FedEx Wins Some Christmas Day Word-of-Mouth

In my office, our main overnight delivery service until recently was DHL. It was cheaper than FedEx, and reasonably reliable. But the word around the office was always that if you were serious about getting a package to someone overnight, you should spring for FedEx.

DHL is gone now.  On Christmas Day FedEx took a big step in reinforcing its reputation in the consumer’s mind as the most reliable choice overnight delivery. While UPS gave all of its employees the day off, FedEx announced that it would keep all 665 of its Express Centers open on Christmas morning.

A huge portion of the country has experienced really rough weather in the week before Christmas. Heavy snow and ice created havoc in air, rail, and ground transportation. Here in the Pacific Northwest, many roads are still iced over. Some packages — including many holiday presents — just couldn’t be delivered on time.

FedEx understood the disappointment that would cause, and decided to give parents one more chance to put the presents under the tree. This undoubtedly cost them a considerable amount of money, and created inconvenience and hardship for some of their employees. They did it anyway.

So if you were expecting a Christmas present via FedEx, you may be able to get it today. If it’s coming UPS? Sorry, you’ll have to wait until they get back on Friday.

Customers of both companies will remember what happened, and how each company responded to the challenge. So will all the people they talk to, and millions more who hear about it in media reports.

Which company will they choose when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight?


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2 thoughts on “FedEx Wins Some Christmas Day Word-of-Mouth

  1. Dear Phil. I am sick of reading about DHL. I worked for Airborne in Seattle for 6 years before we were bought out by DHL. As many in the company my last day is approachig quickly. I have done everything in my power to give good service to my customers, as have many other fine people who work here. We may be low on the totem pole, and have nothing to do with the decisions made. I care about my customers. In addition, you can also pass on how I feel about the news items about how the large number of people being ‘fired’ in this country. The word fired should not be used interchangeably with being laid off, or a reduction in workforce. I am being laid off, not fired. Why don’t you write about the many fine people who have worked there fannies off for years for this company – or many other companies.

  2. Francis,

    First of all, I’m sorry you’re losing your job. I’ve been laid off before (and, in the distant past, out-and-out fired. I agree with you — there’s a huge difference). I certainly did not mean to imply that DHL employees didn’t or don’t work hard, or care about their customers.

    My blog is about advertising and marketing — establishing a reputation and using that reputation to gain sales.

    And I believe that FedEx as a company has done a better job of reputation management than any of its other competitors. They staked out a position in the consumer’s mind — “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” — and have done what it takes to make sure they own it.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that FedEx is statistically better in on-time delivery than anyone else. But a significant chunk of the public believes that they are, and that counts for a lot.

    This past week, a lot of packages didn’t arrive on time, through no fault of the delivery companies or their hard-working employees. Only FedEx decided to open up on Christmas morning. I think that decision will pay dividends for them.