Model O Post-Launch Analysis and Public Transparency Report
June 20, 2019
Photo credit: @ChandlerBeers
With the first month of the Model O launch behind us, I wanted to take some time and discuss how it all went. You've all been instrumental in our success, and I feel an obligation to provide as much transparency as possible.
Saying it’s been a wild ride would be a massive understatement. Glorious has grown fairly rapidly over the last several years, but the past few months have been truly explosive. Even knowing the high pre-launch hype, we were blown away by the momentum of the takeoff.
Once some of the reviewers we’ve followed for years started saying things like, “This might be the best gaming mouse I’ve ever used”, we knew we’d achieved something special.
For most, the Model O is just a mouse. But for some, it’s a big step in the right direction - a symbol of support for enthusiast gamers in an industry that typically only sees them as future dollar signs. We’re honored that so many people have stood behind both this product and our small brand.
Of course, as a still young company, there have been plenty of hiccups and lessons learned throughout the process (some of which most companies will probably never have to deal with). All of this has kept us on our toes, and we’re better off for it.
Over the past several weeks, our staff has grown more than 3X. Numerous international partnerships have been signed, many more are in the works. Development on new projects continues at full speed. We have some BIG plans in the works, and we’re excited to make you a part of it.
To date, we have shipped tens of thousands of Model O units to over 120 countries.
More than 80% of people who reserved units completed their orders through our site (and a fair number opted to purchase from international retailers instead). Initial stock was sold out from our store within the first week. We recently shipped out Wave 3 backorders, with a big supply shipment due to arrive next month.
We remain committed to our promise to keep the Model O accessible & in-stock; we are very close to that goal.
Between rave customer reviews, international attention, and volume of distribution... along with a marketing budget close to $0… we can officially mark this launch as an unequivocal success.
From day 1 of development, quality was a top priority. We were determined to do this right regardless of cost. Even as hype pressure mounted, we delayed launch until we could ensure every detail of the mouse was as close to perfect as we could get it.
For future reference, we will always put quality over a launch date estimate.
We pushed our suppliers well beyond the industry-standard QC benchmarks, and hired additional auditing staff to ensure things went smoothly.
From a QC standpoint, the Model O exceeded both manufacturer benchmarks and our own expectations. The confirmed defect rate has been less than 1% of the tens of thousands of units already shipped and delivered.
The 2 most commonly user-reported issues have been “loose mouse buttons", and “sidewall clicks”. However, the vast majority of reports we’ve examined have been well within acceptable limits for even strenuous gaming use.
That said, although the actual defect rate is very small, a relatively high percentage of those customers did seem to post about their issues on Reddit and other social media. This is one of the unique issues I mentioned earlier, and no doubt a direct result of the hype & high expectations surrounding this release.
The upside to these posts was that it kept customers on the look-out for defects, and allowed us to proactively track potential new issues.
The downside was that some of these public posts caused a degree of unwarranted panic, compelling certain customers to test their mice well beyond the limits of reasonable gaming use. We received numerous videos of users violently grabbing & wiggling their buttons, or squeezing their sidewalls with enough force to crush a watermelon. Don't do this.
However, a small portion of units did in fact exhibit real defects which could affect gameplay - all of these were handled by our CS staff. If you think your unit may have a genuine defect, we encourage you to contact our support team so we can handle the issue.
Quality remains a paramount concern for our company. We are diligently logging any reported issue, and are actively working with our suppliers to further reduce the defect rate. Model O will continue to improve with each supply run.
Shipping & Logistics
After receiving an extremely high volume of reservations, we expanded our fulfillment operations in preparation for the launch. This included adding new warehouses across the US, ramping up staffing, and partnering with new international distributors.
We were able to ship over 95% of units out within the 5 business day target timeframe.
One issue we frequently encountered was with some customers confusing the 5 day order fulfillment estimate as a 5 day delivery estimate - thus expecting their orders sooner. We are clarifying the language in our communication to hopefully help reduce future confusion.
The majority of orders exceeding the time frame were affected by relatively brief, but unavoidable delays caused by the Memorial Day holiday weekend (and in many cases, customers not seeing their shipment confirmation email).
One of the biggest challenges we’ve encountered has been with carriers giving delayed or inadequate tracking information to recipients. This can create a lot of confusion and anxiety for customers. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over carriers’ tracking systems, but we’re exploring all options that could help keep customers informed.
We have plans for more expansion of our logistics operations to further reduce order processing times, increase customer awareness, and improve overall customer experience during periods of high volume.
To make our products more accessible to international customers, we’ve been working diligently to expand our network of international distributors (and the retailers they work with).
Since the Model O launch, we’ve received orders from over 20+ new distributors around the world. Many of these will soon carry the full suite of Glorious products if they don’t already. We’ve also recently added Microcenter as our current sole US-based brick & mortar retailer.
We continue to seek out new international distributors in regions of high customer interest as we expand global operations.
If you’ve followed Glorious for any period of time, you’ll know that one of our calling cards has always been delivering fast, responsive, and knowledgeable customer support. We hate long wait times and automated support as much as you do. Before this launch, our typical support response time was less than 24 hours.
We scaled the support team in anticipation of a large influx of tickets. However, this was initially still not enough. The volume of support inquiries far outpaced the typical percentage of order volume. At highest volume, average support response times went up to around 60 hours.
This appeared to be another instance of a unique side effect of the unprecedented popularity of this launch.
With customer anticipation far above typical levels, we received a much higher than normal percentage of tickets from customers inquiring about their order status prior to given estimates, checking if they were on backorder, or asking about delayed tracking updates from the carrier (things covered in our FAQs). We took this uptick as a signal for us to improve our communications throughout the ordering & fulfillment process.
Unfortunately, we also encountered many people trying to abuse the RMA system.
This included attempts to get a free mouse by emailing support videos already publicly posted on Reddit/Twitter (don’t do this btw, we’ll know). In other cases, we found a simple social media post could cause a domino effect of concerned customers submitting tickets to check on their own orders (i.e. Someone else in Canada already received their order, where is mine?”).
These types of tickets unfortunately flooded our support queue, creating some delays responding to higher priority tickets (such as lost items, actual dead on arrival units, defects etc.).
To help remedy these issues, we tripled the size of our existing support team in the last few weeks. We’ve had the support desk staffed 24/7 answering tickets and optimized prioritization workflows. When necessary, we even put our administration team all-hands-on-deck (at one point everyone was voluntarily putting in 18+ hour days answering tickets, even over Memorial Day weekend - I am so grateful to have an amazing dedicated team!).
In addition, we temporarily disabled live support chat, and enabled an autoresponder FAQ email to cut back on easily solvable inquiries, ensuring high priority cases are seen first.
Reminder to make sure you reply to the auto responder email if you need your post seen by a CS agent.
We’ve also expanded our public knowledge base, increased the frequency of user notifications, and have worked with the /r/MouseReview mods to ensure CS inquiries are directed to the right place. As a result, we’ve cut first response times down to 24-48 hours, and are returning to our typical (desired) CS standards.
Our goal is to continue to expand & improve our support operations - re-enabling live support chat as soon as possible is a top priority.
Next Steps & Future
We are excited about our new growth, and confident in our ability to continue to scale to meet the new demand. We remain committed to our core values, and prioritizing customer satisfaction over all else.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be making some big announcements regarding some new products in the shoot we think you’ll all be anxious to hear about.
I created Glorious PC Gaming Race 5 years ago essentially as an experiment, largely inspired by the Reddit PC gaming community. Since then, through the support of many, it's turned into something I would never have dreamed possible in this relatively short period of time.
Thank you again to all of you who have helped make this a reality. We have ascended - together.
- Shazim Mohammad
Founder of Glorious PC Gaming Race