Hello again. I must start off by apologizing; it was probably my fault we had “Snowmageddon”. I usually type these newsletters in the 2nd to 3rd week of the month prior so we have time to edit and get them to our printer. My first paragraph last month suggested that winter was most likely “over”. I follow weather closely and it has always been an interest of mine. When I typed last month’s letter around January 20th or so, there was NOTHING showing up in the long range forecasts for what we just went through…so I apologize for jinxing it! J
That being said, we hope you all were able to make it through without any major issues. The snowy weather is one major reason we urge customers to be on Auto Fill. When things get crazy like that, our #1 priority is to try and get to our Auto Fill customers. Our next priority is customers who are “regular” Will Call customers – those who want to call for fuel, but only buy from us. The 3rd level of priority is customers new to us. They have been with another company, and when things are normal, they see no need to switch; but when the going gets tough, Companies X, Y, and Z can’t or won’t come fill them. We do our best to take care of these folks as well, because we know they will become loyal customers. Our lowest priority is the “price shoppers”. They only buy from us if we are the absolute lowest price. These folks are generally the lowest priority for ALL companies because they have no loyalty. It is easy to price shop when the weather is “normal”, but when it gets cold and we have lots of snow, this is not a good position to be in.
Here at Acme, we strive to always offer competitive prices, with the BEST service of anyone. Even though we work our tails off when it gets like this, and we get exhausted, we cherish these opportunities because it is great “advertising” for us…we take care of our customers! While many places need or choose to close, we step up; this is our time to shine! So, if you were taken care of by Acme, please tell a friend; referrals are the best advertising!
Besides being extremely busy delivering propane and heating oil, our Fast Fuel gas stations had a run on gas, particularly non-ethanol gas. When we saw the storms coming, we filled our tanks, but we literally ran out of fuel. Then with the snow, it was difficult to get reloads coming. We finally did and got back to normal. If you tried fueling and we were out, we apologize. We did the absolute best we could in the circumstance.
As with any extreme event, there are things we can learn from it; so we will be looking at what we can do both business wise and personally to be more prepared. One thing I would suggest is to have fuel for generators filled up before winter hits. This helps prevent the “rush” and the possibility of being out.
Also, it is important to understand that we have literally thousands of customers. While we do our best to take care of every single one, when things get crazy, we must triage. That is, assess which tanks need to be filled first. So if you called and had 30+%, we probably bumped you down the list a bit so we could get to others that were lower still. If we make a special trip for someone who could go several more days, that could risk someone else running out. In addition, our drivers must triage. They must assess if they can get into, and more importantly, out of a driveway. If they take an unnecessary risk and get stuck or worse yet, wreck a truck, that can jeopardize our other customers from getting filled.
Well, this newsletter has been far too long; but we had so much to discuss! I hope this helps you all understand a bit more how we operate. If you have more questions or want more information, feel free to give me a call…360-943-1133.
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