It’s fair to say that 2013 has been a mental year for us so far in terms of product sales, with the spring and summer periods easily being the busiest we’ve experienced to date. However, it’s equally fair to say that this growth has thrown up a number of challenges that have, at times, threatened our ability to maintain a high level of customer service across all of the shopping channels we currently serve. Not only have we struggled to hold enough stock (due to a dire shortage of warehouse space) and keep track of it properly (due to walk-in sales bypassing our main database) but we’ve also found ourselves extremely pushed for time, to the extent that many telephone calls have gone unanswered (mainly when we’ve been tied up serving local walk-in customers), replies to voicemails and e-mails have often been tardy and a lot of exciting web content has gone unmade (we had plans to make at least a dozen new demonstration videos this year, but so far we’ve only managed to publish three). Consequently, we’ve given a lot of thought over the last couple of months about how best to resolve these issues, in order to accommodate future growth whilst at the same time improving the level of service we offer to all of our customers. The outcome of this process is as follows…
• During the second week of December we will be relocating the product sales side of our business to a much larger warehousing unit, which will enable us to significantly increase our stockholding over the next couple of years. This will not only enable us to better cope with spikes in demand during busy periods in future, but will also allow us to take on a wider range of new product lines and thus position us better as a one-stop shop for detailing supplies. The services side of our business will remain unaffected by this move, and will continue to operate out of our current detailing studio.
• From the 2nd of December 2013 walk-in sales will be politely refused. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly, we wish to create a situation where all of our customers have the same level of access to us in future, as this will ensure that everybody receives an equally high level of service. Secondly, we wish to funnel all future sales into a single order management system, as this will enable us to control the stock levels shown on our website in real-time, and thus all but eliminate the risk of back order situations arising. Thirdly, due to the increasing scale of our operation, we will be operating heavy machinery in our new unit (fork lift truck, cardboard recycler, etc) and public access poses a significant risk from a liability standpoint (it’s more than likely that our insurers will prohibit public access regardless of any other business decisions we may or may not make).
We appreciate that the above news will have an impact on many local customers, and that it may not be seen by everybody as a positive step. However, we believe that the loss of walk-in sales (a potential inconvenience for a relatively small number of people) will be offset by a significant leap in our productivity, which will result in a lot of highly informative new web content being made (a potential benefit for all of our customers, i.e. local, national and international). Furthermore, we see no reason why this change will result in local customers receiving a lower standard of service. Our Feefo feedback shows that we offer excellent service in the absence of direct face to face contact, and we are wholly committed to ensuring that this continues to be the case in future. We hope that the above clearly explains the forthcoming changes to how we operate and our reasons for making them, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to add a comment below or get in touch by phone or e-mail if you would prefer.