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New Horse, Who Dis?

If you happen to follow my Instagram, you may have seen a new photo yesterday of a horse that looks an awful lot like Ellie, but it isn't Ellie!

It's her momma!
Yes, it is true.  I now am the proud owner of Kennebec Rejoice, Ellie's dam.  To make a long story short, as Miss Gardiner, who owns Kennebec Morgan Farm, is now approaching 98 years old (!!!!), the managers have been placing the broodmares and selling the younger stock.  At this point, there are only three stallions left: Ellie's sire, who at age 25 will live out his days at the farm, a ten-year-old named Triple S Midnight, and a five-year-old named Kennebec Commander.  (So if you know anyone who wants a LOVELY breeding stallion, I can put you in touch!)
Most of the broodmares had been spoken for years ago by former employees and others who already own a Kennebec.  I had made it known that I would take in a broodmare if one needed a soft place to land.  One of the current farmworkers bought Rejoice this past spri…

Thanks, Smartpak!

I know there are varying opinions about Smartpak out there, however I have always had great luck with them and I really have no complaints.  I have always had good luck with their customer service, even when things got messed up on their end and they have always made things right.  I have also used their Smartpak supplements for my horses for over ten years.  Generally, I check Smartpak first when I am looking for a horse related item, mostly because I get free shipping (let's be real, paying for shipping is dumb) and because they ship from MA, I generally get orders within two days.

Back in December, I saw a great deal on the Smartpak Winter Overpants, which were marked down from $76 to $45.  As I just wrote, because I am in Maine, my Smartpak orders generally arrive within a couple days.  However, due to a snow storm (and the fact it was just before Christmas), the order was delayed and I think it took five days.  Honestly, it really didn't matter to me because I wasn't in any rush to receive them.  Besides, ALL my online Christmas orders were behind because UPS didn't deliver during the snow storm (a smart move in my eyes), and let's face it, ordering something just ten days before the holiday is bound to take a little longer.  It's the Christmas season and the mail just gets bogged down.

Anyway, I received my pants and have worn them several times.  I'll do a review at some point, but basically I love them and they were totally worth the $45.  I put the slight shipping delay out of my mind, because it really didn't even register with me at the time.

However, much to my surprise, just a few days ago I received an emailed apology from Smartpak.  I admit, it's a little long winded and I nearly missed the coupon code at the end haha!  ;-)  But I was seriously impressed with the fact they owned up to their mistakes (and I am assuming they are responding to criticism from those who felt they should have received their packages sooner).  

Hi Elizabeth,

We're writing today to thank you for being a SmartPak customer, and to apologize for the fact that we recently let you down. 

Our records indicate that one or more of the orders you placed over the last few months was impacted by the shipping delays we experienced in our Plymouth, MA warehouse, and we want to state firmly and clearly - these delays were completely unacceptable. We are embarrassed, ashamed, and deeply sorry. Our commitment to customer service has been core to our mission from day one, and over these past few months, we've failed to live up to that. While we wish there was something we could do to change that, all we can do is assure you that our leadership team has worked aggressively to solve the problem completely, and we're actively working to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
 
Regarding what happened, as you may have heard from social media or our Customer Care team, it truly was a "perfect storm" of events, from an unprecedented influx of new products to limited warehouse space, and labor shortages to extreme weather events. On their own, each of these shocks to the system is something we could've handled (and have easily handled similar situations in the past). But together, they had a compounding effect that none of us expected and before we knew it we were in over our heads.
 
Throughout this, on the aggregate, we were still shipping close to 90% of total orders on time, thanks in large part to the fact that back in 2015 we invested in opening a second distribution center to better serve our West Coast customers, and the fact that supplements in SmartPaks were always shipped on time. However, even 90% is nowhere near good enough for us, and we know it doesn't make a difference to those of you whose orders were shipped late. (We're not sharing that in an attempt to make an excuse, we're sharing it to help you understand why this wasn't treated with more urgency more quickly.) On the plus side, what was previously a blind spot for us is now an area of focus, as we're building out automated reports and alerts that will help us better understand the status of all orders in the building.  

And that's just the first of many improvements we're making to our systems, website, and processes so that we can be smarter in the future. However, we don't expect you to take our word for it. We know that this was a disappointing experience, and we want to give you a reason to give us another chance, risk-free. That's why we're including a $25 gift towards your next purchase, as an investment in our continued relationship with you. To redeem your gift, simply enter the gift code (I deleted it haha) at checkout and your discount will be applied to your order - no exclusions, no minimum, no kidding. And because we know good things take time, we're giving you plenty of time to use the gift code - it will be valid until 3/31/2018.

We hope you'll accept this gift, and most importantly, our sincerest apologies. Since 1999, we've been honored to be your partner in the care of your horse, and we're committed to delivering you the kind of exceptional service experience we'd want, as riders and horse owners ourselves. We're actively working to be smarter in the future, and we hope that you'll be willing to give us a chance to prove that we're still the same SmartPak you've always known and loved (if anything, a little wiser).


I wrote them back a thank you email, because while I don't feel they needed to send me a $25 gift certificate, let's face it, I am not going to refuse it either!  I totally understand that the weather happens, crap happens, and nothing is perfect.  

Happily, I just ordered two new buckets (in hunter green, of course), a new sponge for baths (someday it will warm up for baths haha), and a new small hole haynet for Ellie's paddock hay hoop (I am hoping it is larger than the one that came with the hay hoop holder thingy) and only spent $16.  
Ordered on 2/6 and will receive 2/8 - two day shipping is the norm for me from Smartpak
So, thanks Smartpak, for being a good company in my eyes and owning your mistakes.  Not everyone in the world has the guts to sincerely apologize like that.  I appreciate the apology and definitely appreciate the $25 gift!

Comments

  1. I've always had pretty good customer service from them. Really cool they reached out to you!

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    1. I think they do pretty well, especially compared to some of the other big names. I love Mary's and Riding Warehouse just as much, but I admit sometimes I want the item within two days instead of waiting a week and a half hahaha!

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  2. Replies
    1. Right??! My English teacher self was like, "Oh lovely Smartpak writer, you need to cut about HALF of that out" while at the same time thinking, "OH EFF YEAH FREE SPENDING MONEY!!" hahaha

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    2. I am also going to assume they had PLENTY of rude, angry, lengthy rants from other shoppers that may have prompted the lengthy reply.

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  3. That’s awesome. Over heardnif several people who got the email.

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    1. I can't imagine the free money they must've given away!

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  4. I saw there was a massive angry thread on COTH that I think finally prompted the coupon code. I still choose ordering from them over most companies because their selection is bigger, and like you I'm close enough to MA that I usually get things in 2-3 days. I paid a little extra for expedited shipping for another box of hoof packing for Opie when I ran out unexpectedly and it was here the very next day.

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    1. Ahhhh, of course, that makes sense! I nearly wrote "there was probably an angry post on COTH" but I didn't want to make assumptions hahahahaha!

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  5. yes people must have fussed a plenty for that tome to come out LOL (There is a guy (older) at my work who writes JUST like this I can tell him to go work at Smart Pak when he retires (he literally will take 3 paragraphs to tell you he is going to lunch LOL) I think i fell asleep reading it HA). Nice tho they owned up. I love Smartpak (Get the supplments and then the smart perks help with free shipping), I also love RW and order from them for some stuff too. Dover I dont order anymore (Takes weeks) but i have a dover store nearby so can drop by for things I need in less than 2 days. I will have to check out Mary's!! A sponge! ARENT YOU being optimistic! LOL just kidding!!

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    1. Hahahaha I am definitely a more verbose person, but event *I* was like holy crap Smartpak hahaha. And yes, a sponge and new buckets for showing (since the cattle made my other ones all yucky haha). Definitely being optimistic and excited for spring LMAO! ;-)

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