Can Small Business Get Some Respect?

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I don’t often rant in this blog, but this time, I’m ranting. I was expecting a delivery today. This delivery was so important to me that I paid an additional $18 for expedited delivery from FedEx. I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that FedEx doesn’t bother to do a morning delivery to any location they don’t consider a business address, even if it is a place of business, but I do expect delivery on the day it’s promised. This morning, I logged into the FedEx website to track delivery of my package, and discovered it’s physically located here in my city, ready for loading on a truck and delivery.

After waiting for most of the day, I logged in to track the delivery of my package, once again. I’m somewhat surprised to learn that my package won’t be delivered until tomorrow. So, being the proactive person that I am, I call FedEx to inquire on the delivery schedule. I’m informed that my zip code was wrong and the package had been resorted. Now I’m very diligent about checking my orders for shipping information. My zip code was correct when I checked the tracking status on Friday. So the whole resorting issue was an error on FedEx’s part. When I asked for my money back, FedEx said they couldn’t do that. Even though they made the error to resort and I didn’t get my package on time, they couldn’t be bothered to waive or reduce the shipping cost.

I’m not so narrow-minded as to say I’ve never made a mistake. And I’m certainly not faulting FedEx for having made this one error. My issue is that FedEx says they’re trying to win my small business shipping. As a matter of fact, they sent me a very nice letter not that long ago explaining all the reasons why I need them to be my shipper of choice. They want my business, yet they aren’t willing to treat me like a business. As I mentioned before, they don’t bother to deliver my packages in the morning, even if a 10:00AM delivery was paid for. Small businesses aren’t treated very well by FedEx. I don’t get any discounts for missed deliveries. If they can’t get it here today, that’s all right, tomorrow will be fine, as far as they’re concerned. For 12 years my wife was a full-time telecommuter for a very large company. Her boss sent an important document to her that she needed to review before a meeting. Her boss sent the document by FedEx. But because this was a residential address by their standard, it wasn’t delivered in the morning when it should have been. It came too late for her to take before getting on a plane for a flight to Little Rock. Not surprisingly, the company switched shipping vendors shortly afterward.

If FedEx wants the shipping business of small businesses, they have to change the way they do business with us. They have to stop treat us small business people like second class citizens. If they aren’t going to treat us with respect, as least give us the same discounts as they give large businesses. Many small businesses ship as much as larger companies. They can learn a lesson from Tony Robbins’ company. When I called to let them know I didn’t get my package today, they immediately refunded my shipping cost, no questions asked. That’s how everyone should do business. That’s what I call getting respect, and it feels great.

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with entrepreneurs and senior executives on their high engagement C-Suite communication and content marketing strategies.

He believes client education is the best way of building trust and long term sustainable growth.

His consulting practice focuses on second stage entrepreneurs, technology organizations, and senior level business executives. Tripp partners with clients to develop high impact C-Suite communication and account based marketing strategies.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Tripp at or send him an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s business growth blog at Market Leadership Journal.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Developing Digital Sales Leaders.

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