A Conversation with Client Services
We recently sat down with Carla from our Client Services (CS) team to get to know her, her role as Head of Client Services, and how she and her whole team help our customers succeed in their hydroponic container farming ventures. Catch the conversation with her and her team members in our full webinar!
This blog post is part one of a three-part blog series re-capping our most recent webinar:
(Currently Reading) Anyone Can Farm, Here's How!
A conversation with Carla Pantuosco, Head of Client Services
Become a Container Farmer in 2 Days
A conversation with Julia Pope, Head of Farmer Education
When the Growing Gets Tough, Call Dave
A conversation with Dave Harris, Lead Product Support Specialist
Also, check out our bonus questions, which are exclusively answered in this blog post!
To start, Carla gave us the broad overview of Client Services.
Here at Freight Farms, the CS team is about more than just traditional tech support. The main idea, Carla explained, is that we’re proactive, not just reactive. That means that while we offer traditional phone support, we have on-boarding, relationship management, and training services, as well as a Help Center and Freight Farmer Community Forum.
These proactive services are designed to teach farmers how to “fish”. We want them to have the tools to make their hydroponic farm as successful as possible and to be confident to operate it on their own, instead of immediately calling support whenever they run into an issue.
FF: Can you go into more detail about “relationship management”?
Carla: Relationship management is a big role for our account managers. At first, they'll help you get ready for your farm's arrival (site prep, financing, scheduling), and once it arrives they'll help you launch it! However, the relationship doesn’t end there. From launch to your first harvest, they will check in with you for all major growing milestones and forecast any issues that you might have. For example, if we know you’re going to be transplanting seedlings into the crop columns for the first time, they’ll give you a call and send you some helpful videos and articles. After the first harvest, they will still check in every month or so to see how things are going with the farm and with your business, customers, and community.
FF: Are there any add-on services that we offer our customers?
Carla: Beyond our basic services, we offer on-site training, in-person farm launch (we help you launch the farm), in-person support (we come and help you troubleshoot problems in person), and farm tours of our Boston HQ farm (separate from Farm Camp).
FF: How does the Client Services team support farm delivery?
Carla: After we make sure your future farm site meets our guidelines, we work with you to figure out a delivery date and coordinate the pick up, delivery, and placement of your farm. While our customers are more than welcome to take care of delivery logistics on their own, we’ve gone through the process almost 200 times and very familiar with our logistics team, and they’re familiar with us and the Leafy Green Machine.
Handling A Diverse Clientele
Carla also discussed how we support our diverse set of farmers. With Leafy Green Machines operating in 36 states and 10 countries, we have farmers from all walks of life. Carla explained that the training we give new farmers is the big equalizer. Our services are helpful for everyone, regardless of prior farming experience, because we’ve designed them for beginners. Everyone can learn how to farm hydroponically inside one of our shipping container farms.
Our Promise to You
Next, Carla touched upon the Freight Farms SLA (Service Level Agreement). This is a pledge that the CS team makes to uphold a standard of support. For example, we have an SLA to answer 89% of phone calls during regular business hours and return the other 11% within 2 hours. And, while we may not solve your issue immediately, we can guarantee that someone on the team will be aware of your problem and actively work to solve it within two hours of receiving the call.
You Bought a Farm, Now What?
We also got Carla talking about the age-old question: what happens after I buy a farm? Get all the details on the on-boarding process in our dedicated blog post: So I Bought a Container Farm… Now What?
FF: How does this apply to international customers?
Carla: We give international customers all the same support. The only main difference can be the time differences between farmers and the CS team, meaning that the response times might be a little bit longer. However, we truly believe that every farmer is trained to deal with issues that might arise, especially with the use of the Help Center.
FF: What happens if I have an problem over the weekend?
Carla: Usually this isn’t an issue – actually, the reason we don’t have a large weekend support program is that very few of our calls come in during non-business hours. And, with the majority of issues, two days will have very little, if any, effect on your crops. However, if it’s an emergency, there is a CS team member that will be monitoring our email and phone over the weekend.
You asked: Is there any cost to get customer support after purchase?
Carla: The majority of our client services are included in the cost of the unit! The only exception is Farm Camp, which is $2,500 for two key operators. From there, our add-on services will have additional costs – see them on farmhand® Shop!
You asked: How long does it take so ramp up the LGM?
Carla: The timing can vary on a case-by-case basis, but you can harvest your first crops 6-8 weeks after launching the farm. However, we usually say that your first 1-2 harvests are still very experimental for you, so plan on being comfortable with container farming by the 3rd harvest.