The last few weeks have been very busy; the spring piglet sales are in full swing, and I've sold 400 piglets so far, which is a good start, and generally speaking piglet sales are fun. They're cute, they are popular, people are happy to get them (and I'm secretly happy to send them away!) and it's actually a major source of revenue for the farm.
But after selling a few hundred I got a call from a customer that one of the piglets she'd purchased from me had died. A short time later I heard from another customer, and then a third customer. Eventually I learned that 11 piglets had died.
On one hand 11 piglets sounds like a big number, but out of 400 it's less than 3%. But I'd rather not have even 3% of the piglets not work out for the customer, and I do gaurantee my pigs, so to each customer I offered a full refund or a replacement pig, and they all chose replacement pigs. So I made arrangements and delivered the replacement pigs.
It's this sort of episode that you'll almost never see talked about on farm blogs, but it's really a defining moment for most businesses - what do you do when things don't go well?
It's really an opportunity to figure out what you're made of. If you think about how you'd like to be treated, you're probably like me. I'd like someone to be honest with me, tell me the truth about what's going on, and make it as right as they can, as quickly as they can. It's funny, but I've found with a 100% guarantee, even if there is a mishap or problem, like this, people trust me and continue to do business with me.
I've sent one of the dead pigs off to a swine scientist to see if I can get a diagnosis of what killed it, and I've stopped selling pigs for a while to see if there are any other problems. I'd much rather handle it here at the farm than have it become a customer problem. So I'll work through it, but after criticizing other farm blogs for not showing the other side of the story, I thought I'd share this with you guys.
This is what transparent farming looks like to me.