01.01.2012

Online Shop Statement

Just wanted to give you guys an update on the online shop. As we stated in our year end video review (above) we are ashamed and embarrassed as to how bad the service has been. As we have let many of your guys down, I just wanted to go through the whole saga with you.

In September we took the decision to outsource the fulfilment of the online shop to our friends at My Brewery Tap who specialise in online beer sales and fulfilment. As we struggled to get to grips with the growing volumes going through our online shop our lack of experience in dealing with couriers and small parcel logistics were all too apparent. So we decided to use the experience of My Brewery Tap to help us provide a better delivery service and better customer service. We felt this was a better solution that one of our brewers packing the online boxes on his tea break.

Online Shop Customer Service

Dan at the MBT HQ.

However it has not went well, as I am sure many of you guys can testify. You are all valued customers and we realise how much you have been let down through all this.

We let My Brewery Tap handle our fulfilment just as they were going through some organisational changes. The changes did not work out well.

The first disaster was Yodel. Perhaps the most pathetic excuse for a courier on the planet. Shipments were lost, left in gardens, hidden in sheds, stolen from or damaged more frequently than they were delivered. This put a huge pressure on Dan and Craig (who provide the customer service) and they have never really been able to recover from this and despite the fact we have changed courier have still been dealing with the legacy issues of Yodel’s incompetence. However we also accept the blame here- we chose My Brewery Tap who chose Yodel. We are not trying to pass the buck, only explain the situation.

yodel_540

The nice vans are just for their press photos.

For just how bad Yodel are check out http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/yodel.co.uk We learned the lesson here the hard way and it was you guys who suffered.

1expect_540

The second disaster was Expect. From their shiny, glossy warehouse Expect managed to provide the most terrible picking and packing service imaginable. Despite being experienced fulfilment professionals they mis-picked orders more often than they put the correct items in the box and caused a whole host of issues. Again this was My Brewery Tap’s choice. But we chose My Brewery Tap.

2expect_540

Expect Dedication? Erm, no.

Furthermore we had loads of new Equity Punks shareholders using their new discount codes at the same time as loads of people were buying beer for the Christmas period, combined with the launch of the prototypes meaning we had an unprecedented order volume through early December and My Brewery Tap, as I am sure you are aware, simply could not cope.

They are meant to provide full customer service through a dedicated helpline and through Dan and Craig’s email addresses. However the response time and lack of response from customer service has been abysmal. Many customers not getting through on the phone and emails not being responded to for over 2 weeks if at all.

The lack of customer service recently and the issues with orders came from a vicious spiral started by Yodel and the issues they created, exaggerated by Expect’s incompetence and completely compounded by the early December order volume which caught My Brewery Tap out.

To be honest the whole team at BrewDog feel very let down by My Brewery Tap and they have fallen a million miles short from the standards they promised us when we entered into the agreement. However we have also been heartened by their resolve to work through the issues and put a new structure in place for 2012.

So, we are now fully set up in the new warehouse which will be completely run by My Brewery Tap staff. Rather than using Expect to pack the boxes there will now be My Brewery Tap staff directly packing the boxes. We are now also fully set up with our new courier, UK Mail who are proving much more reliable than Yodel. We also now have a new email management system which should make it easier for multiple customer service operators to respond to customer service and order queries quicker. And a much better service should reduce incoming emails to a manageable level.

We realise how bad it has been and we are pretty devastated about the level of service that people who want to buy our beer with their hard earned money have been given. I (James) am visiting the new warehouse this week plus we have a new person starting with us in 10 days time who will also be working on the online shop from the BrewDog side and helping ensure the quality of service provided by My Brewery Tap is where it needs to be throughout 2012.

1bbuckz_540

Anyone who has been affected by the poor service in November or December then please send an email to me james(at)brewdog.com with your order number, order date and a brief overview of the issues with your order. Please also include your postal address and as an apology I will send you a £10 beer bucks voucher that can be used in any of our BrewDog Bars.

Making the online shop customer service awesome is our New Year's resolution.

Posted in - brewdog-news

Comments

  • Despite assurances, my order placed on 14/12/2011 has still not arrived.
    James, your response to the criticism about the £10 bar voucher is ,I think at best misjudged on your part and at worse insulting. A voucher towards the next online order would have been more appropriate. I guess however that the scale of the disgraceful service is such that you couldn't afford to do that. Instead, you have of course recognised that most people will not be in a position to actually get to a brewdog bar to redeem the voucher. Cynical or what!
    John E06.01.2012
  • woo too my order arrived today, 3 days after sending a mail to James but 6 weeks late, here's an idea James, give up the day job and run the online shop?

    Look forward to getting my Beer Bucks in the post soon?

    Stephen
    steve.b6706.01.2012
  • Still waiting here too. Had enough now, going to file a refund request through PayPal.

    I guess 'the problems are now sorted' really means 'we're in the process of sorting them'.
    McPhee06.01.2012
  • wtf is going on, even after this post and numerous emails I still haven't had a reply, never ordering around christmas again, even asking for a refund gets no reply
    M05.01.2012
  • james, i was just wondering if you got my email and when i would roughly expect a reply. i know you have a lot to get through but im sure you are aware there are a lot of frustrated people out here still waiting for their beer they ordered what seems like an age ago. cheers
    TrickyDicky05.01.2012
  • Placed an order in early December to be delivered in Cornwall. Was delivered quickly and with correct contents in perfect condition. Spot on Brew Dog... thanks
    Andy P04.01.2012
  • Tut Tut BrewDog.

    Quite clearly only some sort of Human (or canine) sacrifice will make-up for this epic fail. You bad, bad people. How dare you.

    When the Christmas gifts I ordered from Amazon didn't turn up I emailed their CEO and received not only a personal apology the same day, but also a singing E-card and a photo of him in his Christmas Jumper. Now there's a company boss who knows how to grow a business.

    Like McPhee, I'm offended by this blog. Do you think you can post a public apology, explain what went wrong and outline a strategy to put things right without consequences?!? Of course not! We're outraged! We're typing aggressively, pounding the keys of our unsuspecting keyboards whilst being morally offended by your apparent assumption that honesty and transparency, all be it somewhat belatedly, are acceptable actions for a public company.

    Grow up BrewDog. We all know that when big companies balls up they instigate a cover-up plan; hire a PR firm to mask the failure, NEVER accept the failures as their own doing and certainly don't give away free beer to affected customers.

    Embrace the Dark Side. You're never going to take on In-Bev if you carry on like this...
    McGrump04.01.2012
  • totally agree with last comment , if i was running your online shop and came across the problems that were amounting. i would of immediately issued a statement and suspended online orders until i got it sorted. when exactly did you realise that online orders were never going to be fulfilled ?.
    mico131404.01.2012
  • Really poor showing to be honest. Thanks for the explanation, but pinning the blame on MyBreweryTap and then going on to say you'll continue to use them isn't exactly sowing the seeds of confidence in your company. For those of us that have gone a month or more without the beer that we have ordered, that have been emailing/phoning daily without answer, that have attempted to contact yourself and Martin, again without response; to us, this whole blog post is a slap in the face. I have spent a silly amount of time chasing my order up. I have taken time off work to wait on a delivery that never came. I, like many BrewDog customers, have been kept in the dark. Where was this apology when you first knew there was a problem? A quick blog post early in December apologising for delays is all that was needed. Updates. If we knew what was going on, we could have made alternative arrangements instead of popping in to Sainsbury's at 4pm on Xmas/New Years eve to bolster the beer supply.

    Does a grovelling apology, weeks late, and a £10 voucher for your bars make up for the time, money and effort wasted over your company's incompetent costumer service (during this period)? Is it going to put things right with the customers that you have let down? I can't speak for others, but it doesn't repair my trust in you. That was my first and last online order for the foreseeable future.
    McPhee04.01.2012
  • I agree with Gord. Bring it in-house asap. The online shop is too important a part of the business to be sub-contracted out. Build a warehouse at the new brewery site, employ some staff and do it yourselves.
    Fanboy Puppy Lover03.01.2012
  • Wow.

    "Here's a crippled tenner for your trouble, I know it's useless to you but you can give it to a friend or spend more than a tenner getting to a bar to give us more money"
    Finlay03.01.2012
  • @mico - got it. Got a few to work through :)

    If the nearest bar is 100 miles away either gift them to a friend or wait until you visit the bar - the beer bucks have 12 months to be used.

    James, BrewDog03.01.2012
  • hi james sent you my details about my order on 19/11/11 no delivery, as requested. did you get it ? seems you only respond to comments on your blog, no point in sending me 10bucks voucher, as your nearest bar is over 100 miles away.
    mico131403.01.2012
  • Finlay - you would get over 5 halfs with it.

    Appreciate the comment though.
    James, BrewDog03.01.2012
  • "Our partners are mean and they ruined everything, not our fault not our fault, here's a crippled tenner you can only spend in our bar -- you might even be able to get a half with it"
    Finlay03.01.2012
  • are the prototype orders still being honored or are there none left?
    TheBunnet02.01.2012
  • Many thanks for the honest update. I placed quite a few orders in November and December and fortunately all arrived pretty quickly except the last just before Christmas. The only issue I found was the shop customer service line where I guess people are often too busy to answer. After 4 days of trying I eventually got through and all sorted (no reply to my email though to date). Ukmail left no attempted delivery card... Anyway: Best tip ever- if you enter your Brewdog order number as the reference number on ukmail.com you can track your order! If this was in the FAQ section it would've saved me loads of time. Keep up the great work.
    acday02.01.2012
  • No business can grow to the extent that you have without some major issues. How you deal with them is the test and I think you've done the right thing! Onwards and upwards!!
    John H02.01.2012
  • And not a single mention of Abstrakt 08. Great.
    Still fed up02.01.2012
  • Thanks for the honesty about the causes, and (most importantly) the plan to solve the issues.

    I had no problems at all with my order (~Dec 12), delivered correctly and quickly - I feel like I missed out part of the experience!!
    Milton02.01.2012
  • thanks for eventually letting us know about the complete balls up that is the brewdog online shop. my main concern was the complete lack of communication both email and phone. maybe if your customers were informed that there was no chance of fulfilling their orders in the agreed delivery time. i would of made alternative arrangements regarding my hogmanay celebrations
    mico131402.01.2012
  • BrewDog's approach here is refreshing and honest. An a new investor this is appreciated.

    In speaking to both Dan and Angela (at BrewDog) this is a very fair account of what has been going on.

    Even Richard (from MBT) acknowledges on his twitter that this is an accurate account of the issues.

    Customers who have been let down deserve to know why.

    And BrewDog would not authorise giving away so much beer bucks if they were not ultimately accepting responsibility here.
    equity punk 102.01.2012
  • Joseph said: "I for one am looking forward to seeing how My Brewery Tap rise to the challenge and reform the BD shop. Fantastic PR opportunity for them here and I'm sure BD will be first in line to applaud them publicly when it all comes together."

    In all my dealings with MyBreweryTap, and in the experience of many others, I've had nothing but great service from MyBreweryTap. There's more to this, I think. Will hope to see what MyBreweryTap will say on the matter, or whether they'll handle it a bit more professionally.
    Stewart02.01.2012
  • Bob - it is our fault - the awful customer serviuce was due to our own decisions. No one else's.

    In terms of consistency - it is really tough on a small, hand-made scale where slight differences in ingredients can make big differences. We are working on it.

    James, BrewDog02.01.2012
  • Typical brewdog, it's not our fault it was all them. Not us. Did I mention they did it? They held us back. Our revolution has been thwarted again. Keep your focus on Consistency rather than world domination or you are no different to the carlsbergs and coors of the brewing world! I'm stopped buying your beer months ago as each batch was totally different!
    Bob02.01.2012
  • Fantastic to see such an honest and frank response to the problem from an MD on a public holiday. Amazon, Tesco Direct, Play.com and Ebay could all learn much from BrewDog's fine example.

    I'm bamboozled by the comments calling for a PR agency response or accusing BD of passing the buck. Surely any intelligent customer would prefer to be told the truth regarding the failures and not some manufactured spin? Tell us what's gone wrong and how you are going to fix it.

    I for one am looking forward to seeing how My Brewery Tap rise to the challenge and reform the BD shop. Fantastic PR opportunity for them here and I'm sure BD will be first in line to applaud them publicly when it all comes together.
    Joseph02.01.2012
  • Having worked for a similar business and dealing every single day with their warehouse's incompetence (employing idiots who constantly mispacked orders), and City Link's incompetence (losing and damaging packages), I can understand all too well how frustrated everyone at Brewdog must be. Thanks for the honest update though - fingers crossed you'll get everything sorted soon.
    Hywel02.01.2012
  • I've not ordered from you online for a while but have always had pretty good service. I can only think of one item I ordered that didn't arrive. You have to be massively congratulated for your candour and lack of bullshit in this matter which can only enhance your standing with us customers. I wish I'd been in a position to invest in your recent equity release!
    Ed02.01.2012
  • An honest assessment and refreshingly blunt. I have no issues with a buck passing to where the blame lies and you are taking steps to fix it. I can picture the promises made when the contractors saw a juicy contract dangling with a fast growing company.

    You're dealing with this on a public holiday, you are clearly feeling the pain and I wish you well in resolving the problems quickly as I believe you will.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.
    Dave U02.01.2012
  • Good to hear the analysis made clear, and the personal action. The spike in demand was predictable I guess. In the middle of this I had an order complete OK in just 3 days, so I was puzzled what the fuss was about - a second order is now outstanding a couple of weeks. Hope things are sorted successfully.
    psybertron02.01.2012
  • Thanks for the feedback - all useful for your book "how to provide excellent customer service"... One small glimmer of hope - my order was delivered quickly and with no mistakes - think there is still one bottle of beer left so here's to you..
    NM02.01.2012
  • I am very glad the problem is being addressed! I was wondering, will international shipping prices be affected and will the new system allow for extra packaging material for international boxes?
    Mark Richards02.01.2012
  • I appreciate the personal touch, doing this yourself, and understand the nightmare of relying on a company to do a job, and their sub-par performance causing more hassle than they remove.

    I must have been one of the lucky ones, as my orders have been perfectly okay, in fact, the only "delays" have been with waiting for pre-release purchases. As an aside, on that note, is there any method at your disposal that allows pre-release items to be on the same order as other things, but not cause a delay to the entire order - akin to amazon's "dispatch as soon as items become available" system?
    Nirach01.01.2012
  • The honesty and transparency is definitely appreciated.

    Cheers James
    Mr T01.01.2012
  • Thanks for the explanation James. Having ordered late Nov and waiting 2 weeks for the party pack was frustrating but glad to see all parties are resolving, especially as a shareholder. I won't be taking you up on your kind offer, but will give the service another run in a month or so and hopefully see an improvement.

    All others getting involved about whether Brewdog should or shouldn't be naming and shaming, let's leave that up to Brewdog & their suppliers to discuss behind closed doors! Refreshing to hear an honest account.

    Here's to 2012
    DS01.01.2012
  • how do mybrewerytap feel about that?
    paxton01.01.2012
  • Paxton - I believe customers deserve to know the full story here.
    James, BrewDog01.01.2012
  • I too have had a few problems, but as much as I love free stuff (and i do love free stuff!) I'm not gunna ask for a voucher 'cos all us shareholders are a part of the company at the end of the day.

    I'm glad you've been forthright about the issues, perhaps try to limit new releases to one per month to prevent order-jam too.
    Stephanos01.01.2012
  • PB - I would much rather speak to customers directly than do it via a 3rd party as you suggest, such as an agency. I would like to think customers prefer this too.

    The post is not a rant, but an honest and open overview of the issues we have been having and measures to resolve these and also to compensate those let down.
    James, BrewDog01.01.2012
  • PB - I would much rather speak to customers directly than do it via a 3rd party as you suggest, such as an agency. I would like to think customers prefer this too.

    The post is not a rant, but an honest and open overview of the issues we have been having and measures to resolve these and also to compensate those let down.
    James, BrewDog01.01.2012
  • I still think that an apology rather than an explanation would have sufficed. If you're taking responsibility as you say then publicly naming and shaming third parties doesn't exactly support this.
    paxton01.01.2012
  • Fair and honest review of the situation James.

    And great gesture with the beer bucks.

    Max01.01.2012
  • Thanks for posting this. Customers do deserve to know the reasons for the poor service and I am very appreciative of the overview.

    Just a victim of your own success to an extent.

    Sure you guys will burn it up in 2012
    Bex01.01.2012
  • Jonas - as MD of BrewDog I take full responsibility for the whole thing and am doing all I can to put a much better structure in place for this year.

    Paxton - we felt disappointed customers deserved a full and honest account of the situation. A lot of people have been let down here and we felt full disclosure and honesty was the best route. We also acknowledge our partners resolve to fix things and outline the changes made.
    James, BrewDog01.01.2012
  • Bit off to start slating a company that your still going to use is it not?

    You ever thought of using a PR company instead of personal rants?
    PB01.01.2012
  • I'm sure you pre-warned mybrewerytap before posting this, but it's still a little off to publicly whine about someone that you're trying to build a business relationship with. Just sayin'
    paxton01.01.2012
  • It has not went well?
    jdy50001.01.2012
  • I really hope you can get things fixed. I have only suffered from long (too long - weeks) times between placing the order and shipment of the goods and a few broken bottles but it has been enough for me to stop ordering from you completely. It is just too frustrating not to be sure how long the process will take the next time around.
    HR01.01.2012
  • Good honest post - I've had nothing for 6 weeks so I'll send an email with a new order (I dont expect to get the prototypes but at least I tried the HopsKillsNazis at Aberdeen
    stravale01.01.2012
  • It is refreshing to read such un-spun honesty.
    As a former eCommerce project manager for a very well known high street brand throughout their dramatic growth period I know what it's like to work through a frantic and shambolic Christmas. And it's painful.
    My advice would be BRING IT ALL IN-HOUSE. Forget outsourcing services, because you will never get the standards you expect. If you want the job done well, hire good, experienced people and do it yourselves.
    You have already seen that big promises and glossy offices/ marketing count for nothing.

    All the best for 2012 guys - loving your work.
    Gord01.01.2012
  • I have got to experience some of this. I liked the packaging when Brew Dog was doing the shipping. My beer would show up intact. When switched over I would have 1-2 broken per shipment. When I was in Italy this would give the Italians reason to open the box and "destroy it"(most likely take home and drink). Also if there is a way when the beer is shipped to the United States to have it shipped through UPS or FEDEX that would be great I have a package with the USPS that is being held in New York hopefully I will be able to get it out.

    I do want to give a big thank you to Craig though when my orders were never sent out or lost he did everything to make it right and I am sure I am not the only person he helped out.

    Keep making great beer and I hope you have a great year.
    jiggs26.201.01.2012
  • You know, passing the buck isn't OK just because you say "we're not passing the buck".

    Paragraph upon paragraph of blaming other businesses doesn't just disappear because you say "we're not passing the buck".
    Jonas01.01.2012
  • Thanks for this, really helps explain things! Agree with post above, amazing how a simple explanation can do so much to appease any annoyance!
    Doyle01.01.2012
  • I ordered about three weeks before Christmas and UK Mail were the reason my order was delayed (they damaged it and then didn't think to do anything about it for over a week). Craig at Brewdog was lovely and offered to send me my order straight out again before stuff was sorted with UK mail as there was a Christmas present in it. The only problem from there again was the UK Mail delivered it to My Brewery Tap and it sat there for another week before being delivered to me in London. So ups to Craig helping me out, boo to UK Mail -- hopefully their service is going to improve as well or you're just going to have the same old problems unfortunately.
    Jo01.01.2012
  • Really appreciate this update, James. It was clear the issues were massive here, just wish you could have told us sooner. Still awaiting an order placed in November so will be emailing you asap.
    Rhona
    Rhino mittens01.01.2012
  • Thanks for the update James. It's amazing just how much difference a simple post like that makes to people, we'd much rather know the BrewDog team are aware of the issues and are trying to deal with them than the total silence we've had before.

    Mike C01.01.2012
  • What a refreshingly honest assessment - well done James. Sounds promising.

    Dave H01.01.2012
  • Thanks for acknowledging the issue. Really refreshing to see.

    And the fact you are working on it on New Year's day says a lot too.

    Good attitude and refreshing honesty. Every growing company has issues, only the best ones tackle them like this.

    Adrian01.01.2012

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