William Crosby’s career goes from adding machines to adding value
UPS people have good hearts. They are conscientious people. They take their jobs seriously. If I were to ever leave the job, I would miss UPS people.
Back when I started, a lot of people thought that UPS was the Post Office. And as a small kid, I thought UPS was Macy’s – UPS did a lot of retail deliveries, and I thought UPS was Macy’s.
I didn’t think I’d stay at first. But UPS is steady work, with good benefits. And it was a friendly atmosphere. When you know people for years, they become like a family.
On my second day of work, I was a helper at the Christmas season for one of the drivers that delivered in downtown New York. At lunch time, we stopped at a restaurant to get something to eat. A gentleman walked in and said, “You know, President Kennedy has been assassinated.”
You know, in those days, no one ever heard about presidents being assassinated. Most of us didn’t believe him. So we asked the restaurant to turn on the television. The news announcer said it was a tragedy in Dallas, Texas, that the president was shot. Everybody was crying out loud.
After that, everybody, everything stopped. The next day, nobody went to work. That has stuck with me to this day.
The biggest change I have seen over 50 years is the change in package handling. Computers and bar code technology have made things so much easier.
Years ago, you had to sort by route. It was also harder to track a package – you had to call the station where you thought the package might be. It took longer.
My favorite memory? Getting the job at UPS – full-time, steady work. I worked as a driver at a small customer counter in the Garment District (in New York City). Some other guys and I all had keys. We would open the store in the morning. We had a big truck to make pickups.
We had to figure out the money by hand, figure out insurance costs ourselves. We added things up on the old hand-crank calculators. I remember how each package had its own slip. By the end of the day, there would be big stacks of slips on the desks. Some days, we had so many packages in the store that we had to do our paperwork on the other side of the counter.
One UPSer worked up on a balcony inside the store. I remember that the tape from his adding machine got so long that it stretched down to the carpet on the first floor.
During my 50 years here, UPS has really expanded to meet the customer’s needs. We can track packages in a matter of seconds – customers seem more concerned about that. They have their own tracking numbers, and they can track the packages themselves. They don’t have to wait to get a form or something like that.
We’ve also expanded internationally. That brings more customers to us. We have the whole United States now, but we used to only have a few states. We go to practically the whole globe.
Our customers have to be satisfied – in the way we talk to them, the way we can handle any problem they have. They have to walk away feeling good.
We have to be polite. We have to have nice things to say to them. We have to show them the best way to ship a package, how to wrap a package, how to make sure a package is in good condition. If there is a problem with the package, we have to tell them right away, in a nice way, that another way is better – you pack it in a such and such a way.
Customer service to me means one thing: Customer Satisfaction.
Here’s the advice I would give to new UPSers: Learn as much as you can. Learn about the job. It helps you be more efficient and enables you to adapt to change. Times do change.
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