The start of a new year is both a moment of contemplation, looking back at the year before, and an opportunity to look at the future. Introspection, conclusions, changes and adaptations: we have spent a lot of time on those topics during the month of January. The goal? To further improve the customer's experience.
Via this iStill Blog post I want to inform you about what we learned and what we changed. Nothing dramatic, just dotting a few more i's, but I feel it is important to share anyhow.
Where we implemented changes? In our Sales Force, our Support Organization, in the iStill University Program, on the iStill Innovation Agenda, and in our focus.
iStill Innovation Agenda
The last 6 1/2 years have seen us implement the Mother of all Innovation Agendas, whereby iStill has single-handedly pushed the craft distilling industry forward from 1870's technology (when the bubble cap and the Coffey still were invented - two technologies with severe draw-backs, btw) to the 21st Century.
With the 2019 introduction of ABV-Control and the Reflux Capacitor, we strongly feel innovation is about done. The iStills are basically a century and a half ahead of the competition and have reached what's called "innovation maturity", meaning that our new technology is both completely developed and completely rolled-out into our product-line and is available for customers to purchase. Product development and market availability in perfect harmony.
In other words? No major innovations coming up in 2020 and 2021! Instead, a focus on professionalization ... and a slight change in focus on where we make a difference to the craft distilling industry.
When we started growing into international markets, we asked early customers to help us out. This initially informal representation grew into the Wizard Organization, that has supported our cause greatly over the last few years.
But as we grew, more and more the need was felt for a more professional Sales Force to guide new customers into the iStill Family. More professional and more centralized.
To achieve the above goals, we have hired Chris Anker as iStill's new Sales Manager. If you want to find out how iStill can help you out, please know that Chris is available via Chris@iStillmail.com.
Since we value the huge support our existing customer base gives to wannabe iStill customers, we initiated a Referral Fee Program. It aims to make it even more worth your time to help support modern distilling. For more information, please see:
iStill is currently developing a log-in for customers. The log-in is a place where they can find customer information, manuals, FAQ's, bulletins, and the Issue Management Protocol. It aims to improve self-sustainability via online support and is expected to be introduced in March.
If you have urgent iStill-related support questions, please reach out to Support@iStillmail.com. Business as usual, there, and William and his team are ready to follow up.
Most people hugely appreciate the 4-day courses we organize through the iStill University Program. Students rate them with a 9.8 on a 10-point scale. Up until now, we gave courses at iStill HQ in the Netherlands, in the USA, and in Australia.
What we have learned is that the courses in the Netherlands see students from all over the world ... including North America and Australia. Most of the American and Australian students love to take the longer trip to see our facilities and meet the team, and that is hugely appreciated.
Given the fact that we have a complete hall, dedicated to educational purposes, in the Netherlands, we have decided to centralize the iStill University Courses at our Head Quarters. There, we do not have to make any compromises, we are supported by the whole team, to give you the best experience and the most profound distillers education possible. No more courses abroad for 2020 and 2021.
To help mitigate travel expenses, there is a regional discount code for you to benefit from. For more info, see:
Focus on Value Creation
iStill has seen huge growth over the past years. With sales numbers rising by 50 to 100% per year. In a mere 6 1/2 years we have become the world's leading manufacturer of distillation equipment. Over the last years, we have branched out to related industries, like low wines production, contract distilling, and portfolio distilling.
Investigating where we make a difference, where we have the most impact, leads to the following conclusion: it is through our equipment, our technology, and our willingness to share our distillation knowledge that we serve you best. This conclusion helps us focus on where iStill creates the most value for you: in supplying you with advanced distillation equipment and in training you in how to translate the associated theories and technological advantages into benefits for your distillery.
This means that our focus will be on education, equipment, and recipes. In other words: the iStill University, iStill equipment, and our recipe development department. We'll stop low wines production, contract distilling, and portfolio distilling.
As we shift our attention towards professionalizing sales and support, and implement a focus on value creation, something remarkable happens. It is as if iStill (and you?) upshifted a gear or two. The organization feels leaner and meaner. And that feeling is backed up by your appreciation.
January sees a 100% growth in orders, and a 116% rise in leads, supporting the conclusion that we made the right decisions. The year 2020 promises to be another amazing growth-spurt for modern day craft distilling. I am happy and proud that iStill is at the forefront of that development.
At your service,
Drs. H.E.J. (Odin) van Eijk, MScBA, etc.
CEO of iStill.
Odin on focus ...