TL;DR We Messed Up And We Are Sorry.

On January 10th 2020 » By Vinyl Me, Please Staff

As you may or may not know, we updated our member platform on November 19, 2019. It resulted in several issues, affecting your experience with VMP. We failed to communicate in this process, and we apologize that you’re reading this on January 10th, 2020 instead of November 10th, 2019. The issues created by the update left many of you confused, frustrated, and questioning your confidence in Vinyl Me, Please. We understand why:

  • We were too slow shipping orders, with many holiday products/gifts not arriving on time
  • We were too slow in responding to your customer service issues
  • We made too many mistakes in the process of shipping your orders, including shipping things to the wrong address, sending duplicate orders, and shipping the wrong things
  • We failed to proactively communicate to you during this process

We recognize these mistakes and sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused in this process. This post serves to give more insight into why we decided to make this update and provide details on what corrective actions we’ve taken since. More insight on the most prominent issues is visible here.

Why we updated the platform

Our legacy platform may have seemed fine from the outside, but it required constant maintenance, including daily fixes and updates to perform basic functions. In essence, we were duct taping our old system together on a daily basis, and we were concerned that we would run out of duct tape before the end of the year. Given the information we had at the time, we felt the instability of the legacy platform posed a larger risk than performing the update.

Actions taken since platform update

Since the update, we have been focused on assessing and resolving the highest priority issues as quickly as possible. Our warehouse ran overtime through the month of December and into January to get orders shipped as quickly as possible. We have also added 4 more people to our customer support team, who have been working to answer questions as quickly as possible. We are continuing to prioritize the cleaning up of lingering issues, resolving unshipped orders, and responding to unanswered customer service questions.

Looking back, there are several things we would have done differently, but none more critical than communicating in advance of the migration and providing regular updates along the way. With this learning in mind, we have formed an internal action response team with a mandate for proactive customer communication.

VMP has evolved over the years and the reason we’re here remains the same: to experience music more deeply. Despite the issues this update has caused, this could not be truer going into 2020. Whether you are new to VMP, or have been here since the beginning, we are proud to call you a member, and we’re excited for all that 2020 has in store. We look forward to moving ahead and returning to the goal of exploring music together.

Sincerely,

VMP Team

More Details

Details on some of the biggest, most important issues experienced through the update are listed below. For issues that remain unresolved, we are actively resolving these issues and communicating directly with affected customers.

  • Customer service replies — Our customer service team has been backed up since the update. We are working through questions as quickly as possible, and expect to catch up in the next 2 - 3 weeks. Once complete, we will be re-introducing chat, and a few other channels to assist with fast response times.
  • Shipping delays — We fell behind in December as we implemented new fulfillment software. The warehouse ran overtime in Dec to keep up, but many shipments were delayed until late in Dec and into Jan. We have shipped nearly all open orders, including January shipments, with some exceptions noted below and will be refining the fulfillment process to ensure quicker timelines moving forward.
  • Shipments going to the wrong address, getting things you didn’t order — Due to human error in a new process at the warehouse, some orders that were intended to go to multiple people, were instead put into a single box and shipped to a single person. The result is some people getting things they didn’t order, others getting tracking emails that show their order going to the wrong address. We are in the process of notifying / recreating orders for affected people, and have implemented new processes at the warehouse to prevent it from happening again.
  • Things getting shipped to really old addresses — This was due to some data conflicts when importing orders from the old system. These have been resolved (and when orders were shipped to old addresses, new orders have been created / shipped).
  • Unshipped Orders — There are still some unshipped orders, mostly due to orders containing items that are backordered and items on pre-sale. There are other edge cases due to bugs in the software that we are resolving on a case-by-case basis.
  • People getting duplicate orders — Some members reported getting duplicate orders, and getting multiple copies of the same record(s). This was due to bugs when importing orders, as well as bugs in the fulfillment process and should be resolved moving forward.
  • Missing tracking information, not receiving tracking information — In some cases, tracking emails were not going out, and some orders that have shipped are being reported as unfulfilled. This is due primarily to API limitations that we’re in the process of resolving.
  • Various user experience issues — Things like missing subscription information, confusion around changes to the Swaps process, canceling / removing a cancellation, reactivating a subscription, and others. We are in the process of doing an UI / UX audit and will be making improvements in the near future.
  • Legacy gift redemptions, active member gift redemption — Gifts given on the old platform have not been able to be imported, leaving some people getting 404 errors when redeeming a gift. Additionally, active members are not currently able to redeem their gifts for store credit. The CS team has a workaround for both issues.
  • New member gift redemption — There has been some confusion with gift redemptions, including Swaps process and timing of orders. This is something we’re currently investigating and hope to have resolutions for shortly.
  • Data conflicts — The old system was full of undocumented workarounds that caused confusion when importing legacy data. This includes things like order dates for orders made on the old system and tracking information for these orders. Some of these things are low-impact data fields that don’t require fixing.
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