I want to be candid and honest with you. I’m pretty up-to-date on most of the comments and there are a couple of issues, in particular, that I want to address before I call it a night.
The whole “getting real answers” thing? Well as I’m writing this, it’s still a weekend. People aren’t at work. I hope to make a lot more progress with a new work week. But before I can get any more additional “information”, I can at least vent a little, right?
Issue #1: International customers.
It sounds like a lot of you international customers were on “hold” for way too long (and eventually gave up) trying to place an order, right? You may be wondering if anyone was even there taking calls on the 1st, right? Guess what? I have no idea. There’s honesty for you. I have no idea if someone was there to answer your call or if everyone working at that call center had the day off.
You know what? I work hard doing what I do and I expect the same from others. If there was seriously no one there to take your phone calls, that is inexcusable. Period. I’m so mad about the very thought of that possibility, I’m not sure how to articulate it. I truly feel your frustration.
Remember: I do not know the truth at this point. I do not know if the international phones were being manned on January 1. Maybe those folks really were working that day. I don’t know. I am absolutely going to bat for you on this. I don’t know what we can do about it at this point, but It makes me sick to think of so many of you sitting on the phone for nothing that day. I don’t know what else to say. I am looking for answers just like you.
Personally, good customer service for me is HUGE. That’s what I love about Costco. One of my biggest pet-peeves in life is poor customer service. So again — I get it. I’m not making any excuses for them.
Issue #2: Why did we not make enough kits?
A lot of comments are being made about “how could CK not see this coming?” and if I were a customer, I’d think that very same way. After all, this is awfully reminiscent of my school kit last year that sold out mega fast. How could we not be prepared, right? How could we not produce enough to meet the demand? Why create all the hype only to fail on the delivery?
I get it. I know where you’re coming from. Now let me explain the other side of the story. The school kit wasn’t my last kit. I’ve done a couple others since that one and guess what? Not so successful. They didn’t even come close to selling out. I believe they’re great products (I’m speaking about the Baby kit and the Christmas card kit), but as we are ALL seeing lately … the economy is crap right now. Most of you are really feeling that first-hand. So as we’ve watched the sales go down for the kits we’re producing, I for one don’t blame the consumer for saving their hard-earned money. It’s harder times. We need to be more frugal. I totally get why people aren’t buying the kits.
What I’m saying is, we let the numbers do the talking. Numbers have been down. Period. So when the order for Project 365 was placed months ago …… do you get where I’m going with this? The company didn’t want to over-estimate because we can’t afford to be sitting on too much inventory. Makes sense, right?
So fast-forward to last month when I’m starting to talk about Project 365 on my blog. I notice some increased traffic, I’m hearing that there’s some good buzz about it. Great. Wonderful. I’m excited that it seems like this kit will do better than the last several months’ worth.
Fast-forward to TWO days before the product is released. Two days. That’s when I announced a random drawing to win a free kit and holy cow, did you guys respond! Again — great. Wonderful. I felt so excited that people were excited about this concept and were showing interest in the kit. Starting to wonder if more should have been ordered (which, by the way, is not something that I have a say in). But remember — this is 2 days before it goes on sale. Think we can make a phone call and say “Hey, we’d like a few more thousand of Project 365. And could you overnight those?”
No, of course not. It doesn’t work that way. So then it came. January 1st. I can promise you that there was no celebrating of a quick sell-out. I don’t need to state that it all became a big mess at this point.
I don’t blame those of you who are sorely disappointed in there not being enough kits to go around. But I hope you can understand – at least a little bit – how it could even be possible to underestimate. (PS – Did any of you try to get a Wii at Christmas time?) And while I’m venting, I think some are misled and think that I own this company or have a say in how the company is run.
I am strictly an employee. I am a designer. My job is to design kits. I am not running a business or making any kind of executive decisions or controlling Customer Service. I am changing diapers and car-pooling and wiping noses and serving in my church and meeting work deadlines. And trying my best to balance it all. Just like you. Many of you are working so, so hard and deserve a much better experience in what should be just a simple product order.
I know you want answers about this fiasco. I want answers just as bad as you do. The ball has been dropped. I don’t disagree with that for a second.