Recently I had a situation with United Parcel Service (UPS) where I was sent an email from UPS My Choice saying that they would deliver a package between 12 and 4pm on a Thursday. Since I needed to sign for it, it was important that I was there to receive the package. I arrived home at 11:15 to find a note stating that they tried to deliver the package but no one was home. It also stated that they would return on Friday but no time given so I guess I could expect it any time in a 24 hour period!
When I called customer service from the number on the website, I was given an option to pick it up at the distribution center which is an hour away from my home. I was frustrated by the email that was sent and stated if I had known it was going to be delivered earlier, I would have planned to be there. I asked who I could file a complaint with and was told there was no such person. They told me that the email system (UPS My Choice) had nothing to do with the delivery system which I found extremely contradictory. Then I asked to speak to the person in charge of the deliveries and the person kept telling me that there was no one. I finally asked to speak to a supervisor who talked to me after I was on hold for 15 minutes. She told me the same type of story and I asked to speak to her supervisor. After another long hold, I talked to the third person who told me that there was no one in charge of the company for me to file a complaint with and that there were no regulatory agencies over them. She suggested I send an email to customer service on the website. This was the same customer service department that I was currently talking to on the phone. Finally after 40 minutes of trying to find who to file a complaint with, I hung up. I did file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and sent a letter to the Board of Directors.
It would have made sense for this person at UPS to ask for my contact information to give to a supervisor and have someone call me within the next few days. Instead they wanted to deny any kind of complaint process. I find it hard to believe a company that big would not have some way for customers to file a complaint. But maybe I’m wrong.
Now, I know you are wondering, what in the world does that have to do with education!
Many times parents and students are unhappy and want to go talk to the administrators when things don’t go the way they hope for. I try to keep the lines of communication open so they know the process for complaining and who to go to if they don’t achieve the results they need. I ask them to first come to me to see if we can resolve the problem and then tell that what steps are available if that doesn’t happen. This saves a lot of time and aggravation for the parents, for me, and for my administration. Many times it is a simple problem that I can address quickly.
For example, I had a parent of a student with Down syndrome who was very upset about something that happened in class. She could have easily called the main office and scheduled an appointment with an administrator which may have taken days. The administrator would follow up with me which may have taken more days. By the time the problem was resolved, it would have taken too much time or the type of problem it was. Instead the parent called me at home and let me know she was upset. We discussed the problem and when I told her my side of the story (which was different than the student’s story), we got the problem resolved. I understood why the mom was upset and didn’t deny that she had a right to be mad. I asked for help in avoiding this situation in the future and she appreciated that. This problem was dealt with and resolved immediately instead of being blown out of proportion.