But the past few weeks, my inbox hasn’t been such a happy place. And rightfully so. I debated writing this post because I didn’t want to admit the problems we’ve been facing and the hurdles that unfortunately most small businesses are faced with.
No, I want you all to think that my workflow, my products and my brand is perfect. Graceful AND perfect.
Unfortunately this time around it hasn’t been perfect. The response to the Simplified Planner was astronomical. Amazing, really. And well, too amazing I suppose. The production of the first batch of Simplified Planners before the holidays was seamless, but as New Years rolled around and interest in planning for 2012 picked up, so did the orders. The custom nature of each planner, paired with the sheer volume of the second batch matched with a complex production process for each part of the planner has made for multiple delays.
I’ve had such a heavy heart because so many sweet customers have graciously emailed me to check the status of their order so many times. And these puzzle pieces, outside of my control, have left many disappointed that their planners are yet to be received (soon, very soon).
But facing this situation (and really in the middle of it right now) I froze. I’ve never had disappointed customers before. And here I was facing lots and lots of them. I’ve also never sold that many orders in that amount of time.
I wanted to fix the problem, to make it right somehow. But I couldn’t. I don’t put the planners together myself and get them out the door. And the company who does was doing everything in their power to orchestrate many, many moving parts and also deliver a wonderful customer experience.
But sometimes things happen. And this was one of those times.
As I tried to dream up fancy ways to rectify the situation and make everyone happy again, it suddenly dawned on me that all I could do… was be my best, authentic, genuine self and respond to these customers the way the “Emily Ley” brand would… with genuine sincerity and personal attention. So yesterday I sat down with my best stationery, my favorite gold seals and specially-made gourmet lollipops to address each client with my most wholehearted thanks and apology… in hopes that this little treat might make the wait just a little “sweeter.”
Now as I cross my fingers and toes and wait for the next batch to arrive on doorsteps across the nation, I have to reflect on what I’ve learned through this hard experience. I’ll need to do some prior planning to prepare for production of next year’s (wonderfully, but complicatedly) high volume of planner orders. I’ve also learned, from the responses I’ve gotten from these sweet clients that a little note of personal thanks goes a long way. And I’m even further convinced that client experience is everything.
I’ll be honest, this post was no fun to write. I’d much rather write and tell you how amazing the planners are (oh they are!) and about the number we sold (my goodness, just look at the number of sweet notes here) and the rave reviews that have poured in. That would be much more fun. But I learned more from falling on my face a bit than I did from watching the orders fill my inbox. And I decided that in the end, grace won over perfection, even when I really, really, really wanted it to be perfect. Grace still wins.
For everyone who is reading this who is on my ginormous list of buyers within the second batch, thank you so very much for bearing with me. Your beautiful planner will be on your doorstep definitely before next Thursday but likely before Monday. If you have any questions about your order, please email me personally at email@example.com/blog. Thank you for your patience, for checking in and for being so excited about a product I’m so proud of.