Delicious Fresh Coffee - Guaranteed
June 23, 2021

Delicious Fresh Coffee - Guaranteed

Why we are formalising our service guarantee

While we strive to offer all S&T customers and community members great service and delicious, fresh coffee. We know we don’t get it right every time. So we felt it was time to formalise a practice we have employed since we started Spiller & Tait, way back in 2014! And that is why we are introducing a Satisfaction Guarantee promise.

Times are hard for most businesses, including those of us in e-commerce. Despite the success stories in the press about the fast growth of on-line stores as part of the shift of consumer habits to on-line shopping during the pandemic. Many of us are experiencing challenges that, at times, seem insurmountable. These might be derived partly from our rapid growth -Spiller & Tait for instance has more than doubled in size in terms of turnover in the past 12 months. But the challenges are also as a result of compromised supply and distribution channels as a result of BREXIT and the pandemic. The challenges include:

Shortages of Boxes and Packaging - for much of the last year we have struggled to get our hands on boxes . There is a global shortage of cardboard and very few e-commerce businesses have been immune to this challenge. Which is why many of our postage box sizes have changed and occasionally deliveries have been delayed until boxes have arrived. At the moment, as well as ongoing challenges sourcing boxes, we are struggling to get labels for our coffee bags. So, we are considering a change to our packaging to reduce our need for labels, which is no bad thing anyway.

Delivery Delays - our distribution partners, DPD, Royal Mail and Amazon, have all been struggling with backlogs in their distribution centres due mainly to exceptionally high demand. In some cases, it’s due to shortages of drivers. Some parcels are being held up for over a week as a result. Others are being delivered to the wrong address before finding the right home.

Poor Delivery Tracking - all of our distribution partners have been implementing new software tools to help deal with the increasing pressure put on them. As is often the case with new software, there are teething problems and one of the most difficult for us to deal with has been errors with tracking numbers for customer parcels.

Staffing Shortages - Spiller & Tait has two employees, Simon and David. So we can’t complain about our staffing issues! But, we have an extensive team of partner organisations, small and large, who help us with our roasting, fulfilment and digital marketing. These partners have been struggling to attract and retain staff since BREXIT, despite the fact that most of them pay well and offer good employment terms and conditions. These shortages have sometimes led to delays in roasting and fulfilment, plus occasional 'pick n pack' errors which means you might receive the wrong coffee or coffee that is slightly older than it should be.

Roasting Backlogs due to High Demand - sometimes we do struggle to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for our coffee. Orders that build up over weekends can be a particular challenge, especially as we aim to roast each week so your coffee is fresh. We are not in a position to roast over weekends, and we not sure we ever want to do that. So sometimes the backlog of orders will take longer than normal to get through. On other occasions this year we have been overwhelmed by the customer response to an e-mailed promotion sent to our community and caught off-guard by the high demand.

Roasting Errors - with more people involved in helping to roast our coffee, the likelihood of an error during the roasting process increases. This is something we are very focused on avoiding, but it does happen occasionally. Slight variations in the flavour of a natural product are not unusual, but if you experience significant variation, especially a burnt edge, this might be due to a roasting error. Or, because your packaging has split in transit or there’s a problem with the bag valve and the coffee has been exposed to oxygen (read more here).

Many of you might say these are good problems to have, derived from high demand and fast growth. And we agree. But, what we don’t like is when the problems impact on our ability to consistently deliver you delicious fresh coffee.

Like many other businesses, we are hoping these problems will be resolved in the long-term as our economy, workforce and businesses adapt to new realities. But, in the short-term and while we work to solve any problems in our control, we are mindful of the impact these difficulties might occasionally have on our customers. Which is why we are formalising our Satisfaction Guarantee.

Our guarantee is quite simple and derived from the our desire to offer old fashioned service (as described in our What Makes Us Different page). If you are not happy with any aspect of the service you receive, please contact us and we will make good. We have been doing this since we started Spiller & Tait in 2014.

David takes most of our customer service enquiries, via e-mail, our website or by phone and he is very committed to this role. Customers often receive e-mails at strange times of day and at weekends and he goes out of his way to resolve problems or provide updates on orders. So, don’t hesitate to contact us if you experience any service, or coffee quality issues. Or, indeed. if you have questions about making delicious fresh coffee. David always responds and normally very quickly.

We try not to makes excuses for poor service, when it does happen. We focus on doing our best to resolve any issues as quickly and painlessly as possible. At this time of unprecedented change, we just thought it important to make it clear that we are committed to guaranteeing your satisfaction.

Please do tell us how we are doing with our Satisfaction Guarantee in the notes below. And, if you’ve received e-mails from David at unusual times of day, tell us about those experiences!