My Hate-Hate Relationship with Aramex… Sigh

So, I know I’ve had Fadi Ghandour on my site back when it was on blogger.  And I must say that I have nothing but respect for the guy.  Both personally and the social contributions that Aramex, as a company, makes are inspiring.  I heard him at TEDxRamallah and he was excellent.  But here’s the thing, his company is sadly full of incompetent people.  And that’s what breeds a hate-hate relationship for me.  I’d love to find ANYTHING to love about them (and thus have a love-hate relationship), but as a customer, I just can’t.

Now, I have a much bigger hate-hate relationship with banks in Jordan, as I’m certain everyone knows.  I’ve also had the founder’s daughter of one of the biggest banks in the Middle East comment when I’ve called them to task.  The banks have complacent, rude employees who give a mediocre customer experience on a good day.  When you team that with Aramex, well… let’s just say that I’m certain this is one of the 7 rings of hell.  Really.

Each time we need to get new bank cards from my least favorite bank in Jordan (who ever thought that I would want a “local bank” when opening an account at an international one.  Helloooooo, I want an international bank experience, not a Jordan one.  Please not a Jordan one).  At any rate, every SINGLE time our cards expire or need to be reissued I have issues.  Not with the bank mind you.  I have issues with delivery by Aramex.  In the past, I finally asked the bank to simply have an English-speaking staff member call me to come pick up my card.  That worked fine.  But now, here we are again…

Due to some account changes, El 3atal and I need new cards.  We went into the bank well before Christmas at the beginning of a 2 week stay in Amman for him.  We were assured the new cards would come well before he left.  They didn’t. Of course they didn’t.  I have no idea whose fault this is and I had expected nothing less.  When he had them issued, he confirmed 3 times (!) that if they came after he left, there would be no problem for me to sign for them.  He was assured, three times, that since it’s a joint account and I have signing authority it would definitely not be a problem.  Fast forward to yesterday (two days after El 3atal left, mind you).

I got a pleasant call from a nice girl at Aramex.  She wanted to know how she could call Mr. 3atal.  I explained that he was out of the country.  Oh, no.  She wanted to deliver his new bank cards (one of them ought to be mine as well, I’m pretty sure but let’s leave that aside for the moment).  They can only deliver them to him personally and he must sign for them himself.  So, when will he be back.  I then told her, I have no idea, maybe a couple of weeks, maybe a month.  Oh, then they will have to return the cards to the bank. Of course they will… of course.

After this little spiel, I attempted to explain to her that the bank had assured us that  I could sign for the cards.  I asked her to call the bank to check.  Apparently, such a phone call is impossible.  She was firm and adamant that no, she couldn’t call the bank and she couldn’t have me receive the cards.  OK?  I will admit that while my patience was very limited from the beginning of the call, this put me far past the limit.  I was rather unkind in explaining to her that she should never end a negative statement with OK?  It, in fact, isn’t OK.  OK? is asking for agreement.  If I say to you, let’s go to Chili’s for dinner, OK?  That implies that I either a) agree or b) have another option.  When I asked her, so with your OK, is there another option, she replied that of course there was not.  There was, in fact, no way at all that she could be of any help whatsoever.  I explained that in the future, if she is unable to assist in any way, she should not say OK.  She should simply inform the customer that here is the problem, she can’t do anything to resolve it, and the bank will contact the customer.

Understand that I have sympathy for her.  I know people who do customer service training in Jordan.  They are as clueless as those who perform as customer services reps.  So, I am certain this young lady has neither the authority to actually assist the customer nor the understanding (or perhaps interest) that she should think of a way to help.  I also get that the bank of my (un)choice has rules and has not exactly been clear with their partner.  But honestly, by calling my telephone with no solutions and no assistance all she did was waste my time.

And when I realized that my card should be in there and tried to call back to find out, the number listed left me talking to another nice girl who was not only helpless, but then actually managed to disconnect me.  So, no resolution and a hang-up.

If this were a one-off, I would be merely a tad miffed.  But this is a consistent issue.  It happens every single time we need bank cards.  It happens every single time we order via shop and ship (a year later I finally got one order and two months after that they tried to make me pay for someone else’s order).  When we worked with them in the past to have their delivery folks take invoices to customers and return with checks, they didn’t get it right a single time.  Not once.  Out of probably 20 opportunities.  I ended up hiring a taxi driver to go to each location and manage it.  He got it right.  Makes you wonder…

So, from now on I will be forcing my opinion on this one. It always seems to be me dealing with the incompetence and I’m done with it.  If the bank needs to get something to me, they can call me and tell me its ready at their location. Because frankly, the 20 minutes I spent trying to get both young ladies to think through whether they could actually help in any way and the annoyance I experienced that lasted after are not worth it.  I’ll never get that time back.  And if I have to choose, I’d rather spend my time parking in a crowded area and dealing with incompetent bank employees because at the end of it all, at least I’d have some resolution.  As it was, I’m just frustrated and will still have to go and deal with the bank.  So, thanks, but no thanks.  Please don’t deliver anything to my door because if there’s one thing I know, it’s this:  They won’t get it right.  Not even once.  Save me from incompetent service providers and their incompetent partners, please.  I haven’t got the patience to be nice…

Happy (Mis)Delivery!

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19 thoughts on “My Hate-Hate Relationship with Aramex… Sigh

  1. So much to say… but they just can’t help being incompetent. It’s in their genes.

    I’m so glad I leave for California next week and will return only as a tourist.

  2. Last year while I was still living in Amman I had a similar experience with Aramex delivering my bank card– the only difference is that I was there ready willing and available to receive my card every day of the week but it took Aramex delivery man two full weeks to arrive at my house and that is after I wrote a nasty letter to their customer services and threatned to follow it up with another letter to Fadi Ghandoor. I agree that the workers are highly incompetent, they don’t take their job seriously, time is not a factor in their life. So what if they fail to deliver within the specified date, it means noting to them and tomorrow or even next week is fine with them. Yes living in Jordan can be very frustrating especially for those of us used to getting good customer service. I don’t know when will customer service improve in Jordan but I have a strong feeling that it wont be any time soon.

  3. It is said that if you question or doubt the existence of God, just come to the Middle East and you will become a believer. How so? you ask. Because you discover that some things do actually function and work fine that you conclude there must be divine intervention as the mortals are all incompetent and incapable of running anything properly.

  4. Hello,
    I am Shahira from Aramex, I’ve read your blog post and frankly I would be as upset as you are if I’d had gone through the same unfortunate experience.
    To actually resolve your issue, and for Aramex to learn from it, may I ask you to provide us your contact details, a tracking number if provided, your name and your partner’s name and I’ll check on this right away. Please email us at care@aramex.com.

    Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience you endured, we’ll consider this a learning opportunity for Aramex and we’ll thank you for it. We hope to be able to serve you better in the future.

    Regards,
    Shahira Koudsi
    Customer Service Team Member
    Aramex International – Global Support Office, Amman
    Tel: +962 6 5515111
    aramex.com

    • Shahira, thanks. I’ll correspond with you offline. But frankly, this is an ongoing systemic problem. This isn’t a one-time occurrence it’s an every time annual occurrence. As I mentioned, I only got caught with it because I didn’t insist, as usual, that I get a call directly from the bank. I normally refuse the delivery option because of how many times I’ve gone through this (and the person calling me speaking no English). I’ll give you what limited information I have, certainly no tracking, shipment or other information though. After all, I didn’t receive a shipment ;).

  5. I have been waiting 2 weeks for an item they are “holding” waiting for the right address………..if I could reach through the phone…….*strangle*

    • BJ, been there. For me it was a lot longer than that. Hahahaha. I think 50% of the fault was the originator for not adding the detailed BOX info that I put in the system. But a phone call to the number would have been, well, useful. I’m sending patience dust your way (although I think I should be keeping it for myself…).

    • Hello BJ,
      Kindly send your shipment’s tracking number and your account number to care@aramex.com and I’ll check on your shipment with the team, and will the necessary right away.

      Thank you.

      Regards,
      Shahira Koudsi
      Customer Service Team Member
      Aramex International – Global Support Office, Amman
      Tel: +962 6 5515111
      aramex.com

  6. Dear Shahira Koudsi,
    Why don’t you guys do things in foresight fashion rather than always do it in hindsight. Ask your manager to put in place total quality assurance programs, this program will help your company eliminate mistakes little by little until they eventually go down to zero. In other words you guys need to anticipate delivery problems before they occur not after. I see you following the same pattern each and every time a problem arises. You quickly ask the customer to furnish you with the tracking number and then you promise to track it and solve the problem which often times take several more days for the problem to get resolved. In my opinion anything addressed with Amman address ought to be delivered the same day, or at the very most the next day. Not two weeks later. That gets people highly pissed off. I’m not criticizing you I’m just trying to help you give better service to your parched customers.

  7. As I was expecting (also Maxrobinson pointed out the same observation) I waited to see what Aramex had to say before I write my comment. You should feel very lucky that you have been heard. How many Jordanians are out there who blog in English to get their complaint heard?
    I am wondering, if it takes Aramex two weeks to deliver a package within Amman how long it will take them to deliver to those dead cities (you know, Irbid) outside of Amman. Do we still have postal service by the way? If so, did you use their service?

    I like that Maxrobinson wrote “I’m not criticizing you I’m just trying to help you give better service to your parched customers.” Our Jordanian-based companies need to take such complaint as a feedback to improve their service. And I am very sure you have the same intention. I am guessing since you are married to a Jordanian you are also a Jordanian citizen not just a Jordanian resident, right? So, you speak out for the sake of the country. I am saying that because we usually don’t like to be criticized by foreigner. Same as Americans don’t like to be criticized by Arabs or God forbid by French 🙂

    Now, you have to be fair where in the US one can go to a bank and ask them to provide him/her with a staff member who speaks his/her language? OK, beside Spanish. This Jordanian bank provided you with an English-speaking staff member which I believe was an excellent customer service. Regardless of what happens next 🙂

    p.s. I have to disagree with you about the “OK?” conversation part. I think the misunderstanding is a language barrier. But it is good that you explained to her the mistake she did.

    • Jaraad, actually, I’m positive the Ok was a language issue. That was the point, understand what it means because to an annoyed American, saying ok is like that proverbial red cape to the bull ;). Is there still a postal service, yes. I get statements from the same bank every month by the Jordan Post. I have also used it to send and receive mail from the US (sending seems to go much more quickly).

      The reality is that whether I am Jordanian, American, or Martian, as a customer you should accept feedback as an opportunity to improve. But, yes, I am a Jordanian as well. But we Americans, well we’re pretty much criticized be the whole world (often deservedly) and really shouldn’t be saying too much about it. If you set yourself up to be a “superpower” criticism of how you achieve your aims should be welcomed ;).

      And, I don’t think the US banking system is any glory we should hold up for sure. But at least I could, gasp, get my cards delivered in a reasonable timeframe. And pick my own PIN number… But again, not really talking about the US’s issues with banks… that’s a whole ‘nother conversation ;). Whether someone speaks English or not being good customer service is debatable. Sometimes I think my grasp of Arabic better than theirs of English ;). Upon occasion I even resort to speaking Arabic to them. The benefit (to me) of having them simply admit they don’t speak English is I can send another family member off to deal with the frustration. Is that bad? 😉

  8. This happened to me four and three years ago between HSBC and Aramex. They drove me insane! A friend of mine sent out a mass of invitations to a reception recently and many did not get them – Aramex again. What is so annoying is that Fadi Ghandour does so much to help the underprivileged. Just wish he could get his company together.

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