Store it Cold believes in world class service, in real world time. We spoke with Customer Support Team Member, Pete Burns, to hear more about his job and how the CoolBot team operates. A slightly edited transcript of the conversation can be found below.
Pete, how long have you been part of the Store it Cold family and how did you first hear about us?
“I started with CoolBot on November 28th of last year. I had been a customer for a long time, and built my first DIY cooler back in 2016. I used that one for a number of years, built two more in 2020, and then just recently last fall built two more coolers and I’m using those two coolers right now. I’ve used quite a few and have been a customer of Store it Cold for a long time. Then, I saw the job opening through the email that Julia sends out every so often. I’ve been farming for a long time and was looking for a little bit more income. Once I saw the job opportunity come up, I inquired about it. I interviewed with Freddy shortly after applying and hit it off with him. He offered me the job and here I am. It’s great because I get to work for a product I love and believe in wholeheartedly. How can you beat that?”
What does the typical day for Pete look like at Store it Cold?
“I start at 8:00 am Central Time in the morning and this time of year it’s been super busy with a variety of phone calls. We take everything from folks building their own coolers, cooler design, air conditioning, sizing, etc. We also deal with a lot of troubleshooting this time of year as well. Icing up problems, coolers specifically and not cooling. Then we also get a little bit of the quotes for walk-in coolers and some sales type calls. However, we primarily handle troubleshooting and DIY calls.”
What do you have going on in your day-to-day life at your farm?
“I grew up farming. My parents had a produce farm growing up. I got a lot more into the livestock side of things. As I got older, I did an apprenticeship with Joel Salatin in 2004-2005 and that was just tremendous. Farming is my passion and that’s what I love doing, it just doesn’t pay very much. I’ve always been involved in agriculture in one form or another. Day-to-day, my family and I have a small micro dairy farm. We are milking five cows right now, so we’re up at 5:30 am milking the cows every morning before work. We strain the milk, bottle it directly, and put it into our cooler. We also raise broiler chickens, some pigs, a handful of sheep, laying hens, and Thanksgiving turkeys. We butcher chickens about twice a month through the summer months. We’re in the process, also, of building an on-farm butcher shop, which has been a long time coming, but that’s a whole other story. We’re hoping to be able to process deer this fall fairly heavily. Life is busy, life is crazy, but it’s fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
I understand you have years of hands on CoolBot experience; tell us more about that.
“I don’t remember how I originally heard about the CoolBot back in 2016 when I designed my first cooler, but I did a bunch of research and poured over all the material on the website, which is just amazing. I got my first Frigidaire air conditioner, put it in. We had a small butcher shop in Pennsylvania at that time and I just couldn’t believe how quickly it cooled the room down. It held the room at 34 degrees, no problem whatsoever. We put tons of meat in there, especially beef, pork, and deer. We crammed that thing full of meat and never had any problems at all.”
The WiFI enabled CoolBot Pro has made a splash in recent years and is becoming more popular by the day. What do you feel are the key advantages of the Pro and what makes it so attractive to the next generation of customers?
“The CoolBot Pro is an amazing tool. I personally don’t have any of the Pros right now, but I kind of wish I did. I didn’t buy them when I installed this cooler because I don’t have consistent WiFi where my cooler is right now, but it really transforms the way you can keep an eye on your cooler. Just a few minutes ago in fact, one of my air conditioners had tripped off at the plug and I have another monitoring system in there that alerted me that the cooler was getting too warm, so I was able to go out and fix the problem. If it had been a Pro, I could have seen exactly what was going on, but I had to go out and figure it out. The pro gives so much more ability to monitor what’s going on from a support side. It gives us a lot of tools to be able to see exactly what the temperatures are and pinpoint exactly what the problem is. I know the sales have been pushing higher and higher with the Pro and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go.”
What is the key to the Customer Centric culture at CoolBot?
“It’s a fantastic culture. Putting the customer first has always been the mantra for the company. We’re willing to bend over backwards to make sure a customer is treated well. There’s a lot of times where the issue that they’re experiencing is even out of our hands. It’s been a lot of shipping issues lately, but there’s only so much we can do in that regard. However, that doesn’t stop us from doing everything for the customer. That’s really what makes the company, in my opinion, is just the customer comes first no matter what.”
What is the most unusual support call / case you have handled? What is the most common support call, DIY instructions, sensor trouble, etc?
“Let’s see, the most unusual call was from a guy that was starting an ostrich farm. To my best recollection, he was processing the ostrich and was keeping them cold in the cooler. That was definitely a unique call, for sure. You see a lot of unique applications to the CoolBot and it’s pretty cool. I talk to customers every day about something new. As far as the most common question I receive, especially this time of year, is the air conditioner icing up when the temperatures outside are approaching 100 degrees. In some areas of the country, the air conditioners are working harder, and icing up is the number one troubleshooting call, for sure. During the winter time It’s more of the opposite of “How do I keep my cooler from freezing?”
CoolBot now sells an all-inclusive Walk-in cooler featuring the CoolBot Pro and LG Air Conditioner. Can you tell us about the turnkey CoolBot cooler, features, drawings, advantages for the customer?
“Yeah, it’s really cool that we now offer the walk-in coolers as a complete package for folks who don’t have time, don’t have the know-how, or don’t want to build their own. The walk-in cooler is just fantastic. Freddy got me down to Florida to build one, and it was a great experience to be able to get my hands on one. There ended up being an issue with one of the panels, so we had to work through that, but it was good to see what can go wrong too. It’s a great option for many folks and offers a turnkey solution that’s even better insulated than anything you can build yourself.”
How do you CoolBot clients or folks looking to purchase the CoolBot connect with the support team?
“You can easily just call us or shoot us an email. Any questions, we’re always happy to answer anything you may have for us. We’re happy to walk through any questions, cooler designs, etc. We’re not necessarily experts in your particular field that you might be using the coolbot for, but all four of us have talked to a lot of people over the time and we know quite a bit about individual verticals as well. I feel we have a lot of knowledge across a lot of fields and are really able to help customers because of that, since we are able to talk to so many people every day.”
What are some of the questions or ideas should someone be thinking about a CoolBot or CoolBot Pro consider?
“If there’s any question at all, I’d say go for the Pro for sure. There’s just so many advantages to it. One of the common things that we get asked or told is when a customer tells us , “We don’t have WiFi where the cooler is” or “We’re out in the middle of nowhere, there’s no WiFi.” That’s true for many folks, you might be able to install WiFi down the road or have that ability to add it in later. Whereas if you just purchase the generation six, then you have to purchase the jumper and data cable later on, which is more added expenses for you.So, I would just suggest you go with the Pro in the first go-around to avoid any unnecessary issues later on. The CoolBot Pro does require a fairly consistent WiFi signal , and we do get that feedback sometimes too. You need to make sure you have a good signal where you’re going to put your cooler, and if that means adding a booster, that works well for a lot of folks. We don’t want people going into it thinking it’s going to work and they’re 200 yards from the router, you’re going to have some trouble. However, if you can boost that signal, then it’s going to work great for you.”
You spent much of your time supporting the passions of others: agriculture, floral, dairy, hunting and meat processing, bar & tap, rooms, etc. What does Pete like to do for fun in his downtime?
“I don’t get much down time nowadays, between running a farm and five young boys of my own and working for Coolbot, life keeps me busy. Although, I was able to take my boys camping this weekend. I love being able to spend time with them, especially when we get to go outside and camp. I also enjoy hunting when I get the chance, but I really enjoy working this job and helping people out because I’ve used the product for so long and seen what it can do. It’s fun, I really enjoy what I’m doing.”
Pete, how would you describe the CoolBot team and culture in 30 words?
“It’s a great team, we work really well together, always putting the customer first in everything we do, and have fun doing it.”
Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Pete!