Over the next few months, I will share stories about happenings at Printivo that I will tag #PrintivoMusings. I plan to do this once in a while.
Friday, the 7th of June, was an eventful day at Printivo, we were on the verge of hurting a customer on his most important day, and we were not ready to let that happen. And then I tweeted this…
The background story.
A customer (Let me call him customers X) had ordered on the website; He ordered wedding programs to be shipped to London for his wedding day. As we don’t ship to the UK, X chatted with the customer happiness team and asked for a backchannel for his print order to be sent to London. We have used this to ship orders to Canada, London, the US, and Ghana. Customer X had used our services in Nigeria before relocating to the UK. When he realized printing on Printivo (Cost of printing +cost of shipping to London) still made more economic sense than printing in London, he chose us again.
The order was printed on time and delivered to our logistics partner, but somehow, things went south. Customer X reached out to the Printivo customer happiness team on the morning of Friday 7th, and that he has been tracking his package on the shipping company’s website. Clearly, it says the order is still in Lagos, sitting at their sorting facility. X was to get married on Saturday, the 8th of June, 2018. It was clearly printed on the wedding programs, and here we are; the package is still in Lagos. I was heading out to a meeting when I got a call from the office. “Sir, we have an emergency.”
By now, it was around 8.00 pm. We had switched from being a shiny eCommerce printing business to a proper airport Agbero business. This package must go tonight. With the box in my hand, I was talking to passengers one person after the other ready to pay anything to have them add it to their luggage. I had dropped the fancy cloak of a CEO and forgot even to assign the task to anyone on the team, sleeves up. This thing must get to London tomorrow morning. It’s not easy talking to total strangers for favors like this, even if you were going to pay them. While at it, I ran into a Printivo investor who would have loved to take it, but he was flying to Texas, and we both stood there for a while. My Oga Emeka Azuka Okoye also met us there. While we chatted about logistics in Nigeria, I was busy talking to every passenger that looked approachable on that BA flight. This was when airport staff planted hard drugs in a Saudi-bound travel luggage in Kano. No one was ready to help out even though I offered to pay. Finally, around 9 pm, we got lucky; I met a young man who agreed to add the package to his carry-on luggage for a fee; I paid him 2X the cost. He took the box and spoke with customer X.
When I sent a message to the team on Slack that the package had been shipped, the team member managing the order called me right away, and I could hear just how excited everyone was in the background. Someone at the office threw a mini-party. That was when it dawned on me that we had abandoned everything to fix one customer’s problem, even though Printivo serves over 20,000 customers. It was then I remembered I left my meal at the office earlier that day and have had not eaten anything all day.
6.00 am the following day, customer X’s call woke me up. “I just left Heathrow now; I picked it up. Thank you so much for going the extra mile.” In my five years of leading Printivo, this is one of the moments that add meaning to the things we do, and beyond all, We give a lot of damns. This is done through the team and the entire leadership at Printivo. There’s nothing we can’t abandon to make our customers happy. To founders and CEOs, our people will care about the things we care about, and they will give a damn about the stuff we give a damn about. This is why we must be the captain who will not assign the ship to someone else during raging storms. Keep building, keep winning.
Now back to our logistic partner, I sent out an email copying everyone that can be copied, “Let’s have a meeting on Monday. This madness must not repeat itself”. What followed was emails flying around and a series of meetings to improve the service.