Friday, January 07, 2011

Snowstorm aftermath

As the snow comes down again today, it obviously makes me think about the recent blizzard that brought the city to a standstill.  We tried to brave the storm for as long as we could, switching from bicycles to subways and walking, but had to close for the day when the subways went kaput.  To all of our customers who needed a hot chocolate or some milk that day, i can only apologize and say that we kept going as long as we possibly could.

Before we shut down, we had delivered every order successfully and had done our best to provide you with as accurate a time estimate as we could.  Were we perfect that day?  No.  But, we communicated as best we could with our customers whenever we had an issue so they could know what was going on.

I was forwarded a link from one of the other grocery delivery services today with a letter from their CEO about the same storm and realized that, for some reason, they just don't seem to understand good service.  The letter starts out discussing the storm and how it caused late orders, cancellations, and, for some reason I did not understand, late responses to phone calls.  But, it then goes on to say that winter is a busy time of year and, as a result, customers should expect to have to work harder to get their daily needs met.

To me, my job is to look for those trends in business, including our "busy times", and to put additional staff or structures in place so that we can continue to give top quality service through those times.  If I see a spike in expected order volume (as happens every winter), we bring on more people, add more inventory, and prepare for it.  What we don't do is write a letter to our customers asking them to bear the burden of our internal issues.  We don't expect you to have to worry about our problems...we are supposed to worry about your problems and find ways to service you.  A service such as ours should have one goal - to make your life easier.

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