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Technology, Tracking Codes, and Rules May Cause Failure in the Ability to Think

Business OperationsAfter storm Sandy, our street had trees down, branches and more. We knew we were lucky. We know this could have been a lot worse. A tree sat on our front porch, with roof damage and more. This AM our street was clear of debris for the first time since the storm. We know there are others who still have no power and lost their homes, and we were fortunate. The remaining visible evidence of the event is the front roof, the missing fixtures, the yellow tape and signs to not use the front entrance, and instead use the side entrance for anyone coming by the house.

One strange item we noticed. During the last three weeks with a street packed with trees, parts of trees, and other debris packing curb, after curb, plus a clearly marked front porch, each delivery person from large and recognizable companies decided to walk passed the warning signs. They climb over the yellow warning tape to place their delivery item up by the front door. It was time to act and prevent a potential injury.

The two very large and well known delivery companies, FEDEX and UPS, both have a toll free line to speak with a representative. Once the story was told that this was dangerous and is there a way to note in their files that my address should have deliveries to a side entrance, here is the response from each company, both FEDEX and UPS, “do you have a tracking number so we may resolve your issue”?

In a calm manner we went through the story again two more times. “We cannot do anything to resolve your issue without a tracking number”. They each, both FEDEX and UPS, said this ‘resolve your issue’. My issue! This was about their delivery people and their safety! Does technology, tracking codes and rules cause a failure in the ability to think?

If you remember the old board game ‘Chutes and Ladders’, this is what is missing when you have technology and systems dictating your policy manual. There needs to be a way to escape and work around issues, by either sliding under or climbing over the out of the ordinary situations. If your business has real people as customers and real people who interact with your customers, there will be times and circumstances where the ability to think must be built into the system, built into the training, and become part of the manual. One area for this exception should always be around safety. The other areas would be defined by your business. People need to be able to use their common sense in your business.

Allow for a representative to consider what the situation is from the customer point of view and to determine if this is one of the ‘Chutes and Ladders’ exceptions.

Regardless of the size of your company, when people are able to have a discussion and openly ask the non-scripted questions to obtain more information and determine how to solve a situation, the customers will take notice. You will create raving fans for your business.

Contact Mitch Tublin today to review your business operations and inject common sense where lacking. Mitch will work together with you and your team. The improvements will be dramatic. – Info@easysmallbusinesssolutions.com or call 877-907-8223.



  1. Wow! Well, the companies may have lost their ability to think, but this sure got me thinking! There has to be a middle ground, and employees have to feel safe enough to be able to speak up at work and say, “what do we do if we find ourselves in an unsafe situation.”

    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      Seriously wonder if robots would be a better answer.
      At least then no one would be hurt.

  2. Mitch
    I totally agree. It is maddening when there is no system in place to bypass the process. Clearly no process is fail proof and works 100% of the time.
    I love when companies empower their front line personnel to take sensible action themselves. I for sure be a raving fan.

    Glad your damage was not worse.

    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      There are endless examples and stories. We all certainly see them in our daily lives. It is the classic push-pull. One side wants every single thing documented, memorized and then endless training and grading. The other side says we need the ability to react and think.

  3. So true – front line personnel really should be empowered to make decisions and should be chosen for their ability to think – I think many companies have forgotten the importance of the human touch.

    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      Worse is some companies have lost the fact that their customers are what keeps them in business.

  4. Mitch
    Very interesting that they couldn’t help without a tracking number! But I’m not surprised – I recently called an airline to get general info about flying with snow-ski equipment and they couldn’t help without a reservation number!

    So pleased to hear you and your family are safe after Sandy


    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      As you know, I am not much of a whiner, complainer type, this has me writing a study on this topic to be submitted to a few publications.

  5. Preaching to the choir, Mitch! It is very sad when companies will hide behind “the system” (meaning their understanding of the computer) when dealing with a customer service issue. It all boils down to choices. Don’t let your technology get in the way of actually listening to and dealing with your customers. AMEN!! Love, Katherine.

    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      Thank you for your support. Ever been on the phone auto response line for a utility or a bank? An endless loop of no one to help you with your issue.

  6. Mitch – What a frustrating story! Company culture comes from the top down … and clearly these two companies have a problem if their employees are so stuck to a script!

    • Mitch Tublin Business Success Coach says

      Wonder if they even know who runs their business.