I was wondering how to start this blog piece then an email I get most days from a guy called Matthew Thompson dropped into my inbox.
And it perfectly summed up what I need to explain right now.
“Leaks. Leaks only show up when it rains. It’s messy. But at least now you know where the cracks are”
(Here’s the link where you can sign up to Matthew’s emails – I recommend them)
Moving on and keeping with the aquatic theme, Mango Bikes is a bit like the farmer complaining about not enough rain, then too much rain.
The blog title is The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & Thanks.
Here it is in 4 lines with a bit more explanation below………….
- The Good – Mango Bikes is thriving in difficult conditions, customers are trusting what we’re doing and what the brand is about
- The Bad – the build queue has rocketed
- The Ugly – Customer Service levels have been decimated
- Thanks – for being understanding; people genuinely can be more understanding than we expect or deserve
This year was a bit different from the very start when the impact of Covid-19 was starting to become clear.
THE GOOD STUFF
January and February are generally the slowest months of the year. We sit tight, get things in order and prepare for the peak season.
2020 started off pretty well, we were happy with the position Mango Bikes was in but as the weeks progressed things started to become a bit less certain.
Far East supply chains were being impacted but we were in a great position having received stock during January and February.
March started a little bit quieter than we’d expected then the first major European incident happened – Italy shutdown.
Italy is a very important country in our supply chain so things looked just a bit scary then.
Sales ticked over as expected, then towards the end of March, the UK Government declared various measures to control Coronavirus. There was a negative reaction for 1 or 2 days but once assurances were given and support packages announced, things just exploded.
March closed with a few incredible days but they look positively pants compared to what April produced.
Who knows what happens next, but for the last 6 weeks, Mango Bikes was, and still is, in an incredibly fortunate position.
That’s the good stuff in a few sentences.
THE BAD STUFF
Mango Bikes is a small business. We’re happy with that and comfortable in our skin. Our customers like it too.
Sometimes it’s great being the small guy; we react faster, can make decisions quicker and really genuinely care about what we’re doing.
But the flip side is that it’s harder to cope when things go north or south too far and/or too quickly.
Things have gone very far north at a fast rate of knots.
All bikes are built to order. We’re proud of this and it’s an important part of Mango Bikes’ DNA. Read more here.
But in the space of just under 2 weeks, the build queue went from 2-3 days to 5-7 days to over 8 days.
There was a bit of us didn’t believe sales would sustain at the levels they were at, and another part that struggled to figure out what to do.
At a point when social distancing and protecting our staff is so important, it wasn’t just a case of throwing more staff at it.
We had already moved onto random hours to minimise contact with each other and manage home life (schools shut mostly).
New staff have to be recruited and then need time to be trained and understand what Mango Bikes is about.
That’s the bad stuff in a few sentences.
THE UGLY STUFF
It’s not just a bike. It’s not even just the customisation.
Mango Bikes is about delivering a quality experience from start to finish; from landing on-site, designing and ordering a bike through to delivery and first ride.
The processes and systems are there but, as sales got blown sky-high, our Customer Service has been atrocious. Crap. Non-Exisent.
It’s not that we don’t want to maintain the levels but it’s just been physically impossible.
Here’s the bare naked reality of what we’re dealing with; Emily and I are trying to work through queries coming in. In the same time it takes for us to reply to 2 queries another 10+ arrive. And repeat. And all of sudden there’s a mountain.
We** have also not communicated quick enough when things started to back up and build queue grow.
(** We is a Royal We, it’s actually “I”)
That’s the ugly stuff in a few sentences.
Thanks starts with a sorry.
I’m sorry that you’re having to wait longer for your bike than expected and sometimes getting no response to queries.
This is most definitely NOT what Mango Bikes is about.
More staff have been added to the Operations team, we expect to get back on track over the next week.
This has been done as fast as possible but slow enough to maintain distancing measures.
There are also more new recruits coming to help get back to the excellent Customer Service levels we want to achieve and maintain.
Bear with us whilst we get back on form.
But most importantly – THANKS.
You’ve trusted us and trusted Mango Bikes.
When we’ve sent out updates or replied to messages explaining about the delays the responses we’ve got have been totally amazing, so accommodating and way beyond what we deserve.
Thank you so much.
Apologies again that we’ve fallen to pieces but we’re fighting back, learnt some tough lessons and will be better in future.
Mango Bikes // Andrew