Business Owner Profiles

Retiree Crafts Customer-Focused Grocery Delivery Business by Being “Fastidious about quality” and Sharp Attention to Detail

5 Mins read

Priding himself on his unique ability to secure hard-to-find items for clients, retiree Tim Sauers originally got into grocery delivery to fill a financial gap a departing roommate left behind. A couple months of working with Instacart later he realized, “there’s gotta be a better way to do this,” and since then, Tim’s spent the last 3 years building his business, Bears at Your Service, with Dumpling.

“I’d done, for the most part of my life, retail jobs, and then tech support for AT&T/Boost Technologies doing business loan system repair, which was my first call center job,” Tim explains, “Before that I worked in advertising and marketing.”

When he embarked on his journey in grocery delivery with Dumpling, “I didn’t like the way Instacart treated their customers and shoppers because being a shopper, I experienced it and I’d experienced it from the customer side, too…I just was not impressed,” Tim says, “And I always thought the customer service lacked; the way they handled corrections and changes was archaic…It [seemed like it was] all about getting money from the customer, but not about providing the best service possible.”

His belief in being “fastidious about quality,” didn’t jive with Instacart’s shopping timers, and Tim didn’t feel like he could deliver a superior customer experience and properly fresh produce to his clients. “I shop like I’m shopping for myself, but then, I’ll do better than if I was buying it for myself,” he explains. With Dumpling, he had control over shopping decisions plus his business’ direction.

“You have recommendations from Dumpling to maintain a level of continuity, but generally each person runs their own business the way they see fit,” Tim says, “And now with the online discussions, you get the chance to meet other shoppers and glean insight from them.” It was the supportive community, the ability to build his grocery delivery business in his own way, and Dumpling’s match in customer experience values that drove Tim to continue to work with them over the years.

Quality-Based (Not Ticking-Timer-Based) Business for Delivery Order Excellence

“The ability to have my time slated by myself. I’m not having to be at the store at this time other than what the customer wants so I don’t have to log into the app at 7:00 AM unless I have orders,” Tim explains, “With Instacart, you have to log in when they deem it’s going to be busiest. [With Dumpling], you can actually tell your customers, ‘Here’s my times, place your order,’ and I don’t have to work this day because Instacart tells me to.”

This timeframe flexibility allowed him to create an open schedule, every day from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, but only shop however many orders he’d like within his windows to provide the best possible customer service. “I don’t wanna have to rush through it, and I wanna make sure I’m finding the right items,” he says.

“Dumpling is the best when it comes to being the platform that lets you run your business as your business, not being a contract employee who has to do everything by their standards,” Tim explains, “You have to do your own outreach and don’t have orders just popping on your phone, you have to nurture like a garden, you have to water it and feed it, and pull the weeds out, but that’s what I like about it is the fact that your business personality is shaped by you, not by some guy in an office somewhere saying, ‘Oh, let’s see what we can do to incentivize.’”

As Tim’s been growing, his grocery delivery business went from 5 customers pre-pandemic to 75 customers. “When the pandemic first started, I was one of the fastest growing shoppers I think in Colorado, and those customers are still on my list,” says Tim, “I’ve been getting an increasing number of customers so these past 6 months have been really busy.”

And if Tim ever has any issues, he contacts Dumpling’s SOS and “they fix it right then and there…And [I always thought] there had to be a better way and Dumpling was that way cause even in its infancy, now it’s in its early childhood, with each iteration they improve it that much more,” he explains.

Driving Up Business with Particular Attention to Detail and Perks

“When I switched to doing the Pro Plan, my profits started getting bigger and you can give your customers little gifts and incentives, but don’t give away the store,” Tim says about his financial growth booming by switching Dumpling plans. He also continued to give discounts to quarantined customers to show client care even after Dumpling ceased the incentive.

“I’m retired and on social security so it’s not my main source of income, but it’s more something to do than all about profit, though, it’s reaching a point now where I have to function on a profit level,” explains Tim, “I want to make my business the best I can for my customers, and for me, it’s always been customer focused…My goal is to be able to provide my customers the service they need when they want it, and give the quality of product they want while stressing my ability to get hard-to-find items.”

It’s that superior attention to detail that creates top-star ratings for his business, Bears at Your Service, as well as having patience with scaling and customers. “Growing your business with patience just when you think it’s going to fizzle out or you want to give it up all of a sudden bam, you’re shopping three times a day, five days a week,” Tim says, “Providing excellent customer service is largely just, ‘Do unto others as you would want them to do to you,’ but my big thing is meeting their needs, being friendly, and throwing in a perk here and there.”

For example, he mentioned to a Trader Joe’s cashier that one of his client’s children loved the yellow suckers they give at checkout so she gave him an entire produce bag of them. “It would’ve been 5 bucks worth of suckers, and the kid when I handed it to him, he’s like, ‘Oh my God!’ And that was awesome, and he has a high peanut allergy so I have to look at every product, read the fine print, make sure there’s no peanut exposure,” explains Tim, “That’s why my customers like shopping with me…They appreciate the fact that I take the time to make sure their son is not going to get sick from what he eats.”

Following up with customers about their orders, ensuring each delivery meets their needs, and knowing they’re happy with their products are key to a thriving grocery delivery business, he says, and “the better you get to know your customer, the better your service will be cause you’ll always know what they want.”

Dumpling gives you the flexibility, business framework, and customer relationship tools to grow plus through the building process, Tim’s learned how to set himself apart by “being able to find something when a customer says, ‘I really need this,’ and I can say, ‘Yeah, I have a source for that,’ they think you’re a miracle worker, and that’s cool.”

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