In case you missed it last week, Andy and I had some issues with a Valentine’s Day flower order [cliffs notes version: I knew Andy had ordered flowers for me, and was expecting them all day, but they never showed up. Sad face.] I wrote a blog post with my suggestions for how the company should have responded– and then they responded to me directly. I received a blog comment, personal phone call, and an email. Andy also received a phone call and was told he’d receive a refund, and that they’d send me other flowers.
Here’s a long excerpt from the email from Bill at Proflowers explaining what happened:
[For clarity- Andy went to http://www.proflowers.com to make the purchase, and everything up until the final confirmation email indicated Proflowers branding. Florist Express is a partner company, and Andy’s final confirmation email had Florist Express branding. He had chosen proflowers.com because it was advertised on one of his favorite podcasts.]
“First, I feel it is rather important to point out that Florist Express is not ProFlowers. They are a partner company we rely on for situations where our method does not meet our customers’ needs. Our method is sending the freshest flowers out directly from our own locations and our deliveries are made exclusively by either Fedex or UPS. Florist Express instead has a network of local florists, who fill and deliver orders by themselves, so they are able to do same-day deliveries or deliver on a Sunday, as well as making sure the bouquet is presented in a vase with the flowers in bloom. It is our experience that they usually do a good job, but they still operate independently from us and we are not able to effect their results. This difference directly addresses your first suggestion to arrange better relationships/communications with local florists and delivery crews. I have forwarded this feedback to our contact with Florist Express, though I’m sure this is already something they are working on. This same point almost doesn’t apply to ProFlowers, because of the stark difference in how our deliveries are made.
When we send out an order, we do send our customers an email with tracking information. We also monitor these tracking numbers to send an automatic delivery confirmation when the order arrives. Unfortunately, we have found that sometimes the tracking information is not updated as frequently or as soon as it should, and so we are not able to monitor this information to know for sure that an order has not arrived. Instead, we do designate a team to respond to errors that occur in these tracking updates, such as “Invalid address” or “Package has been damaged” and we try to pro-actively respond to unfortunate circumstances like those by researching the address or scheduling replacements as appropriate. When it is clear that the delivery date is extremely important, we may even schedule the replacement to be delivered same-day through Florist Express.
We are sorry for the long waits you guys experienced when you tried calling us. We do try to staff appropriately for the times surrounding Valentine’s Day and did hire many seasonal employees to try to ensure callers did not have to wait too long. Unfortunately, we underestimated the number of representatives we would need for a few periods on the days around the holiday. Our scheduling team normally keeps us within capacity and we hope this can be seen as a bit of an anomaly. Still, Jaynee’s team at the corporate office focuses on resolving complex issues some of our newer agents might not be able to handle, and that is the number we were providing on facebook. It is very rare that there is a wait on that number, since we want customers to be able to respond when we leave a message for them to reach us.
We are still fairly new to facebook, and are exploring how we want to respond to inquiries made on our facebook page. We realize that you do not want to have to call when you’re already communicating with us. We do value our customer’s privacy greatly though and do not intend to ask for their details on our wall, so our answer this time was just to request them to call us. In cases where we were able, we made it a point to be proactive in responding to complaints. Your order was a stand-out as one of very few that we could not find. We do plan to evolve the way we respond to complaints on social media. Our main hope was for people to notice that we do not hide from our mistakes. While we do try to keep them to a minimum, we want to show people that we respond to those mistakes and try to create a positive overall experience. Suffice it to say that many of the complaints you see on our wall involve customers who made their own mistakes though and as we value their privacy the same as everyone else, we will not be pointing them out.
I will close with some more general information about us. When we send our flowers, we guarantee the freshest flowers because we grow them ourselves. Our flowers usually arrive in bud form and come to full bloom within one or two days. We guarantee seven days of freshness once they are received. If a problem occurs within that period, we encourage our customers to call us and our agents will be happy to schedule a replacement or refund a customer’s money, because we are so sure of what we offer. If we know that an item is not going to be available, we remove it as an option on our site. In rare cases where we need to make a substitution, such as an unexpected bad batch of flowers, we make sure to notify our customers by email beforehand as well as refund a portion of the order.
I don’t know if this is the kind of information you were looking for Kristin, but I hope it helps shift your opinion about ProFlowers despite your experience thus far. “
So, there you have it. A very thoughtful, considerate response. I really do appreciate that they took the time to explain what happened, and try to make it right. And for what it’s worth- my dad ordered flowers for my stepmom from Proflowers with absolutely no issues at all. (He forwarded his customer service survey to me to fill out, but I didn’t.) I have friends and co-workers who ordered flowers from other companies and also had negative experiences. And in terms of corporate social media response- Proflowers isn’t alone. A lot of companies are still trying to figure that out. [COMPLETELY Unrelated note: my company has social media strategists who help companies figure this sort of thing out]. I think we all learned a lot from this whole experience. I know I did.