Setting Up Positive Reinforcement

About a month ago there was a problem with the automated inventory system that I built for Detailed Image.  Whenever I ran tests it worked fine, but Greg kept telling me it was off.  After looking into the issue, I made a fix that I thought would solve the problem, but certainly couldn’t be 100% sure until we saw it live.  We need accurate inventory for accounting and re-ordering, so I decided we should figure out how accurate the system was sooner rather than later.

I began copying myself on the Detailed Image order emails so that I could manually track inventory myself.  This way I’d have an excel spreadsheet that I could compare with our database and prove without a doubt we were completely accurate.  After a few days and 15-20 orders, it became apparent that I had fixed the problem.  Funny thing was, I didn’t want to stop getting the order emails:  I was really enjoying seeing the orders coming through.

Previously I saw no need to see the order confirmation emails.  Greg does the majority of the packing and shipping, so I always looked at it as extra emails clogging up my inbox.  Every few days George or Greg would tell me how sales were going, and that seemed good enough.  When it comes to Detailed Image, Mike and I don’t do much more than the web development (meaning that George and Greg handle marketing, content creation, customer service, manage the supply chain, and fulfill the orders).

Once I started getting the emails though, I started realizing the impact that the positive reinforcement was having on my day.  When you add up all the emails I get from clients, my partners, and customer service from our sites, the majority are not ‘good news’.  Most are things I’d rather not deal with:  ‘can you help me with XYZ?’  or ‘I messed up something on my site, can you fix it’ or ‘your site sucks I want a refund’.  I pretty much hated checking my email for a while.

Now I look forward to checking my email.  In addition to Detailed Image orders (which Mike now receives also), I started kicking myself emails for other stuff like when someone downloads a Faceup eBook or signs up for a Premium Price Guide Account.  It allows me to see the positive results of what we’ve done each and every day.  Since I see the crappy emails everyday whether I like it or not, it makes a huge difference to also see the positive ones.   Seeing each and every order is better than just getting a weekly sales update.  The impact on the business is the same, but the impact on my morale is very different.

4 comments on Setting Up Positive Reinforcement

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Jason Rakowski

  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks Jason – glad to have you as a reader!

  3. […] in February I wrote a post about positive reinforcement.  At the time we were just realizing how important it was for all four of us to see the positive […]

  4. […] receive emails that you need.  Yes, we set up positive reinforcement emails that are somewhat unnecessary – those are great for spirits – but I’m talking about those 50 […]

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