James here. Co-founder and CEO at Mash Gang.
Firstly, a massive thank you for spending your time, and your hard earned with us.
At a time when it is difficult for everyone, the hospitality and manufacturing industries, and customers (Anyone fighting the temptation to adjust the thermostat?) helps us keep the lights on. More than that, building something bigger than yourself and the community that goes with it is beyond our wildest dreams when we started.
The end of January marks the end of my first month full time at Mash Gang. Previously I have been steering things in the background whilst working a day job, meaning a lot of late nights in the name of survival…until now.
With that, the team and I have been focusing on landing as many cans in hands as possible during January, which has not been without its challenges, some of which I have highlighted below.
With explosive growth, comes a greater number of issues.
By nature of the fact that we send more beer out, even with damage/failure rates at 3%, some of you will have experienced a problem.
Sometimes, despite doubling, then quadrupling our output, we still just can’t make enough beer. More on that later.
My first port of call was to look at how our operational systems work together. The more we can automate, improve reporting, improve customer service response times and generally get everything used to run the business “playing nicely” together, the better we can serve you, our customers.
I will do another post for the technically minded (or simply curious) folk on how we operate the business functionally (processes, software and systems) at a later date.
We found that well ahead of our target timeline, we were outstripping the resources available at the brewery to pack, and ship your beer.
So instead of taking the Christmas period off, we set about finding a 3rd party logistics provider that can help us to build the service level that consumers have come to expect.
In spite of a few teething issues, we are now firmly back on top of the service level and can begin to focus our attention on customer experience.
Every month will mark a new area of improvement within the business which we focus on to drive value for you, our customers.
In February, we are shifting our focus towards improving the end-to-end customer experience.
It is a critical part of any business, but it's especially important for a consumer brand.
There are three key pillars:
- Ensuring that the product is high quality and exceeds expectations
We have focused on relentlessly innovating in pursuit of what we believe are the best NOLO beers out there. You can expect more of the same here.
- Creating a positive and engaging customer experience across all touchpoints.
A positive customer experience from the moment you engage with us can turn a one-time customer into a lifelong fan, and it means you get a little bit more magic when you receive your cans.
- Making sure that your customer service is responsive, helpful and proactive.
Sometimes things go wrong. We want to ensure that any issues are resolved, promptly, in a personable and motivated manner, and with our policy of over-delivering when things don’t meet your expectations.
The main areas that we will be focusing on are:
All round improvements to the look, feel, and behaviour of the website.
An evolution from functional into delightful.
As well as the general appearance, product listings will become more informative and useful in helping you choose beer styles that you love.
Introduction of a “build-your-own” mixed pack so that you can buy a selection of whatever you like.
Information on stock levels, so that you don’t miss out.
More useful confirmation emails on what to do next (tracking, help and support with your order)
Love the products? tell the community about them (socials, discord)
Don’t love the products, or have a problem? tell us (dedicated, priority customer help with order problems via firstname.lastname@example.org).
Improved packaging to mitigate what we have affectionately dubbed “violent transportation”. We can’t guarantee that the delivery networks will treat your beers with the same care that we and our partners will, but we are working with a packaging specialist and investing in more robust, functional boxes to offer greater levels of protection.
Improved product experience. We want you to be excited by your delivery, which means better branding, information, and “surprises”.
Help and support
With the introduction of a dedicated customer support system and more of the team on hand, we are able to manage requests quickly without losing the DNA of a personal customer service tream.
I want to take the opportunity to thank every single one of you for your support. We never imagined that w would be in the fortunate position of doing what we love, and you joining us for the insane journey.
January was our record-breaking month (far exceeding forecast), but we aren’t ones to rest on our laurels, and we have you to thank for helping us get to where we are.
February will see us working harder than ever for you, more improvements, more great beer, more fun.
Once March is on the horizon, I will provide an update on what we have done and the roadmap for what we are doing next...stay tuned, do not adjust your set.