For any supplier, landing a new wholesale customer should be a ‘fist-pump moment’, but for White Whale Coffee there used to sometimes also be a concern “Can we scale the business to keep this hard-won customer happy?”
Since using Upstock, that ‘new customer excitement’ is always a big celebration – and it’s happening more frequently.
Co-owner Ali Slotemaker says she’s a ‘systems-based’ person who’s always on the lookout for ways to cut time-delays and ordering mistakes that hurt customer relationships, and Upstock’s answered all her wishes.
“Now we can spend our time delivering on customer service. A good number of our customers increased their coffee sales over the last six months, and that’s been really encouraging. Upstock is empowering our customers because they’re confident they placed their orders correctly.”
Nurturing customer connections is what the Cairns-based specialty roaster, espresso bar and barista school love doing – it’s core to their sales and growth strategy.
Ali says they’ve eradicated ordering errors thanks to Upstock – saving at least two hours of order processing per day. Before Upstock, it would often be a 24-hour turnaround for Ali to get all the orders to the packers. Now with Upstock on her phone it's all done in less than a minute. Reducing errors has also reduced waste, which is very important to their mission of reducing their environmental footprint.
“Upstock just gives you confidence and a clearer mind that, ‘yes, we can take on more business!’ We used to struggle to get out on the road and help customers with coffee training, or adjusting the grinder, or generally connecting with them – now that time’s been freed up and it’s made such a big difference.”
More from our chat with Ali Slotemaker
In what ways have you seen your business grow thanks to Upstock?
Being the first business in Australia to use Upstock has been a great honour. We can see it has immense potential to help us grow our business. I am freer to take on a lot more business than we ever have before. My tolerance for everyday ordering mistakes has changed so quickly. I now get frustrated at other businesses when I have to email or phone orders through. Just the other day we received 40 bottles instead of 14 from a company we have been dealing with for years. We have never ordered 40 bottles. With Upstock that just wouldn’t happen.
How has Upstock changed the way you deal with your wholesale customers?
Upstock really made us ‘clean our house up’ in so many ways; our product line, what we're going to offer, our pricing. Now, when a customer comes to us, we're very confident about what we can and can't do. Before, it was always a bit scattered like: ‘what are we going to offer this customer?’ The whole process made us look at everything really in our whole supply chain. Also, since Upstock, we asked all our customers to place an order on Monday. Now we roast on Mondays and Tuesdays and dispatch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So that’s been amazing. Before we just let people order whenever they wanted. And it was just so hectic. Now we have got about 90% of our customers following our request for Monday orders.
How has Upstock saved you and your staff time?
Before Upstock it would take someone an hour or two a day to sit down and process orders in between phone calls, staff asking questions and being interrupted – now we just press a button and it's all done in about a minute. Being able to do everything from our mobile phones has really sped things up too. Like if we’re just driving around and a customer forgot to order some chocolate powder, but we had it in the car, we can just do an order on the spot. You're not having to remember to enter an invoice later or that sort of thing. It’s so much better being organised in ‘real time’. Our confidence has really grown because we know we’re on top of our orders.
Waste reduction is important to you and your business, tell us more about that
We've made a lot of changes in our business around waste reduction. We’re not perfect and we’re not claiming to be, but every little bit counts. Upstock is now another awesome tool in our kit for reducing waste – it's reduced all the wasteful mistakes that used to happen every day because of miscommunications over emails or phone calls.
Reducing our environmental impact means a lot to us because the Great Barrier Reef is right off our coastline. The damage that's been done is devastating and we felt so frustrated. We turned that frustration into action and teamed up with the Reef Restoration Foundation to help regenerate damaged coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef. We’ve donated about $35,000 so far in just two and a half years!