Well – here is my answer.
I figured if I was going to explain everything, I should explain everything in great detail.
I am being as transparent as possible. I believe that transparency is the only way to survive in e-commerce. I hope you take the time to read this. I normally do not write this much, but if I am going to get on a soap box, I might as well make a statement.
How We Ship CECB
Early in 2008, we started out double boxing converter boxes. The damaged claims were about the same as what we were used to for boxes that size. Actually, most claims have been and still are for lost or stolen packages. Let me assure you the number is very small. Also, in early 2008, we decided to check out our competitors and purchase from every online company as well (everyone selling online per the NTIA). What we found out was that in almost every case, the online competitor shipped the boxes in original manufacturer boxes. We decided to try those ourselves. What we found out was that the rate of damaged boxes did not increase. I realize that there will be a few of you who feel that since that the package has less protection, the chances for failure over time is higher. Personally, I believe the total shipping distance as well as the shipping hub/route process has more of an impact. The bottom line is that we ship single boxes or orders with multiple boxes of the same size box get shipped in the original manufacturer’s box. Multiple boxes are taped together. Here is what we all get from this process: First, shipping this way keeps costs low which allows us to offer lower prices to customers. Second, shipping this way also gives us the opportunity to “Ship Green” and help the environment as much as possible. Our customers have sent us quite a few emails thanking us. Matter of fact, we have been getting more positive emails about shipping green than we have been getting negative emails about shipping without the double box. Finally, shipping this way helps with getting orders out the door faster. It takes much more time to double box. On many days this year we received many more orders than normal, yet we were able to get all the orders out. Having great people and shipping in original manufacturer boxes truly help make that happen.
We ship thousands of CECB’s a week. Out of these thousands of shipments, 1-2 issues in a week arise from damaged boxes, which is less than the number of issues we have (as a percentage) with the other products that are double boxed or not. Our numbers are lower than the overall problem shipment percentages from FedEx, and these numbers continue to improve as we work very closely with them. We have concluded that there is less chance for damage to a smaller box, as it relates to the relative weight and size of the CECB.
We guarantee all shipments arrive defect-free. We guarantee that you get what you ordered. If that does not happen, then we will fix the problem, period!
Mistakes - We make them!
As automated as we are, we have 45 people who work together and make decisions. Sometimes we make mistakes. We are very proud of what we have accomplished here. We have grown very quickly because of the customer service and technical support that we offer. We try very hard to offer the best service possible. We fix every problem the best we can. Sometimes our best may not be good enough, but I promise you the 45 people we have right now will try!
Mistakes - We learn from them!
We learn from our mistakes. Much of what we do now is based on something that went wrong. For example, FedEx does a much better job with damage issues than UPS did for us. I say “for us” because we have found many other companies that say the opposite. Where we really notice the difference with the service from FedEx is in large, oversized packages. There are not too many companies that ship 15 foot antenna to almost every state, every day. FedEx has helped us do that. Bottom line, we have learned that we have to earn our customers. Having packages arrive on time and working is the only way.
Please call us; please email us. It is always best to communicate with us directly. If you feel we are not listening, then by all means use the forum of your choice. We try to follow the forums, but we miss some threads. Like I said before, we do the best we can. I must admit, it is very hard to follow the forums. People get mad and will only talk about what problem they had. Very rarely does a response like this ever satisfy anyone. There is no way to “win” on a forum. I always try to take into account what I am looking for. If a thread goes too negative, I tend to dismiss it. But that’s me. If the negative posts are from people who clearly want to damage a reputation, I ignore them as well. But that’s me. I also spend more time listening to the people who have a large number of posts – I believe that supporting a forum is very important to the success of that forum. But that’s me. I am always amazed at the amount of time people take to support a forum. I am also amazed at the amount of time people take to bash people or companies on a forum. Maybe I am old fashioned that way. I know that sometimes you may not agree with how we handle everything, but we try. If you need the CECB doubled boxed, call us to place your order and we will let you know if we can accommodate you. On the down side, we may not be able to ship double boxed based on our current order volume. On the other hand, be prepared, you might even get a tech support person making sure you have the right antenna or even looking up your address to let you know what you can expect after the transition. Our people love to go the extra mile.
Converter Box Program
We have been working hard to develop the best retail CECB program online. We have been very successful. Success for us means that we have shipped out hundreds of thousands of converter boxes. Success means that we have hired more people. Success means we have established a good relationship with the NTIA/Government. Success means that for the first time, we had the means to take care of our community. If you think that I am way too high on my soapbox skip the rest of this paragraph. Otherwise here is the detail on that comment: currently, we ship hundreds of converter boxes out every week to nonprofit organizations like nursing homes. We deliver the boxes for the price of the coupon free of shipping. We then work with those communities and groups to help them install and make sure their antennas will work after the transition. This is not a spin on something we do to make money. By the time you add shipping to a CECB, it costs us more than $40. We lose money on this program, but it is the first time we can help people doing what we do best. Today, we helped a Boy Scout complete a project by shipping him 50 CECB’s for a nursing home. This particular young man is going to install each one himself. It’s a great feeling to help people who need something that you can deliver. With great pride, I can say we deliver.
So that’s it. This is our response. Certainly, it is my response. I am pretty sure that the rest of the people I work with everyday feel this way, too. At this point, I figure I have either given everyone more ammo to shoot at us with or hopefully I have helped the people who are angry to relax and let us work with you. If it was more ammo you are looking for, feel free to shoot. That’s what ammo is for. If you have an issue with an order, please call or email. Below are several numbers and email addresses. Please use them. They are on our website. For those of you reading this thread in order to make a purchasing decision, I hope this helps. We do realize that you have a choice. I promise that SolidSignal.com is a great choice. There are 45 people here who put their heart and soul into this business every single day. That’s why we are a growing business in Michigan. Yep, crazy, but true. Growing and Michigan do not seem to go together much these days.
If you happen to be one of our happy customers, thanks again for all the support. Thanks for all the great ideas. For the rest of 2009 and beyond, we have some exciting products and solutions coming to SolidSignal.com.
I can assure all readers that we are constantly evolving. We are constantly focused on growing without losing our focus on our customers. In the last year, we have more than doubled our sales and shipments, but our number of issues/complaints have gone down, thanks to our suppliers like FedEx and our people. Our customer complaints have gone down more than 50% during the last 12 months. We are definitely still evolving; we have to, just to stay in business.
I hope this helps!
Signal Group, LLC
Parent Company of SolidSignal.com
People You Can Contact:
Audrey (248) 479-2227 – Customer Satisfaction Manager; Audrey@solidsignal.com
Mae (248) 479-2229 – General Manager; Mae@solidsignal.com
Jerry (248) 479-2222 – President; Jerry@solidsignal.com
When contacting Jerry - As the President of the company, I will do everything I can to answer the phone and take care of your issues personally. I work very hard every day and I am learning that I cannot do everything. I have a great people to help me get everything done. Rest assured, I will personally get involved with whatever issue you have, but you may get a call back or an email from someone else. I will do the best I can.