Doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
Posted by Ty Parker on March 27, 2014. 0 Comments
When we started Spin Chill, we got questions about everything from, "Where will you assemble them" to, "Will you make one for a keg?". Our usual response was that we'll figure it out when we get there. So far, we've been pretty good at recognizing problems and changing our course to avoid them. One of the questions that we crashed into, however, was, "How are you going to ship internationally?".
We kicked things off with a Kickstarter campagin (no pun intended) which basically allowed a couple thousand people to pay for our products before they were produced. As soon as we manufactured everything, we had thousands of orders to fulfill and absolutely no knowledge of domestic or international shipping. We went with the most economical shipping provider, and it worked perfectly! People all over the world sent us pictures of themselves Spin Chilling their Bud Light or Foster's beer. Because of the great feedback, we shipped all of our subsequent orders the same way. Little did we know...
Nothing was getting to Brazil. After a few weeks, Kickstarter backers from "the land of beer and futebol" started emailing us, wondering where their Spin Chills were. We did some research and found all sorts of horror stories from people who had shipped to Brazil only to have their packages stuck in customs, lost in the post, or just plain stolen. It was extremely frustrating for us to have to answer all the disgruntled e-mails from our valued Brazilian customers because even though it wasn't necessarily our fault, we still felt like we were to blame.
One of those customers purchased a Spin Chill from us on October 12. We shipped the same day and thought all was well. 76 days later, he emailed us wondering where his Spin Chill was and why he had to keep drinking warm beers. We tried to find it but since we had used the cheapest shipping option, we weren't allowed to track it past Miami. After 90 days, he was finally so fed up that he asked for a refund, which we granted.
Most stories we found online said that even if the package makes it to the end consumer in Brazil, it needs a signature confirmation. Often, the stories claim, they receive the product, claim that it never arrived, and get a refund on the entire purchase plus shipping. While my first though wasn't thievery, it was still a possibility. We started paying as much as possible for premium express shipping to Brazil with signature confirmation.
6 days after the refund (96 days after shipment), the Spin Chill showed up at our Brazilian customer's door. Instead of quietly chilling his cerveja and keeping the refunded product, he let us know that it had arrived and sent us a re-refund for the full amount.
While we still charge the higher price for shipping to Brazil to ensure that our customers get their purchases in a timely fashion, we are glad to find that the people of Brazil seem to be much less corrupt than most of the internet gives them credit for. We still figure things out as we go, but we're happy to report that we're a lot wiser than we were 10 months ago.
"Saúde" to you, Senjor, and have a cold beer for us at the World Cup.
Here's a great article on Trust from John Spence: The Source of Being a Great Leader