Though 1-800-Flowers.com may have wilted under pressure last Valentine’s Day, company President Chris McCann says it won’t be a perennial problem.
In the business for 40 years, McCann understands why some customers were a little less than impressed with their orders last year. The issue went viral after complaints and photos were posted online (some flowers were wilted and other packages weren’t what customers ordered, if delivered at all).
Related: 2016 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 List
McCann says the hyperbole of social-media platforms made the problem seem much more prominent than it actually was, claiming it was only a small percentage of the 25 million gifts a year across all brands.
“It’s important to keep in mind that we deal with a perishable product, weather challenges and other delivery changes throughout the year,” McCann says. “Things do go wrong. It’s how the company responds to those challenges that really makes a difference.”
For example, because the majority of its orders are made online, 1-800-Flowers.com is one of the few floral businesses offering customer assistance through social media with an average response time of five minutes, according to McCann.
“As a company we’ve grown over the years and continue to grow by focusing on the most important product: the customer experience,” McCann says. “We look at that and what [customers] are trusting us to do and how we can help deliver that smile.”
The key is to understand consumer behavior and start planning two years in advance. Using consumer data to his advantage, McCann determined requests were higher when Valentine’s was on a weekday (because people order products while at work), though the Christmas holiday season is actually the busiest time of year.
As demands increase overall, the company’s begun to encourage its franchisees to use other services such as Uber or Lyft to help with deliveries if needed. McCann says he has empowered them to do anything to reach goals, create quality products and provide quality service.
Not suprisingly, the most common item for 1-800-Flowers.com this time of year is roses. But the company also plans a wide range of products for its flower and edible arrangements. Affiliated stores are in on the action too, preparing staff, supplies and offering their own unique creations on a more local platform.
“It’s all about stepping back,” McCann says, “and looking at the the full customer experience and everything that goes into that.”
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated sales showed an increase last year for the company and 25 million orders were filled. The story has since been updated.
Related: Customers Still Furious Over 1-800-Flowers’ Valentine’s Day Flop