has to do with parenting. We’re all selfish by nature, and tend to choose desires over what’s good for us. It seems like most parents anymore want to give their kids everything they didn’t have, be their friend, let them make their own choices without any guidance, or just plain not want to deal with the hard work of being a parent, so let their kids do whatever. Instead of, taking opportunities to teach their kids responsibility and integrity. Of course, I’m sure all your commenters are better parents than that 😉 And it’s just my opinion….
I share it! 🙂
Yes, I think that’s a good observation. Our kids don’t have to work hard for much anymore. I guess the challenge is this? How do we change that – especially with people who have been raised this way and are past the years of being influenced by parents?
Easy. All kids need to work on a ranch and as a waiter/waitress. Learn hard work and learn to serve people. 🙂
Sounds easy to me! Do you know where I can find a ranch in the Philadelphia area? By kids are about that age!
HAHAHA…is Philly not full of Ranch’s?
In my opinion (again 🙂 ) when those “kids” are past the years of being influenced by parents, it’s almost easier to try to change them. If the parent’s not going to change, how’s the kid going to want to change when they’re getting everything they want? When they’re finally out on their own, they’re finally dealing with the real world. That’s when you can be an example, take them under your wing, and say, hey, this is the way the world works….
We have a saying in Swahili “Asiyefunzwa na mamaye, afunzwa na ulimwengu!” loosely translated “If your mother does not teach you right from wrong, the the world will step in”. It’s be avoided at all costs.
The ranch suggested by Chris below or any other place where this kids will get a nice kick (you know where) but hopefully by somebody who cares and cares a lot. We don’t want them to just be, but to actually learn some lessons, that will force them to change, and still make something out of their lives.
HAHAHAHA!!!!! Jane, you should have seen me trying to say what you wrote!!!!
Was it that bad……? ! :):) Would have loved to hear it!
The Purple Promise: “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.” may be in conflict with individual performance expectations that have been placed on the courier. Having worked in the package delivery business, we looked a courier’s performance every day in the number of stops per hour as it relates to a geographic area. Corporate financial goals to reduce cost (increase courier delivery performance) may be result in sacrificing that service opportunity.
When you measure one expectation daily (stops per hour) and occasionally receive feedback about another, what is the tendency to focus on? What isn’t checked usually isn’t done.
This is definitely a leadership issue, but the corporation needs to examine if they made a financial decision to increase performance that affected their service pledge. The hiring process of this individual also needs a top to bottom review to see if there was a break down in screening.
Laura, i’ve seen plenty of this and it breaks my heart. This are kids who grow up to be the FedEx guy, or the kid thats gets hired for their first job and can’t keep it, due to their sense of entitlement or the ones that get married and are not willing to work on their marriage, since mommy or daddy fixed everything for them…..i could go on and on. If we do the right, tough, probably unpopular thing as parents, and bring up our kids right, there is a high posibility this behaviour could be eradicated or minimized.
Sorry Paul, this comment has slipped into the wrong place, it should have been in reply to Laura Johnson on parenting.
Unfortunately many times, the parents that are enabling their kids to be habitual entitlement-ers (yes, I just made that up) look at their kids and say, “Why is my kid behaving that way? Why is my kid so disrespectful? I have such a difficult kid!” In other words, they have no clue! or don’t care! Of course, raising kids is difficult, that goes without saying. But so many parents today don’t see the connection between their parenting, or lack thereof, and their kids’ behavior. Sad.
I dare say, my husband and I are going to be unpopular parents 😉
My job as a parent is to not make it comfortable or easy for my kids if it means compromising on a value I hold dear and one they need to learn. I’m not mean or harsh to them (Just firm), but by establishing basic ground rules and defining a lot of this when they were babies, and being consistent makes it easier to mould them into outstanding citizens. With time, the kids will come to appreciate what you are trying to do. I remember thinking how wrong my parents were to not allow me to do certain things, or insist on things being done a certain way, when I was younger, but when I went to a boarding school at 13 years (Which was the in thing, and the only way to get into the best schools), I started appreciating what my parents were about, and I’m so glad they did what they did. Someday my kids will thank me, and trust me you’ll be doing the right thing. When you get to that stage, please feel free to call me.
This has just given me an idea for a post I’ve been mulling over, thanks Laura!
I think that WAS a post! Good stuff. Surely you’re thinking of a guest post on your favorite leadership blog. 🙂
Thank you Chris, I’m working on it…..!
Everyone seems to think he was in a hurry. There is nothing hurried about his movements. The walk from the van to the gate, no contemplating whether he should leave it outside, no looking around to find a spot, no trying to see if anyone was home (or ring the gate bell as the customer stated above). I think it is a heart attitude. He doesn’t love his job. He doesn’t want to deliver packages. He probably is in debt, having to work a “Holiday Job” to make ends meet. You can’t fix stupid. What he did was flat out stupid. It is not like he didn’t know what was in the box. Unbelievable!!! You can try to coach, you can try to train, but some people don’t fit the mold. Maybe this wasn’t for him, however few bosses/employers/managers do what they need to to train, coach, educate, and “take under the wing”. I am not a parent, but I look at it like parenting with my employees. They make mistakes and crucial errors at the wrong times. They don’t do them when you have the time to spend with them in teaching, training, coaching and encouragement. You have to do it anyways or you will have a repeat of the situation and be more humiliated then you are now if you don’t.
Looks like you have a guest post in you. 🙂
This guy just doesn’t care. He isn’t even thinking of what is in that box or to whom it is addressed. He just wants to put in his 8 hours and go….home? out? away? The quality of his work never enters his mind.
And if I saw this in my employees? I would say it was time to go back to Client Service 101 – and start from the beginning -the VERY beginning.
The very beginning almost needs to be an annual reminder to some people.