Dear GreenCine Member,
You know, hindsight's 20-20, and while we were so excited about the changes a-foot at GreenCine we didn't anticipate there would be the number of glitches and delays in the system that occurred over the past week. We don't just have egg on our face, we have a whole Greek omelet. While we can assure you that there are definitely good changes afoot, we realize that doesn't make up for the fact that some of you experienced some real frustrations both with shipping and communication and for that we profusely apologize. (For those of you who didn't experience any problems, well, just ignore this part of the letter. Move it along here, nothing here to see, move it along.)
Also, as part of our new e-manifesto, we'll be focusing back on the thing we've been doing well all along: DVD rentals. So, for the foreseeable future, our site will be all rentals, all the time. We appreciate the patronage we had from everyone who purchased DVDs through our new DVD store. We may bring back this feature in the future, but for now our focus will be back on rental, which is what the majority of our customers have told us they're most interested in.
More things to expect from us soon:
We're bringing back contests, giving away DVDs and movie memorabilia; upgrades to the site (yes, you've heard this one before, but we mean it); pumping up our inventory, which means fulfilling more requests and getting more copies of our most popular titles; and new, smaller envelopes which will aid in greatly speeding up shipping times through the USPS.
Here are answers to some of the other questions you've had this past week:
Q: I've experienced some serious delays over past week, sometimes it looks like you're throttling [delays shipments on purpose] me. Are you making it a practice to throttle?
A: No. These delays were an unfortunate byproduct of the move and a subsequent breakdown or slowdown on the technology end. Without going into boring, awful details, suffice to say that on days where you experienced delays in shipping out after we checked in, we had every intention of getting you your discs out the same day. Things broke down. We broke down. There were some tears, a few group hugs. Excuses, excuses, but the upshot is that we absolutely promise this will not be a practice, and you should already be noticing same day shipping has returned.
Q: Given the recent hikes in USPS rates and these other changes, are you anticipating or planning any rate changes?
A: Not at this moment. However, no one can forsee the future and we don't want to pull a Bush Sr. and say "read my lips...no new taxes" and then come back to you guys with membership hikes. But the answer is that we do not plan on changing the rate any time soon.
Q: Will you still have your blogs - GreenCine Daily, Guru and so forth - your articles, primers, reviews, newsletters and all that editorial content?
A: Absolutely. Our mission is still the same - to introduce you to many films and filmmakers we love, to give you more information about film history and film's future, to personally recommend hidden gems, to survey new DVD releases each week, and to cover the world of film with a broad perspective. Our philosophy is still that movies matter.
Q: Can you give us a rough estimate as to how many distribution centers you will have and where they will be? Will you still have a center in San Francisco or in the SF Bay Area?
A: We've moved the distribution center to the Los Angeles area, but the style in which we'll be shipping, the Bay Area won't see any added shipping times (yes, this past week has been horribly bumpy once we changed over, as we said above, but we guarantee you that will be an anomaly). Plus, we'll be implementing something that hopefully will allow even quicker forms of returns.
Our plans are to add several more distribution centers, but the integration process for this takes some time, so please have patience. The efficiency of operations is orders of magnitude better than the previously existing GreenCine capabilities. This also gives us an East Coast shipping capability; GreenCine previously did not have this. GreenCine mail will no longer be hand-stamped but will run through pre-paid mail like the big guys do for maximum speed through the USPS.
Q: So why the expansion/relocation?
A: As much as editorial and management love the SF office, our shipping department was getting far too cramped, and our inventory took a hit because of it. Moving our inventory to a larger warehouse allows for better organization of inventory which means less disc lossage. It is easier and faster for them to process returns and pick new titles for shipping. More space and more money saved means room to broaden and deepen our selection of currently available titles.
We do however, still house our editorial, managing, and marketing staff in "The City." We'll still do events - screenings and co-sponsoring festivals - up here.
Also, a larger space and utilizing and expert shipping staff allows for many time savers that we couldn't have done in SF with our available crew. They sort by full zip codes, which allows for faster processing at the post office, and also saves us a little money too (which we can use to buy even more inventory!) So, yes Van Nuys is 300 miles away from SF. We expect shipping times to be one day more than expected this week but to stabilize very soon. Our goal for Bay Area customers is a two day turnaround.
Q: GreenCine's always had good, fast, personal customer service, but this past week it took longer to get a response. Are you shying away from focusing on good customer service?
A: Absolutely not. Our communications with our customers is very important to us. We take pride in responding personally and directly to members, as quick as possible. Again, we can assure you that the delays experienced over this past week are most definitely not the norm, and will make every effort to get back to you as fast as possible.
Q: What about the cardboard inserts - will you still use them?
A: Because we'll begin using smaller envelopes, we'll be going away from those inserts. While we love protecting our precious DVDs as much as possible, we have no doubt that switching to the new smaller envelopes will allow us to process our DVDs much, much faster. Basically, this will allow us to invest in more inventory. We'll still be doing everything we can to inspect and protect DVDs on our end. But your help will be appreciated as we track how well this works. We're pretty sure you'll let us know if it isn't working.
Q: What will you do if it turns out that the changes are not working out for your customers?
A: Fix whatever ails 'em and make everyone happy. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to write us at email@example.com.
Thank you again for your patience during what has been a rollercoaster week. We can't tell you enough how important both your patronage and your feedback have been to us as we experience growing pains. As Kermit the Frog once said, "It's not easy being Green" - but we're proud to still be a part of your world. At GreenCine, movies still matter, a lot.