FoodChain ID demonstrates fantastic customer service.
notagmo, 1 August 2015
FoodChain ID is a technical administrator that is approved by the Non-GMO Project to verify a company's products.
So often when working with a company, if something goes wrong, I find that they will listen to my problem and then state, "I understand your frustration, but that's our corporate policy and there is nothing I can do about it." FoodChain ID not only performed action to resolve my problem, but changed their corporate policy because of my concerns. I'm amazed. I don't think I have ever lead to a change in company policy through my complaint before. I am so impressed with FoodChain ID because of their response.
Here is my story.
My father-in-law is a locksmith. He has been one almost all of his life. After retiring from the school district he didn't want to stop working. To keep active he started his own mobile locksmith business. His business is still operating and thriving today. However, he knew that he could only do the work for a few more years as he is in retirement age and the work is physical. Having the entrepreneurial spirit, he wanted to start a less labor intensive business. We started a project to build some software for the locksmith industry. It just didn't seem like it was meant to be. He asked me if I thought we should do something else and the concept of Notagmo came to me in a flash.
We wanted to be a company dedicated to producing and distributing Non-GMO Project Verified products. We decided to start with essential oils, because there was only one other company providing them and we saw a need in the marketplace to provide more choice. In the future we plan to expand to offer a variety of different Non-GMO Project Verified products. I had previous experience with getting verified, and I knew that it could be a long process. It was this reason that I chose oils from farms in parts of the world where I knew they could pass verification.
The process of getting verified can sometimes take over a year. The requirements are even more stringent than they are for some of the European Non-GMO verification processes. FoodChain ID classifies products as high-risk and low-risk when you first submit them. They do have a 30-day guarantee for low risk products, but low risk status is somewhat uncommon. I came up with a business plan that would get our products to market around the same time we received verification if we had a 30 day turn around. I knew that some of my products from the same farms had been verified already for a different brand line and assumed they would be given the low risk status.
The 30 day guarantee currently reads: "Products identified as low GMO-risk which are fully compliant to the Non-GMO Project Standard are guaranteed verification within 30 days or less." I submitted my products on 6/30/15 and was ready to receive my verification by 7/30/15. Right after submitting them, the ingredients were flagged as high risk. I knew that high risk products can take a very long time to get verified. I knew the ingredients were definitely low risk and had been misclassified. I contacted FoodChain ID immediately to let them know my concern as "products identified as low GMO-risk" will get the guarantee and high risk products will not. I let them know that the products had been misclassified. I had set up sales meetings, invested in liability insurance, bought all the raw materials banking on a 30 day turn around. If my products were labeled high risk it would delay everything.
FoodChain ID informed me that the system that identifies the products looks for key words and will automatically classify the ingredients. They assured me that my products would be looked at in 30 days and if it was identified as low risk the 30 day guarantee would apply. I called and emailed once each week, just to make sure they will still on track and I got the same assurance each time. Finally on 7/29 when I contacted them they informed me of the good news that my products were being evaluated that day and that if they were reclassified as low risk then the 30 days would start from that day. They explained to me that products "identified" as low GMO-risk would be given the guarantee. My products had been "identified" as high risk therefore it didn't apply. I reread the statement and they were technically correct according to their corporate policy.
What?!? I had an important sales meeting on 8/4. I had already bought the labels with the Non-GMO verified logo on it. I couldn't present the products if they weren't verified. I wrote a email late that day explaining my understanding of the promise of the 30-day guarantee, that I had communicated that the products had been misclassified, and that 30 days from my submission was tomorrow. I did understand, as has happened so many times with so many other companies, that they could have said, "We are sorry you misunderstood our policy and our frustrated, but we can't help you."
They didn't do that. The Client Services Manager called me the first thing the next morning. She had read my email, had shared it with her team and understood my position. She was going to get her team working on it right away. It might have taken a few days, since they hadn't even started. I had been through the process before, so I knew it would probably be week, but that was better than another 30 days. I checked my status later in the day and the Notamgo products had been verified. All of them. I was impressed and how quickly they pushed it thru.
That would have been GOOD customer service.
Coincidentally, very shortly after I had checked my status online, the Client Services Manager called me. I told her that I saw that my products had been verified, they had done it in 30 days even though they technically didn't have to, and I was ready to hang up. My issue had been resolved in a fair and just way. However, she kept me on the phone. Not only did she help me out, but they realized that they way they identified my category of products was wrong and they are fixing that. Furthermore they saw how the promise was not completely clear and they are going to rewrite that as well. Not only did they help me out, but they changed as a company to help others in the future because they listened to my issue and took it seriously.
That is FANTASTIC customer service.
Thank you FoodChain ID!
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