Several weeks ago we started doing research on adding custom smart phone cases to our repertoire of products and services that we offered. Two Thursdays ago one of the staff mentioned that the iPhone 6 was being launched internationally the next day. I had a crazy idea. We had already located a supplier for custom cases, and we even placed some test orders with this company, and received the test orders in our office. I thought it would be a great marketing ploy for us to launch our custom phone cases in conjunction with the launch of the new iPhone 6.
I started creating a checklist of everything we would need to prepare to successfully send out an email to our customers letting them know about the new product. My list was as follows:
-Identify supplier (we already had done that)
-Create an email announcing it to our customers
-Create a mockup template for our sales and artists to take orders
-Create basic training for our staff on how to take orders for this product
I paced around our meeting room and went through everything that I had just written down, and I was convinced that we could launch everything in time. Most of the work had already been done, so it would be relatively painless to send out an email to our customers in conjunction with the launch of the new iPhone and start taking orders. However, I started to inspect the quality of the iPhone cases that we had found, and although the quality was OK, and my staff convinced me that the quality was good, I wasn’t so convinced.
I looked at some competitors websites and I felt that some competitors offered a better case. Then I started to think about the fact that our design team, sales and customer service would have to learn about the new product in one day. Compared to many of the other products that we sell custom phone cases is a very simple product, so again I was confident that we could train everyone in a day and get them up to speed on the product. However, I also started to think about the fact that our designers were already having trouble keeping up with their current workload and this would certainly impact our customers. Furthermore, we would have to take at least 1 hour to train the sales and customer service on how to support the new product, and that would be one less hour that they would have to support our customers.
When I was a much younger and more impulsive CEO I wouldn’t have even considered these things. I would have only considered that this was a good idea, and we would have definitely decided to launch the product. I knew it was a good idea but our customers and the reputation of our brand are more important. That’s one of our promises to the customer and to our staff. The/Studio will only provide a product if we can be the best in our industry, and we won’t take on projects that are going to make it difficult for our staff to fulfill our commitments to our current customers.
We will definitely eventually launch the custom phone case project, but just not today or even next week. We will take our time to find the best suppliers in the industry, we will perfect the process, and we will take the time to train our staff to support the product.