Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rambling about Kickstarter Fulfillment and Shipping

The Kickstarter Backer Contact Form seems to be working well, we spent quite a bit of time over the weekend tracking down lost packages and packing up replacements for damaged or mispacked shipments. Chris, who does part-time work helping us deal with the mail, goes through the form responses and sends me a list of things to re-send or check into, and I check into them and then pack up books and re-send them. It's been a bit harrowing, but I feel good about getting the customer service more under control.

All this has really bringing home to me how much I love the new system we're using--BackerKit and MakeThatThing and Stamps.com for anything that needs to be shipped from my house--because the old systems have me digging through spreadsheets and huge binders full of packing slip copies to find the details of five-year-old pledge rewards.

For the first several Kickstarter campaigns, we packed and shipped everything from our basement. That means that my Mom was down there for ages packing things, then taking them to the post office every day. Sometimes our friend Carol from Cheapass Games came in and did the same thing, mostly for Beast of the Rails, if I remember. We weren't able to get tracking numbers back then. I have now learned how much I love tracking numbers.

Also for the first few campaigns, I was not in charge of the whole circus. That makes it even harder for me to go back and check on the crunchy details of things.

I really like having MakeThatThing ship the bulk of the rewards, and if we're on a good schedule, we can even have books mailed directly from the printer to our backers. That saves a lot of trouble, but means that we have to have our backer surveys in by the time the printer needs the shipping list. We weren't able to do that last time, and it really bit me hard. I'm setting up a new campaign for Kings and Wizards (the 17th Girl Genius collection) and this time, I've built in time to have it shipped from the printer. I love getting the book to our backers right away, it takes a lot of the stress off.

Well, I should stop "thinking out loud" about it here, and get back to work. I've got that next campaign to set up, and the pressure is on hard.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Our new "Kickstarter Backers' Contact Form" and information pages

I've made a lovely new information page with up-do-date status reports for all of our past Kickstarter campaigns.

I've also made a lovely new "Contact Us" form for our backers to use, once they've looked at the status reports and realized that the thing they thought we never sent to them probably just got lost in the mail. (We were not always able to send tracking numbers in the past.)

Our friend Carol Monahan (from Cheapass Games) is seeing to it that our old pledge managers are shut down. Carol's helping us get our ducks in a row so that we can get our next book out, so that her company can get the Girl Genius : The Works card game out. We are all in each other's pockets around here. Someday I'll draw up a chart. ANYWAY:

 She's making sure that there's a proper note on the landing page of each old pledge manager, telling people that, although the pledge manager is closed (like the ancient tomb it is) it's not too late to contact us for customer service. Because it's not. We still have little hoards of most rewards squirreled away, just in case.

The thing is, all those old Kickstarter campaigns are getting harder and harder to keep track of. A message on an old campaign page is easily missed, (although we do try to look things over regularly, it seems to happen more than we'd like.) So we're trying to consolidate things, to make things easier for our backers, and to make things easier for ourselves. Hence, the new information page. I hope it helps!