Let’s face it, the more orders you process, the higher your chances are of running into a problem with an order. However, this is not always a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is an opportunity for you to show why your company is not like the rest.
The only way to do this successfully is to train your staff with a plan and give them steps to accomplishing the results you desire, satisfying your customer.
The truth of any floral experience is that we are usually partially at fault. How we explain this to our customer is part of the resolution.
Here is a personal example:
We delivered flowers to a customer and the happy face balloon was missing. The customer was extremely upset. The order was to include sunflowers and a happy face balloon. This was a crucial bouquet since it was to be given during the customer’s proposal. It was the combination of the sunflowers and smiley balloon that was important.
The customer came into the store and explained what happened. Our agent listened and after hearing the customer offered him a free balloon. The customer stated the surprise was ruined. It was not about the balloon after the fact; it needed to be done correctly from the beginning.
Seeing the customer was still upset, our agent stepped up and offered $5.00 off along with the free balloon. The customer said fine and left.
Because we are so customer service and experience driven, our agent reprinted the order with notes added and left it on my desk to review when I returned the next day. In doing so, I noticed key points that were not covered here. I called the customer and expressed my disappointment in not fulfilling the surprise as he requested. He said he was just preparing to write me a letter. His anger was growing as he drive home. He was upset that the agent felt all this was worth was $5.00. I took this in my own hands and here is the approach I took:
#1 Address and review
I first addressed the concern the customer had. We discussed the meaning of the balloon and how important this combination meant to him. It was most important to LISTEN. I went ahead and reviewed all that occurred. I asked if the flowers were pretty, if they were fresh, and if they were delivered timely. So after addressing that we had delivered a pretty bouquet of fresh cut flowers timely, I took responsibility and apologized for missing the additional balloon that was ordered.
#2 Ask your customer what is a fair resolution
With this being said, I then asked the customer what he felt was a fair resolution. You must put this sensitive matter back in the customer’s hands instead of trying to figure out what the magic number is for a refund. In many cases, customers just want to be heard and know that you care. If you explain all that you did correctly, the customer will never feel a 100% refund is fair. In most cases, the max anyone will ask for is 50%. The key is THEY dictate what THEY feel is fair and you oblige.
There are two kinds of service that will never be forgotten, exceptional and horrible. If you take the time to listen and allow the customer the opportunity to resolve the incident, you will find your company in a better place.
Customer service is a sensitive, VERY delicate, and important part of the local retail experience. Handling every situation with a goal of exceeding expectations will bring you from a potential horrible experience to an exceptional one. I have made more customers out of complaints than people complimenting us.
Look forward to my post in July when I will discuss handling “the OTHER florist did it” issues.
We know how well we run our shops, right? When we send an out of town order, we are only as good as the shop filling and delivering our order. The reason we as a local industry don’t get enough out of town orders is that we don’t ask for them. We also use the magic words that your customers should never hear, which make them NEVER use you for an out of town order again.
I hope you find these ideas helpful and I welcome your feedback. Please write me here or email me with any comments or questions.