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Paleo Plan and Customer Service

Over the past year of running Paleo Plan I’ve encountered just about every possible customer service request imaginable. I’d seen it all. People registering, not liking it, wanting a refund, people needing to change their information, people wanting specific information about this or that, regardless if that is what we offer in our plan or not.

People sometimes need help, and I’ve always felt that in this small, paleo community, I couldn’t afford to not do everything I could to accommodate people, or at least, give them a well-written response on why I couldn’t do something. And like I said, I’d seen it all.

Or so I thought.

Today, I got something that left me literally dumbfounded and at a complete loss for words. I got a piece of mail from a person asking if they could sign up, and if I would call them so they could order. They explained they didn’t have a computer, but wanted to join “Paleo Brands.”

I sat there for a while trying to figure out what to do. This woman had somehow gotten my address, and was hoping to hear back from me with information and meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes.

Every week we make PDFs for the meal plans and recipes, and I could easily print out a few of those and send them to her… but what about the recipes? We only have those online. And if she didn’t have a computer, our meal plans would be worthless.

I thought about printing those out too, but that would honestly take me a few hours to organize, and I just wasn’t quite ready to print out 70-100 recipes plus a few week’s of meal plans and shopping lists, and then send them to her.

After about 20 minutes of just mind-numbing bewilderment, I had an idea. Send her Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution. It is an amazing source of information, and it has a full month of meal plans and recipes in the back. It’s more than enough to get anyone started, and it is available at Amazon for $13. I probably couldn’t even ship the recipes to her for under that (I’m also on Prime, so I have free shipping).

So, with that, I wrote a little note in the Gift column, ordered the book, and hopefully, provided her with the information she needs.

I’m not sure it’s the best solution, but I felt I wanted to do something, and this seemed to work.

Running a company has taught me a tremendous amount about customer service, and I’ve also had the privilege of finding out how rewarding it can be to hopefully solve someone’s problems in a win-win way. Hopefully, this is one of those cases.

The hand-written letter is shown below.

Notice that she addressed it to HTTP Paleo Brands COM. I spend so much time on the computer each day, I forget that for lots of people in the world, URLs and domain names are confusing.

Notes from my talk at Wordcamp PDX

This Saturday I had the opportunity to speak at Wordcamp PDX. I spoke on my experience running Paleo Plan, a subscription website using WordPress. Below are my notes.

Running a subscription site on WordPress

  • First of all, running a subs site on WP isn’t that different than anywhere else.
  • We’ll be talking about subscription sites in general, with a small focus on opportunities explicit to WP.
  • I’ll be speaking out of personal experience, but obviously, your results may differ
  • If you’ve heard me speak before, you’ll recognize a few themes. These are things I find especially valuable.

If you only take away two things, here they are. (after this you can take a nap)

  • First: Just get started
  • Second: Avoid PayPal

You’re ready.

What I’ve learned:

Content

  • People are willing to pay for convenience
  • People believe they need customization, many don’t
  • Get creative
  • Rethink older business models
  • Give away custom/special content
  • Look for partnerships
  • You don’t have to cater to all of your audiences desires

Financial

  • Merchant accounts are worth it
  • Find somewhere with good service, and online capabilities
  • PayPal’s website is super slow and terrible, but at least everything is possible.
  • I hate using it, but it does function
  • Chargify is awesome. WP-Chargify functions, but there’s more to do.

If you’ve ever heard me speak before, you know that I am a big proponent of figuring it out as you go. I believe in bare minimum upfront, prove the model, then improve.

Paleo Plan

Getting started

  • three weeks
  • hired out original content
  • wordpress theme (freshthemes)
  • campaign monitor
  • adwords

Iterate

  • After 2 months, I went back and finished the design
  • I’m now working on third wave of design
  • I never did get a logo
  • Talk about requests for customization of menus

Partnerships

  • Partnering with CrossFit gyms
  • Current discussions with Dr. Cordain

Plugins I’ve used

Membership Plugins

Eating Paleo?

I recently created and launched a new company/website. It’s called Paleo Plan and is a subscription membership site for people following the Paleo Diet. We offer a complete meal plan, recipes, and a cohesive shopping list to our members each week to make following the diet easier and require less planning. So far, we’ve been launched for one month and have received a lot of positive feedback and great response from our members. Keep an eye on it. And even if you don’t eat Paleo, there are some great recipes that you’ll love, like the Curry Chicken with cauliflower rice. It’s amazing.