The L9 Way

We recently got sticker shock when our international shipping company effectively raised our rates 40% without telling us.  One of the initial consequences of the fallout is that we were forced to look at all international shipping alternatives.  Frankly none of them were very good and in the end we are for now simply doing a much better job of packing and passing a minimal amount of the cost onto our overseas customers.  But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is my amazement at the way other companies think we view our customers.  They kept insisting on how their method would lower OUR costs, however when I would pry deeper our costs would be lowered but our customers costs would actually end up being much higher and the process more cumbersome for them.

Of course that’s not the L9 way, we realize that things like shipping and duties and taxes are required but it does matter to us what our customers pay and that they know as best they can what they will have to pay to get products to their door.  We were constantly told..”Don’t worry we will bill your customers for that not you” and when we found out what they would be billed it turned out to be much higher than they were currently being billed and in fact it turned out to be higher THAN THE COMBINED AMOUNT THAT IS PAID BY BOTH US AND OUR CUSTOMERS for shipping duties and taxes.  And that’s when it hit me.

We view ourselves as in a cocoon with our customers.  If we end up losing a little bit and don’t charge our customers enough we can live with that.. a transfer of funds from us to our customers is not something we worry about too much.  However if the amount of money the leaves the cocoon is greater than necessary then that’s a very bad thing.  On one hand it’s probably not the greatest thing that we view foreign customs agents and shipping companies as the enemy with which we are at war with for our customers, but that is in essence what the reality is. And though we can’t do anything illegal or immoral, we can make sure we are choosing shipping methods that minimizes the cash that leaks out of the cocoon.

I guess there are two points here.

1. Don’t ever be afraid to keep us on our toes to let us know how we can do something better so that it makes life easier for you.

2. Though we may make mistakes or just not know something, we have never made a conscious decision to make a transaction more difficult or expensive for you so that it could be easier or cheaper for us.

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