Thanks again to everyone who took the time to provide detailed, thoughtful, and candid input in our recent Customer Survey. The responses are interesting and we wanted to share some insights:
- Many of you shared fond memories of our original Chinatown teahouse. Although this beloved location is now gone, it's great to know that it's not forgotten and you love it as much as we do!
- Only about 25% of people who interact with us live here in the Bay Area, although half of you have visited one of our teahouses at some point. The rest stay in touch through our online store, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, this blog! Several of you specifically praised our new Sudden Specials program on Twitter. Stay tuned, we'll be offering more of those! As to all who passed on kind words about this blog, thanks for the encouragement. It's a labor of love and we're pleased that we're providing a fun, useful way to share our passion for fine Chinese tea with tealovers around the world.
- Although a few folks asked for more choices among Japanese and Western-style teas, 93% of you say Chinese tea is your favorite style of tea.
- Budget: 75% say you spend about $10-$60 a month on tea and teaware. That directly ties into another issue we heard a lot, price. This comment was typical: "I know high quality does not come cheap, so I buy what I can afford, look for specials, and treat myself when I can." Bottom line, especially with the difficult economy today, many people are looking for value-priced traditional-style teas that are still interesting and delicious. In the future we'll do a better job of identifying and promoting affordable options to our finest teas, which are increasingly rare and expensive as the vast Chinese consumer market becomes more affluent and interested in traditional culture.
- On a related note, several of you asked if there was anything we could do about shipping prices in the online store. We looked into it and were pleased that the answer was yes! As noted earlier here on the blog, we were able to negotiate a better deal with UPS. If shipping cost has been an obstacle for you, check out our new rates.
- Speaking of the online store, we also received some complaints about parts of the site that aren't working properly, as well as requests for features that competitors offer but we don't have yet. We're as frustrated as you by the store's outdated technology, and we're in the midst of a major project to rebuild the store from the ground up with a new back end that employs all the latest technology. Look for this exciting new venture to go live sometime in Q4.
- Another frequent request: more face time with Roy. Several of you said you'd like to travel to China with Roy next year. We hear you and are planning to offer one or two tea tours in 2010. You also asked for more tea classes. In the past classes have been sporadic, but we're pulling together a more structured curriculum. More details will be available on both opportunities as plans firm up.