Here’s the thing with sending gifts, particularly gifts of flowers. You generally don’t call up the recipient ahead of time and say, “hey, expect some flowers on Saturday.” A big part of the gift is the delight and element of surprise. Aaron ordered some Mother’s Day flowers for his mom from 1800Flowers.com, and only learned that his order hadn’t showed up later in the week when he noticed she hadn’t mentioned them. Okay, they hadn’t delivered the flowers, but why didn’t they notify him, and why did they keep the money?
He blogged about this misadventure:
I ordered flowers for my mother from 1-800-FLOWERS on May 2, scheduled to be delivered May 12 or 13 — May 13 being Mothers’ Day — and they processed my order, taking the money from my account as expected. What they didn’t do, however, was deliver the flowers.
Nor did they let me know they didn’t deliver the flowers: I had to find this out myself. Thinking it odd that my mom hadn’t mentioned the flowers (she’s always very conscientious about such things), I logged into my 1-800-FLOWERS account to check the order status today (May 17) and there it was: “Order Placed”. Now, they’d processed the order and taken my money, but after that? Nothing.
I called their customer service line and after waiting on hold for ten minutes (clearly I’m not the only irate customer the company has right now) I was finally connected with a customer service representative who checked the details I provided him and to his credit, immediately issued a full refund. (Of course, I have only their assurance this refund will actually happen, and that assurance isn’t worth much in my eyes right now.) However, this doesn’t address the primary problem: why didn’t they let me know there was a problem with the order? It’s a full four days after the delivery date, which they have in their system, and their system also contains the order status as uncompleted. I’m not a computer science wizard, but I do know that given those two fields, a simple query should be able to pull up all orders that have not been fulfilled.
One would think following a major flower delivery holiday like Mothers’ Day that a competent and conscientious company might want to make sure their customers received the services they paid for, but apparently 1-800-FLOWERS does not feel that to be a priority. After all, they had my money — the important part of the transaction to them — so why worry about the rest? I just double-checked, and they have both my current email and phone number on my account.
I brought this up to the CSR, who (yes, in heavily accented English) apologized. And apologized again. In fact, that’s pretty much all he did was say “Yes sir, I do apologize” and so forth. However, he couldn’t give me any excuse for the indisputable fact that they processed my order, took my money, and then completely failed to follow up on their end. The best he could tell me was that there were no available florists in the area to fulfill the order, but their system supposedly takes that into account up front, limiting the arrangements that are available for delivery in a given area based on availability. I mentioned that and he had no answer for me. He also had no answers for me on why they processed my order and took my money before issuing any flowers, nor why I wasn’t contacted regarding this problem. Surely someone at 1-800-FLOWERS management should realize that flowers ordered for Mother’s Day should perhaps be delivered when promised? And if they can’t
be or won’t be for whatever reason, that proactively letting your customers know there’s a problem and you’re working to solve it or at least mitigate the circumstances is a better strategy than burying your head in the sand and hoping people don’t realize there’s a problem? I have to assume they chose the latter because let’s face it: if I hadn’t followed up to check this out I would have just assumed the flowers were delivered as promised, my mother would have assumed I hadn’t sent her flowers, and they would have just KEPT THE MONEY. That is a totally unacceptable way to do business…
1-800-FLOWERS ruins Mothers’ Day, has no excuse [Aaron’s blog]