“Red Worms For Sale” – Part II

Just over a month ago I wrote a post about the importance of finding a reputable supplier before ordering any worms. If you didn’t catch that post, you might want to read it first: “Red Worms For Sale” – Part I.

The post was originally inspired by an email I received from a disgruntled individual who felt that they were cheated out of a pound of European Nightcrawlers (they received a total of 8 worms). Not wanting this person to end up giving up on the idea of starting up a worm bin, I decided to step in a help get them a proper shipment of Euros, at a very special price (wink wink).

As I mentioned in my first post, I’m not the type of person to “out” a potential offender on this (or any other) website – and in hindsight I’m definitely glad I’m NOT! In an interesting turn of events, I ended up having an email exchange with this worm supplier about the situation and they seemed genuinely concerned (they had received no feedback regarding the lack of worms), and very eager to send a replacement shipment.

This highlights the importance of letting people know when you are not happy with their products. I certainly don’t say this as a reprimand for the individual who contacted me – we helped them get some new worms very quickly so they didn’t really need to pursue the issue any further. This is more a suggestion for anyone else who finds themselves in a situation like this.

If the supplier ignores you or refuses to replace the worms, then you can simply let them know that you’re going to blog about it or make a YouTube video all about how they ripped you off (trust me, NO self-respecting worm farmer will risk attracting this sort of negative publicity).

Anyway…let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Last time we talked about what to look for in terms of pricing and customer service. Here is another important consideration:

Supplier Location – This may seem like common sense, but it’s not a bad idea to see if you can find a reputable dealer in your area (ideally in the same city/region, but even the same state/province will help). The shorter the shipping distance the less stress your worms will experience and the fewer potential shipping headaches that might occur. This is especially important advice for those thinking about cross-border shipments. The last thing you want is to have your worms stuck at the border until they are Ok’d by the border officials (which may never happen). One of our worm farming friends shared a story with me about having a shipment of 10 lbs of worms getting held up at the border for many days (last I heard the shipment still hadn’t been received – not good news for the worm farmer OR the poor worms!).

You may find fantastic prices offered by a dealer in another country, but that value goes completely out the window if you don’t end up receiving your worms at all. And even if you do receive them, who knows what condition they will be in when they finally arrive.

There are worm farmers everywhere – far more than you can likely find online! Get in touch with local gardening clubs, waste management facilities, universities etc. Someone will definitely be able to get you pointed in the right direction.

Ok – now that we’ve highlighted some of the important considerations to keep in mind as a worm buyer, let’s switch our perspective and cover some the important things to remember if you are selling worms or planning to do so.

I’m not going to get into much detail, as these are pretty much self-explanatory.

1) Always put your customer’s best interests first. Constantly ask yourself “how can I provide the best buying experience for these people?”
2) Be prompt, courteous and helpful! Don’t make potential customers wait days for replies – if you provide an email address then make sure you are checking email on a regular basis!
3) Follow-up with your customers to make sure they received their worms and are happy with their purchase. Don’t assume that just because you don’t get negative feedback that your customer was happy (as indicated by the situation discussed above)
4) Go above and beyond the call of duty – “over deliver”! If they ordered a pound of worms send even more, and throw in some unexpected bonuses while you are at it (maybe a worm care guide or a coupon for future purchases, stickers for their bin – etc etc)
5) Ask for feedback – ask your existing customers if there anything you could do to help improve the buying experience.
6) Use clear, easy to understand language on your website – no fine print or hidden terms and conditions.
7) Make your website into an information resource – not just a portal for buying your products.

These are just a handful of suggestions – plenty more where those came from (haha), but I’ll leave it at that for now!
The funny irony is that when you take the extra time/effort to provide the best service and products for your customers you will be rewarded many times over in the long run. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing method, especially these days – you can either use it to your advantage, or you can suffer the consequences of short term thinking.

[tags]buying worms, worm composting, vermicomposting, vermiculture, worm farming, worm farmers, selling worms, composting worms[/tags]

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