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Thread: Better bee

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Harriman, Tn
    Posts
    175

    Thumbs down

    I got to say they will never get another order from me. I placed a order for 20 nucs and globe patties about $350 with free shipping. They email me to tell me that it is back ordered for 2 weeks ok no big deal. Then they send me another email to tell me that shipping will cost me $141.00 so I called them and "they" said oh the shipping is too much you will have to pay to have it shipped to you. After 5 mins of fighting over it I told her to cancel the order then after another 5 mins on hold they tell me that they will cancel the order this time but never again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    They offered free shipping?? What it a
    convention or magazine offer???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

    Post

    They are a strange company to deal with. Once they called me and told me that the shipping would double the price of the two frame nucs that I was ordering and wanted to cancel the order for me. I thanked them and let them cancel but then the next year I sucked it up and ordered some anyway.

    Another time I received a box that was short a tee shirt. They told me that it was in there and I was just trying to get a free shirt! :mad:

    I find their prices to usually be higher than most other places, but they sometimes have things that others don't.

    Being so far from me I generally look for a closer source because of shipping costs.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Moravian Falls, NC
    Posts
    67

    Post

    Hello All,

    Lively Bee's email thread crossed my desk today. Shipping charges are problematic with large items, even more so with UPS and FedEx changing their methods for calculating shipping charges (dimensional weight versus actual weight). This is stated on our website and that if there is a discrepancy we will contact that customer. This is the case here. Lively Bee's if you have additional comments or questions please give me a call. I will be in the office tomorrow (8-12 EST) - 1-800-632-3379.

    Bullseye, PM or call me with your zip code and approximate date of your order and I will look it this matter.

    Regards,
    Shane
    Betterbee Manager
    Brushy Mtn Bee Farm
    www.brushymountainbeefarm.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

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    >Bullseye, PM or call me with your zip code and approximate date of your order and I will look it this matter.

    Shane, I need to make a clarification and apologize for an omission. When posting at work I get interrupted constantly. I was sent the shirt I was shorted although I was very upset that I was accused of receiving it and calling in to get another one for free.

    That experience has not kept me from re-ordering from you, it is just an economic decision to shop around and order the things I can from closer suppliers to save on shipping costs.

    Every company has employees that have a bad day occasionally, hers left a lasting impression.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Harriman, Tn
    Posts
    175

    Post

    "Shipping charges are problematic with large items, even more so with UPS and FedEx changing their methods for calculating shipping charges (dimensional weight versus actual weight"

    Then you should have your site fixed I just order 20 hive bodys and 50 supers from another company and they had no issues with shipping charges from a internet order. When I CONFIM A ORDER with free shipping I expect to pay that amount and no more. If it was a ERROR on your behalf then better bee should have paid the shipping.

    With that said I will never buy from better bee again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,375

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    I've been a BetterBee customer from the very beginning, and bought my first 100 hives from Bob, in 1980...whatever it was. I've found that they have had the kinds of problems that others are talking about, ever since then.

    For instance, I ordered a hundred cases of jars and covers. Said I'd be down some day the following week to pick them up, as I thought the shipping was too high...twice the price of other vendors per pallet. They told me they had the jars in stock. and to call when I knew which day I'd be down. I called...they said oops...no longer have that many jars in stock, but have such and so many. Grrr! OK, I'll be down to pick up those, tomorrow. Drove 3 1/2 hours to pick up the jars and caps...only to be informed that they no longer had them, and only had 25 cases, and didn't have the caps. Grrr!!!

    I sympathise with those who have had the same problems...seems that everyone has. With all the help they have in the place, and with computer systems now-a-days...It's beyond me why they still can't get it together.

    While I don't order from BetterBee much anymore...I make most of my own equipment, and buy my foundation from Jones in Quebec which is just up the road...I will support them if I can. I think there is a need for a bee supply company in the area. Hopefully, with these posts, Shane will revamp the system, and be better able to serve the beekeeping community in the future. It doesn't seem to be too difficult a task, if they would sit down with the employees, put their heads together...and change what has to be changed. Shane?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Moravian Falls, NC
    Posts
    67

    Post

    Hi All,

    I will be the first to admit that there have been problems in the past and certainly there is a lot to be learned from those issues. I think what is important, is how we move forward and how those issues are addressed. I can tell you that there have been tremendous improvements over the past few years. Our back orders and turn around time have been cut in half. Our error rates are 50 times lower now than 3 years ago. Despite the issue here with the nuc boxes our system is calculating shipping cost more accurately (the nucs are now fixed). The data out is only as good as the data going in, and cleansing the data has been a major priority. All of this has occurred by working closely with the staff and setting the expectations. I am very pleased with the staff I have now.

    Of course, this will always be a work in progress. There will always be areas which need improvement. No one person or business is perfect, and when a mistake is made we do our best to make it right. In the past we have faltered, but in the future will do better.

    Regards to particular issues raised in this thread.
    Lively Bee's, there was no free shipping associated with that order, it was an issue with the database, which is now fixed. I apologize for the inconvenience/confusion, and I regret losing you as a customer. In the future, I hope you will reconsider.

    Bullseye, I would still like to know the approximate time of order. Also, if you could provide either your zip code or customer number (anything so I can look up your account). I would like to follow up on the matter internally.

    Mike, I looked at what I believe to be the order in question (Aug 05). If I understand you and the order history correctly, you called in an order for glass, you were told we had it, but when you got here we didn't have your complete order. Is this correct? Whether you are a walk in customer or a phone in customer, if you are told we have something stock, but when we go to pick your order we don't, we will ship it to you free of charge. Of course, you will still need to pay for the merchandise, but there will be no shipping charge.

    Cheers,
    Shane
    Brushy Mtn Bee Farm
    www.brushymountainbeefarm.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Post

    I have to commend Shane for stepping up
    to the plate here and addressing the issues
    directly. Says a lot about the direction the
    company is heading.

    As a small business owner I know the headaches
    that occur and the lasting effect even one
    miss step an errant employees mistake can
    make.

    I have not ordered from BetterBee, and after
    the personal attention Shane has shown
    I will not hesitate to order down the road.

    This thread is a great example of how important
    a section like this is. Thanks Bill and Barry.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    napoleon ohio
    Posts
    769

    Post

    All well and good the probloems are being worked on at bb but they are still there.A few things why i will likely not order from them again.Not answering and ignoring my emails.Being told to call back the next day when one call is all it should take.And this is not an old order very recent.I admit one thing part of this was my fault but it should have not taken 2 emails and 2 phone call to clear things up.Shane maybe your time would be better spent looking at your office and not here.
    Mitch KD8IMF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

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    Sundance; Well Said!

    Shane, I too am a business owner, although not a mail-order business, I know the trials and tribulations of running a business. Personally, I would like to sell it and do bees full-time. That way I would only have to be responsible for one employee, me. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I know your employees rudeness was not of your doing and I am sure that you wish it did not happen. I am ok with it now and hold no ill feelings. I had an employee that caused me much grief also, I had three irate customers either come to me or call me and complain, demanding that he be fired. When I got that third complaint, (his third chance) he was gone. I don't want you to fire your employee, but am illustrating that I know how hard it is to manage otherwise good and like-able help. I felt bad having to let him go, but his red headed temperament could not be controlled.

    I am glad that you are aware of your problems and are on course to addressing them. Best of luck to you!
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Moravian Falls, NC
    Posts
    67

    Post

    Hi Mitch,

    I never claimed we were not going to make a mistake every now and then. Of course, we strive to minimize errors, but it would be foolish to make such a claim as no one is perfect. What I did say and what I think is important are the actions which follow the mistake.

    Can you please tell me which email address you used? I just looked in every email account and I could not any recent messages. I do have an email from back in May, which I thought was resolved satisfactorily. If not please let me know.

    Cheers,
    Shane
    Brushy Mtn Bee Farm
    www.brushymountainbeefarm.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rainier, OR
    Posts
    247

    Post

    Just thought I'd go ahead and add to this, for a bit of balance:

    I've placed several orders with BetterBee this past year (my first year as an apiholic), for everything from foundation to framing jigs to medications, and I've been very satisfied with the service. I really like the interface of their website and the detailed descriptions.

    Things take a little while to get shipped out, but that's not a big issue for me.

    Between my local bee supply, which I really like to support, and BetterBee, I can find pretty much anything I'm looking for. (But I could use a bunch of 8-frame plastic queen excluders--hint hint!)

    Shane, thanks for stopping in. Best of luck to you in improving fulfillment and management practices.
    Pocket Meadow Farm

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    5,080

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    I do not know shane, nor have I ever dealt with Betterbee, but I will be looking at their site now with the hopes of buying from them. I have been in business most of my life, and the way Shane is working here, I think he can supply me well. If I had a customer who thought one call should get all answers, without giving me a chance to talk to employees, check records, or anything else, I would say "thank you" when he said he would not be back.
    I have resolved problems and kept good customers after weeks of communications. Several days being common. One call is unusual.

    Shane, if your prices and shipping are tolerable, you will be hearing from me. Thanks for the replies, it shows very good PR.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Shane, since your so open to answer and reply, I'll add an experience I had....

    In ordering some labels, I noticed that the hieght and width are sometimes reversed from one item to another on the pages of the catalog. (three years back) Some had the width printed first, and some had the heigth printed first. And in both instances, they were not properly shown with "w" or a "h". So I made this be known when ordering. I asked very specifically if the label being ordered was in fact so high, and so wide. After three different people were involved, I was told that it was as I wanted. It was supposed to be something like 1-1/2 high and 3 inches wide.

    Upon recieving the order, I was sent a label 3 inches high, and 1-1/2 inches wide. I called to get the proper ones printed and sent. I again stated that I had brought the question of whether the magazine was correct and that I had made every effort to point out the confusing printed material. And that I was assured that it was correct when I placed the order.

    I was then told they would bill me for the new labels. Labels that I needed to fill a now overdue order. I said I already payed for them. I was told that when I mailed back the printed labels, I would recieve a credit. I asked what they would do with printed labels, as they would not be able to be resold. They said they would throw them away.

    So to get a credit, I had to repackage, make a trip to the post office, pay for the new labels, and pay up front to resend the old labels back. And Better was willing to pay for the return postage so they could take the pleasure of throwing them away, instead of letting me have them, as compensation for thier error, and having me make excuses for honey orders not being filled. I did not even know how I would use them, as I did not use this size. I don't think I was benefiting from keeping the labels, but I was certainly being inconvenienced in being asked to ship them back. And made to feel that Betterbee was more interested in paying shipping rather than letting me have them. An odd business model at best.

    I have had this happen in the past with printed material for past jobs I held. And if something was wrong, a replacement was sent, and never did I feel I needed to send something back so the company could throw it away, somehow thinking that if I kept it I would be "making out" as it was said to me on the phone. They said (Other company) "keep it", it was our mistake, and apoligized for the error. Something I never recieved from your office.

    I still do order my labels from BetterBee (and a few other items). I never got around to changing out the label line to another. But all my other business has gone to other companies. To date, never less than 20,000 dollars per year in supplies for the past 5 years. And to think this was over a $7.95 roll of labels.

    [size="1"][ January 20, 2007, 01:05 PM: Message edited by: BjornBee ][/size]

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Moravian Falls, NC
    Posts
    67

    Post

    Hi BjornBee,

    Again, I appreciate the comments/feedback. Things Every single customer is an important customer. Whether they are a hobbyist that spends a few hundred dollars a year or a commercial account the spends thousands of dollars a year, our goal is provide quality products with quality service at a quality price. Do we fall short occasionally? Yes, but there isn't a company out there that doesn't. The true test, in my opinion, is in the actions that follow.

    BjornBee, give me a call sometime. I would love the opportunity to demonstrate Betterbee's commitment to customer service. That goes for anyone.

    Cheers,
    Shane
    Brushy Mtn Bee Farm
    www.brushymountainbeefarm.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Wausau Wi
    Posts
    311

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    I have really enjoyed this thread. Shane, you are a good example of BetterBee trying to handle things in an adult profession way. I do admire you in that you do not stoop to accusations, and you are making an effort to make things better. I like to hear that other beeks are still interested in ordering from you again. That is nice to see. I respect everyone on this post who can act profession in their postings. Its a good read when you don't have to go through all the finger pointing and slandering. Keep up the good work everyone !!!
    Everything happens for a reason. Time heals all wounds - time and a half heals them even faster

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Harriman, Tn
    Posts
    175

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    Iddee just so you now it was more then 1 email and more then one phone call on this matter.

    I run a small bis I do 100% mobile Fire truck repair and I can tell you if I do not quote shipping on some thing then I will not back up and make that person pay for the shipping. If I mis-price some thing I eat the loss. Its all about keeping your customers happy. I dont think if better bee would have had to pay for the shipping that it would have forced them in to go out of business.

    just like bjornbee said they should have gave him the lables just for the error. I can give you a nice exp of this I was sent one case small supers in a order of 10 case of med. When I called the supplier back they gave me option to keep them at 1/2 price so they would not have to pay the shipping back so I did and give them to the local 4-h camp.

    Its all about keeping some one happy.

    The End

    [size="1"][ January 20, 2007, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: Lively Bee's ][/size]

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Post

    lively,
    back up and read the other posts. It wasn't aimed at you.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    I started ordering from Betterbee after meeting Bob Stevens at the 1994 ABF Convention in Norfolk. Still have the can of candle spray I bought that day!

    I too have experianced many of the problems mentioned here. We were on track to order a great deal of supplies from BB but were often getting back ordered or sometimes when back ordered forced to pay higher prices for the same thing in smaller amounts (glycerine for example). The repetitive phone calls were a common thread for us. It took forever to get things shipped. In those early days we spent a couple hundred a year on supplies, currently we spend around $15,000 - $20,000/yr but with Bee Supply Houses other than Better Bee. Much of of it had to do with the attitude we got over the phone. A customer problem is usually minor until the person on the phone gives my wife an attitude. After that you can stick a fork in it because it's all done!

    Having said that, I am a member of their websiteand online ordering and have ordered some items from them over the last couple of years including queen excluders, hive tools, a case of lip balm containers here and there. A couple of years ago we bought 2 drums of HFCS which was picked up there. The online ordering does seem to have streamlined things. You can bet though the next bad attitude on the phone will be the last for us.

    My sense with Better Bee was never one that they did not care but one of a company which could not outrun growing pains. I think their stock, especially for items relating to value added products, is great, possibly the best around. I always thought Bob's input into equipment in his catalog was well researched and very honest. I found it heartening to hear him say something in the catalog was not his favorite. He was just as straight forward to speak with on the phone and really on top of things before his unfortunate illness.

    Good Luck Shane, I expect you'll get the opportunity to get more business from us. I hope you use this thread as an opportunity to improve on a less than 5 star customer relations reputation.

    [size="1"][ January 20, 2007, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: Joel ][/size]

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