Your Venders are as Equally Important as the Product
The Weakest Link Theory - is very simple. You are as strong as your weakest link. That's why it is imperative when thinking about producing a good or service to think of the entire life cycle of the product from start to finish - and this includes getting it into the hands of the consumer.
My biggest fear to date, which has caused me many sleepless nights, was the process after the customer placed their order. How could I ensure seamless delivery with the objective of seeking 100% customer satisfaction. Because as we know, business is tough to get as it is - a lost customer is absolutely unacceptable.
Read more: The Case for Retail
I remember when I first started out in finance and we read a Harvard Business School Case Study on the success of Stew Leonard's Dairy Store. That's the store that has the 6,000 lb granite slab out front that reads: Rule #1 The Customer is Always Right! Rule #2 If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Reread Rule #1.
In 1969, Stew Leonard told a customer his eggnog wasn't sour and despite getting a refund, she said she would never go there again. When Stew told his wife that night - she said, of course not - you basically told her she was a liar...you can't treat people like that.
Upon reflection he agreed and created the stone that is still there today. Since then we have had companies take customer service to an even higher level - and by that I am referring to yes Apple and yes Zappos.
Read more: It isn't Easy Being Green. Or, is it?
Yesterday, we met with Fred and JT, who will represent our new fulfillment company. A fulfillment company is exactly what it sounds like - they are responsible for fulfilling the orders. Walking through their warehouse was like strolling through the isles of Sephora.
In recognizing all of the major brands that trust them with their business, it gave us further confidence that we were in the right place. Not only has this company been in business for a long time but we will be one of their smallest customers - and I think that is perfect - because it means they will be able to handle our volume regardless of the velocity of our growth.