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what do you guys think?


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#1
johnmaloney

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Do we need phone service?

Personally, I like to answer almost all the emails that come in, but I can't be in one spot all day to answer phones unfortunately, so if we offered the phone service I would have to hire someone....meaning it would have to pay for itself. I don't think additional orders will cover the difference, so it may result in higher prices, or a phone service fee that I think people would reject. I have debated it for awhile, what do you think?

#2
Thornchase

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You respond very quickly via email... no need for a phone
IMO :)

Edited by Thornchase, 07 March 2012 - 09:37 AM.

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#3
awpong

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Your respond very quickly via email... no need for a phone
IMO :)


This.

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#4
JoelRHale

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Do we need phone service?

Personally, I like to answer almost all the emails that come in, but I can't be in one spot all day to answer phones unfortunately, so if we offered the phone service I would have to hire someone....meaning it would have to pay for itself. I don't think additional orders will cover the difference, so it may result in higher prices, or a phone service fee that I think people would reject. I have debated it for awhile, what do you think?

The reason I did not order from you was due to a lack of communication but I also see how many people love your site and your products and it's really hard to find a bad review.

With you success rate I don't think it would make that much sense to add a phone service.

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#5
ajmckay

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E-mail is nice, but as business volume increase the e-mails will too... So I would say that eventually a phone service would be nice, though from a business perspective I wouldn't implement it until absolutely necessary and the business volume is at a level sufficient to hire someone. You could also have them do other things though like answer e-mails and also print packing slips, pack boxes, do your bookkeeping, get your dry cleaning, etc. which offsets the time you have to spend on those things, and you can devote more time to marketing, filling orders, etc...

Just my .02

#6
miniwhinny

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I'd rather you keep prices where they are and stay with the emails. You're responses were very prompt when I ordered and had a question or two.

Your the best!

:D

#7
Criley7

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Do some cheap/free advertising to get more sales to pay for the phone service. In the end it would build business all around. Or you can use your cell phone as phone service?

Edited by Criley7, 07 March 2012 - 10:23 AM.

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#8
cbandotho

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John, I would certainly wait until it can pay for itself. If you can save enough of your time, as mentioned above, then it may be worth it to spend more time growing the business...if that is what you want.

I have ordered from you a number of times over the years and your communication and handling of problems has always been excellent. When I found out you were a "one man show" then I was even more impressed. I think it also changes expectations when people realize you work alone. If you are on vacation or take a few days to get back to me it doesn't bother me.

I bring that up to say, adding a phone line and expanding could / will change expectations. People could feel like they should be able to get in touch with you right away and be frustrated more quickly.

With that said, your customer service and product are still superior and I would pay the extra (within reason :) to support your business.

Not sure that is even worth .02 cents but there you go.

#9
johnmaloney

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Thanks all, I figured I would wait to respond.

I am either driving, in a car or diving most days. I don't like to talk on cell phones in cars, I am a bit paranoid on the road to be honest, and I like to concentrate on my back seat driving in between mobile emails. :) I think we will wait to add it later as we grow and I need some email help I think or a bigger warehouse where they can float back and forth helping the rest of us. It would be easier if shipping days didnt have such a small window to fill orders in. The earliest I feel comfortable packing animals is 9am, so the day is kind of shot sometimes for things other than the shipment.

One man show no more :) I have an NR member working with me now, (not that he is active on the forums anymore, but martinreefer I think was his screen name I call him Aaron), both of my brothers, (got the youngest one now that is he 18, and was successful at luring my other brother back from the "real world" :) ), Jeff who has been with us for the last two years and packages 80% of the orders, my girlfriend Katherine helps part time, and Ryan who closes boxes.

#10
NancyC

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As your business grows, you will want to add a phone service I'd imagine. Agree with the suggestion that this phone service person could also answer the more routine emails and do other things as well. I have a new tank and will be buying stuff from you when I get it up and running. I don't personally care whether you have a phone or not as long as you respond to emails in a timely manner. When your business gets to big to answer all the emails within 24-48 hours and still have time to do all the rest, that's when it's time to hire someone. Look forward to doing business with you.

#11
indyjaco

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I don't mind email at all. If anything put a clause on your website about this letting potential customers know. Your reviews on here should be able to close any sale regardless of a phone number or not.

I'm about to place my second order tonight.

125 Reef on the way.

 

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#12
matty0206

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When I ordered from you a few years ago the service was great. You answered several emails very quickly. I prefer emails over phone calls myself. If there is any problems emails are a good backup when the he-said she-said starts. You could also set specific hours for phone orders and utilize someone you already have to take them.

#13
krackerjacksna

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Once your business does grow, you can write off cell phone on your taxes, and use it for personal use as well, double bonus as owner. But bottom line, don't spend money that isn't there

#14
Houdini

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You don't need phone service. The way you do business is perfect. If you did go that route and you did raise prices a bit I certainly would not complain. By the way the rocks you sent me were absolutely perfect for my Nuvo 16. Soon I'll be ordering my CUC.

#15
Lawnman

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Your prices could go up 10-20% and your customers would still get a great deal.

#16
metrokat

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Not sure what a phone service would do? take messages or help a customer with an order?
If the former, get an answering machine, return calls after USPS deadlines.
If the latter, well with the family and additional people pitching in, surely someone can answer and address customer service issues? The disconnect would occur when you get an email about something, then the customer calls and whoever picks up doesn't know about the email.

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Your tank is sickening, I want to shrink, swim into it and climb.


#17
Lawnman

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I agree kat. No need for a phone service. But if it comes to that a little price bump from his prices would still be a steal I mean deal.

#18
johnmaloney

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would still be a steal I mean deal.


Will remember to keep an eye on this one ^ :P

#19
mbonus

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You don't have phone service? I remember talking to you when I got my first order of Cheato and wasn't expecting the really thin hybrid stuff. Must have been telepathy. :)

Full time phone service is not necessary for this customer.

#20
johnmaloney

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You can luck out and catch me at the office sometimes, I meant a dedicated service.

#21
Unclemoe

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I agree with everyone so far keep it email mainly if you go phone service too early and miss a few calls give people more of a reason to #####.....

#22
kevin_f

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Not needed.

#23
johnmaloney

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where is that avatar from? monty python right? It has us scratching our heads around here.

Thanks for the input! I think we will stick with the current setup until we are ready like suggested, it makes sense.

#24
metrokat

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John, you should think about coming on my Nano Reef radio show and talk about snails and your counting skills. Would be hilarious. Here's a link to the first show.

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Your tank is sickening, I want to shrink, swim into it and climb.


#25
asting

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Don't change a thing.