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  1. #21
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    I agree with Dan.
    I think most are glad to have you as a customer and want to supply a quality product. Who knows, you may order 500 next year. Or know someone else that will.

    But, if you want to chit chat, the best time is before their busy time arrives.
    In the summer, John sometimes isn't even in from the bee yards til after 9, and we are WAY smaller than some of the big outfits.
    We are more than happy to talk bees and micro diagnose the hobbyists 1 or 2 colonies in the winter, but once the bees get back from California it is tough to take that kind of time as much as we would like. It comes down to questions like "Do I spend half an hour explaining something to this guy who could look it up just as easy on the internet" (I do refer to beesource!) or "do I go feed that load of 512 that just hit the ground from California and are on the brink of starving?" Ya know what the answer to that is.
    Sheri

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
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    726

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    A quick phone call or email letting the customer know the queens have shipped is a simple, inexpensive thing to do and good customer service. The time to package the queen takes more than the 1 minute such a call takes. If your volume is so large (most of us can only dream), then use one of the automated phone services that run at 12 cents per call or less (with no setup or monthly fees).

    -Tim

  3. #23
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    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    All I can say is from my experiance, which I learned at the hotels.

    My establishment has been open since 1970. Since then, there was been 15-20 restaurants that have opened and closed around us. People know, whoever they are, we are glad to service them like they are the only ones in the room. When $hit hits the fan, the Chef and managers are on the floor helping out.

    A crying kid? No problem... grilled cheese sandwhich made to look like a fishy really makes them happy. Want holllondaise sauce with the steak? No problem, we will make a small batch.

    Sheri and Dan, we will never agree. It is good to have people like ya all to "represent" folk on in large busineses. And nice to have pain the butts like me to represent smaller folk. But to be honest, negelct to the smaller folks is the exact reason why customer service as gone to ****.

    We will never agree. I am a Chef. I try to keep the restaurant afloat by giving customers outstanding service. It is not hard and the thanks people give you is enouromous.

    People close down because the word "no" is used to much.

    Remember this key key key factor.... EVERYONE has a voice. Give a bad customer service experiance to someone and they will pass it on to ten other people. Rememebr that!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  4. #24
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
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    I understand the sediment that the 'higher profit' customer gets the most attention, but you can't ignore the small guys. They may be your big customer tomorrow, and have more voices and often the time to use it. Don't discount the influence of the small guy.

    Case in point...My wife's business is small and her advertising budget outside of newspaper advertising is small potatoes. But she's active on many chamber of commerce groups and committees with many of the big companies in the area. This has not worked out well for the radio station that treated her horribly, but has resulted in many new clients for the TV station who treats her well.

    I guess my point is, you shouldn't base too much on the size of a customer, you just can't predict what influence they can really have on your bottom line.

    -Tim

  5. #25
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Well, I never envisioned myself as a spokesperson for big business, lol. Maybe I should ring up Ivana for lunch. Dan, you want to join us? Maybe we can take the Lear to this fine place in Seattle I've heard of.....

    Seriously, with any business, I think clear communication and understanding of expectations and then fullfilling those expectations is important. Hopefully you get what you think you paid for.
    I don't think even you, Chef, would expect McDonalds to cut a sandwich in the shape of a fish, or mix up a batch of Hollandaise sauce. (I am laughing at that imagery)
    Your restaurant goes the extra mile. I would imagine, though, that for your superior service you charge a premium. I know there IS no free lunch ( ok, pun intended).

    In business you can only choose two of the following......
    ................GOOD.................QUICK........ ........CHEAP
    Oversimplified a bit, granted, but the principle remains. If the OP wants personalized service, or I want Hollandaise mixed to order, we need to go to places that cater to that clientele, pay the premium and leave McDonalds to deal with the masses.
    Sheri

  6. #26
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    Jul 2004
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    Funny thing is that we are NOT high priced. We have one simple belief which is when serving a customer, they are the only ones in the room. That is why we have been in business for so long.

    So, when you call for queens, one should ask: are you good? are you cheap? are you quick? Come on!

    Simply put, if you cant give great customer service because you are too busy then you have grown too much without thinking about the back support end of things.

    Tim is right.

    So Sheri, you are saying that the beekeeper paying for 500 queens is more important then the guy paying for three? That is like saying I only serve white people first because, according to some study, they have more money.

    Why pay less attention to the small beekeeper? Just curious (and with all do respect), do you do this with people who buy honey from you?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  7. #27
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    Jul 2004
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    Not to get on the soap box but sometimes I feel that not enough small beekeepers speak up. And I am not just saying beekeepers but the overall consumer.

    Someday, putting the smaller guy behind the bigger guy will come back and bite people in the butt. We too have a voice and to be frank, it can be more powerful then the big boys. Dont forget, hobby beekeepers out number!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  8. #28
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    So Sheri, you are saying that the beekeeper paying for 500 queens is more important then the guy paying for three?
    Did I say that? I don't think so. What I said was
    "it is understandable (I didn't say justified) that a small order phone call slip his mind."
    "this queen shipper should have called, he inconvenienced the OP mightily, and I would be angry too, under the circumstances."

    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    ....Just curious (and with all do respect), do you do this with people who buy honey from you?
    Do I do WHAT????? My customers are quite happy, thank you, even the lady that came and only bought 2)2# jars today. I walked out to the shop through the snow just for her. Is that customer service good enough for your critical eye? Shall I give you her phone number so you can check?
    Really, Isaac, I am quite offended by your question and your tone. Obviously you are missing my points. Sorry, I am being as clear as I possibly can be.

    {Aside to Dan and Ivana....let's forget that place in Seattle, I hear the waiters are rude.}
    Sheri

  9. #29
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hanford Ca
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    Sometimes stuff happens but yet you can never forget to help the little person. Just like the restraunt thing. What if that one person sitting there that ordered the salad and soup was yet a mystery shopper or the Zagget guy or the food critic and the service you give or dont give will come back to bite you in the butt or will be there to reward you with greatness. You can never over look the small order either. As that small order might be a test order to see how well things went and to test how well the queens did and how fast shipping took and how well customer service went. If everything went well then that person next week or a month later orders 1000 queens and also tells his 3 partners who then orders each 500 queens. You can never leave the small person out as they might be your saving grace the next time. They might also turn out to be one of the biggest outfits but was hiding under a smaller person just to see how well things went. I guess what I am saying is if you allways treat everyone as equals then you will never offend anyone and you will always have a customer for life. And a reputation of outstanding status and you will over sell ten fold.


    Angi
    who yes has done alot of mystery shopping and yes it does effect a stores reputation

  10. #30
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    Jul 2004
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    Sheri:

    I think I was not clear either. I am not talking to you directly but rather to the open discusion of the topic.

    My point, overall, is that, just like in the restaurant business, there is not gobs of money in beekeeping so ANY sale is a sale, regardless if it is 1 queen, 1 pound of honey or 1000 queens or 1 barrel of honey.

    Not talking to anyone directly, but it pisses me off that the small guy gets shafted by bigger guys. It is all a bunch of crap. A sale is a sale.

    Angi: One thing that the Bee journals have been lacking is a mystery shopper. I would love to see this happen, especially with queens.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  11. #31
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Chef, first you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    So Sheri, you are saying that the beekeeper paying for 500 queens is more important then the guy paying for three? ...
    Why pay less attention to the small beekeeper? Just curious (and with all do respect), do you do this with people who buy honey from you?
    Now you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    Sheri:
    ..... I am not talking to you directly but rather to the open discusion of the topic.
    Please excuse my confusion. Usually when someone puts my name in front of the comment I consider myself addressed directly.

    edit***Chef's jab at me and some others on this post who try to shed a little light on how business works is a typical knee jerk "kill the messenger" reaction. I merely try to convey, from my experience, how the beekeeping business world works, which is opposed to how he wants it to work. Businesses look after their own best interests, as well they should, and that is defined differently by different businesses. If you don't like one particular business's policies, or a business doesn't satisfy your needs look for one that does. Period! All the thunder and fury any of us can expound will not change the order of the universe.
    I know this will be perceived by Isaac as an endorsement, (what more can I do?lol), far from it.
    Sheri
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 04-05-2008 at 11:45 AM.

  12. #32
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    First, I would like to appologize for what I said to Sheri.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  13. #33
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    I did not take it as me making a jab at anyone and if I did, or was preceived that I did, I am sorry.

    On a side note, I am a firm believer that business succeed or fail by who they decide is more of an important customer. Thsi is only my belief. I know how big operations run (outside of beekeeping but same rules of business apply). I do think that the statues quo does have a serious problem with customer service. Peopel can argue the subject but look around, businesses close just on that matter.

    Again, I apologize to Sheri and Dan.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  14. #34
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Chef,
    Apology accepted. I understand your comments come from frustration.
    Sheri

  15. #35
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    Jul 2004
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    It just pisses me off that the small guys get pushed aside by bigger orders.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  16. #36
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    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Phew! I love the passion here. One thing I do know. Chef....John and Sheri, you are still in business largely due to how strongly you feel and not because you can push someone else out of your competitive arena or spend a ton of money marketing an image that's empty of service or quality product. I actually think you're both saying the same thing in a different way. Your businesses need good customers. Those customers deserve business owners that make great decisions. Since all of you care enough to take the time and discuss this, it sounds to me like I'd be a fool to think that any of you were less than the best. So, I'll thank you all for the spirited perspectives and look forward to breaking bread and talking bees with you someday!

    Just had to say what I felt.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  17. #37
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    spirited perspectives is a great way to put it. I try not to get on the soap box too much! Tends to offend people1
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  18. #38
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    May 2007
    Location
    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angi_H View Post
    Angi
    who yes has done alot of mystery shopping and yes it does effect a stores reputation
    My wife and I have also performed numerous - hundreds- of secret shopping excursions - as restaurant patrons, retail and service operations. And, let me tell you, it opened many owner's eyes. The firm my wife worked for also developed training programs to increase customer service. Customer service was so overlooked at some firms that when they went through a complete overhaul in the way the customer was handled from in the door sales through to after the sale follow-up calls, sales for all establishments at least doubled, and often tripled from before the training.

    My wife now manages for a national retail establishment. And, you never know who/when someone is secret shopping the store. They have to be on the ball all of the time - busy or not busy, even when short-staffed. Their store's customer service rating is the best in the district, and near the top in the region, with sales surpassing all expectations for a relatively new store. The reason? Customer service!

    MM

  19. #39
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    Feel great to hear that. So many business have bad customer service.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  20. #40
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hanford Ca
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    Sorry if the Mystery Shpper was a bad rep of what I was trying to get at. What I mean is you never know exactally who your customer is just because they are placing a small order and you have never herd from them dosnt mean they are not a big business just out there checking to see how thing are and how the quality is first. I know there are places here locally that I have mystery shopped at that I will never go again even though it was the first time I was there when I did that shop. One because they were either rude or the place was as dirty as all get out and the food was bad. Or they were dirty and rude and would not help me find the product I was supposed to check to make sure they had and would help me with. All it takes is that one person who does mystery shopping for a living or who does word of mouth advertising to make a company fall apart these days. With blogs and online forums words spread fast now a days. Just sorry if what I had used as an example was not right it was the only way I could think of to explain what I was feeling.


    Angi

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