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Six Simple Steps for Sensational Customer Service

Outstanding customer service is truly an art form and simply doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. Like most skills, it takes practice and a positive attitude to perfect.

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to customer service and it’s up to your entire sales team to make sure every customer is treated with the professional level of service you’re known for, and that their shopping experience with you is as positive as can be.

You can deliver the most beautiful flowers in town, but if you shop is lacking in customer service, that may be all your customers remember about their experience with you and may likely cause them to seek out alternative options next time they order flowers.

No matter how much we pride ourselves on customer service, there is always room for improvement and it typically starts with the basics. Here are six simple tips that will help create a foundation for a more professional in-store experience for your customers:

  1. Name tags – Customers expect a personalized experience when shopping with reputable companies. A simple name tag indicates you care, and that your customer knows your name when working with your company. Having shirts with your company logo is also important - not only for brand visibility, but also because they create the appearance of an organized team. There is a level of respect and professionalism you earn when you greet your customer with appropriate company attire. People like to do business with people they trust.

  2. Walk around the counter – Joining the customer while they take a look around the shop adds so much value to their shopping experience. This is a practice used by many quality retailers that takes very little training. Join your customer and take your time with them, don’t forget to share your smile, as this will convey a positive and upbeat attitude. Never make them feel rushed, but feel free to make product suggestions or offer your expertise. They will always remember the personal service and attention.

  3. Surveys – Offer a survey on the customer’s receipt. Have your employees circle it and encourage the customers to fill it out. You can even offer a discount on their next visit for completing the survey. Your customers should be proud to fill out your survey regarding their experience in your shop and you will benefit from the valuable feedback.

  4. Offer help to the car – Offer to help your customer by carrying their arrangement out to their car. This is a nice way to see them out the door. It takes very little effort and sends them off with a positive personal experience that is rare in today’s retail world. Again, simple actions like this need to be planned if it is to happen on a regular basis and become a part of your culture.

  5. Get your priorities straight – The most important customer is the customer in the store. Greet customers immediately when they walk in the door. If you can’t assist them, assign someone to do so promptly. Customers are far less likely to turn around and walk out if they have already been greeted. The customer on the phone should be your second priority. A ringing phone is your alert to new business, but remember that the customer on the phone cannot see what else you’re doing while the customer in the store can see you choose the phone over them.

  6. Have a Yes We Can attitude – Being a Yes We Can florist simply means never saying “no” to a customer’s request. This doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to every request, but you should be able to offer viable alternatives and let the customer decide which course of action they prefer. If someone is willing to pay $100 to make a delivery at midnight, don’t you think you’ll be able to find an employee who’s up for the job – with a nice little bonus to go along with it? Not only is having a Yes We Can attitude a win-win situation for both you and your customer, it also makes your shop shine when it comes to customer service.

If you need some help with your customer service or would like to become a Yes We Can florist, Bloomerang Solutions is here to help! Drop us a line below or give us a call at (941) 806-1911 and let us know what we can do to help make your business bloom!

How to Handle Customer Complaints

We always strive for perfection but sometimes mistakes happen. Maybe an arrangement didn’t make the delivery or some flowers may not have developed as they should have. Whatever the case, you need to have a plan in place to deal with any issues that may arise. With such a high volume of orders and deliveries in such a short time period, even the most careful planning and execution won’t guarantee that every customer will be happy. So what do you do when customers call to complain?

1) Addressing and understanding the concerns is the first step

The biggest mistake you can make is preparing a solution before getting on the phone. In many cases, you don’t know what the customer expects as far as a resolution, so offering them a refund or discount may not be appropriate and could make the situation worse. Instead, listen to their complaint and ask them what they think a fair resolution would be and go from there. If you can meet what their expectations are, they’re going to feel a lot better getting off the phone.

2) Keep in mind that the holidays can get hectic and emotions can run hot

The holidays are meant to be joyous occasions spent celebrating with loved ones but everyone's level of holiday cheer - or lack thereof - is a bit different. For some, holiday shopping and decorating can be more of a stressful chore than a pleasurable experience. That doesn't excuse bad attitudes or Grinch-like behavior but it is important to be sensitive and understanding, even when your customers are not. Some customers may even take it to the extreme and elevate an already uncomfortable circumstance. Be prepared if this happens and do what you can to diffuse the situation so cooler heads can prevail.

3) It’s all about the closing and how you end the incident that happened

If a customer does not ask for anything, now is your chance to exceed their expectations. You could offer to send the recipient a note stating it was your shop’s fault and letting the customer know your name and that you will personally assist them next time they call. You have the opportunity to earn more customers off of complaints than you ever do off of compliments. It’s how you approach that complaint and what you do with it. Remember, they’re already upset, you can only make it better – it probably can’t get much worse.

If you would like help with customer service techniques, Bloomerang Solutions is here for you! From digital solutions to in-store sales and marketing assistance, Bloomerang is your friend in the floral business! Give us a call at 941-806-1911 or drop us a line below and let us know how we can help your business bloom!

Customer Service: It's Your Responsibility to be a Problem Solver

When I owned Beneva Flowers I relied on surveys to ensure that our customers were happy with the experience and service they received from Beneva. How else would I ever know? I recently had a client of mine wonder why they were not converting so I set out on a little mission to see for myself what their service was like from a customer's point of view.

I called the shop (with the owner on the line) and tried to get some flowers sent that afternoon. While her employee knew better, she still said no to my request and told me she couldn't take my order because the last deliveries had already gone out.

That was it, there was nothing they could do for a customer who may have been willing to go to great lengths or spare any expense to get the flowers delivered. None of that mattered to the employee, it was a firm "no" - end of discussion.

When the shop owner heard this, I didn't even need to explain why they weren't converting, the owner picked up on the problem right away.

Yes We Can

Being a Yes We Can florist is a commitment of attitude. This is the difference between you and your competitor; it's assuring the best experience possible for every customer and finding a way to make it happen.

Another way to look at it is a problem-solving technique. The customer has a problem - he needed flowers delivered that day - and it's up to the shop to decide if they want to help that customer fix their problem, or tell them "sorry" and give them the number of their competitor. What if the customer was willing to pay an extra $20 to take the order and make the delivery? What if it was an extra $50...or $100? Unfortunately, that shop will never know because they didn't even offer an alternative, just a flat-out "no."

A Yes We Can florist would have handled the situation differently. At Beneva, when we were faced with an afternoon delivery request, we did the following...

  1. Asked who we were speaking with. Now you can quickly check to see if they are a long time customer or CEO of a large company.

  2. We always asked if they had something in mind. If not, it's okay to ask, "Is there a price range you are comfortable with?" Now, they may say a number when at that moment you can say...

  3. "If you can work with what I have just made for our cooler designs, we could expedite your order AND HAVE IT DELIVERED BY (the requested time)." Repeating that the order will be able to be delivered by the time requested. You may think they assume that but just say it anyway because it reiterates what point and also closes with that they want to hear - that Yes You Can accomplish their request.

  4. Remember to always suggest the add-on. I would recommend, "Would you like a box of Godiva chocolates or a birthday/anniversary/get well soon balloon so everyone will know the special occasion and meaning of the day for the recipient?"

By explaining it, you speak to the best results and the purpose. Never assume they are thinking of the balloons and the message it announces. When people see "Happy Birthday," everyone passing by shares good wishes - it's like magic!

Here is a video of an actual call that we used as a training guide at Beneva so you can get a better idea of the technique:

The only issue I would have is that she mentions it would not be a problem. That makes me cringe a bit because I feel that calling to place an order should never be a problem of any sort. Once she saw the camera she used the postcard to reference the conversation.

You see, there are so many little things our agent did well (as did all our staff) and that's what made us "just that much better." She closes with important information as she announces it and reassures the customer that, "We will take very good care of this for you."

Lost Order Log

Having employees keep a "lost order log" ensures you will know about any order you don't close and why you couldn't close it. It's important to ensure that no one gets in trouble if this is used, but they know if they don't log it there could be an issue. I can't imagine running a shop without it, here is the one we used - I think it will help you tremendously if you don't already utilize something similar.

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The last quarter is about to begin. I recommend everyone review this in your morning meetings and keep it near the phones. A smile has a voice, SCREAM!!!

Have a great week!

-Art

If you would like help on employee training or are looking for new customer service techniques, Bloomerang Solutions is here to help! From digital solutions to in-store sales and marketing assistance, Bloomerang is your friend in the floral business! Give us a call at 941-806-1911 or drop us a line below and let us know how we can help your business bloom!

Black Magic Roses and the Science of Surveys

Have you heard of black magic roses? Our designers loved them, but our customers hated them. As soon as they were delivered I started getting phone calls complaining that the roses look dead. Worse yet, customers completed the survey and I got docked because they felt our roses were old. If you ask a designer, they’d say you just need to “educate the customer," but I disagree. It's not up to me to talk a customer into liking a flower – that’s not marketing, it's manipulation. If my customers like what I offer, I love it! That's all that matters, and the ONLY way I will ever know is SURVEYS.

Here’s another real world example of the effectiveness of surveys:

After having an air conditioning call at my home recently, I experienced exceptional service from a company called COOL IT TODAY. While they are known as great marketers, they have also raised the bar for service in town. They begin by sending an email with your technician's name and photo and clean history and then follow up with another email. This is more than marketing; it's the beginning, middle and end, to a complete business operation.

This marketer running the air company may be marketing but he is also fishing for knowledge. He wants to know that his staff is on the ball. Best of all, everyone knows he is watching - his customers, and his employees.

The moment the technician left my home I received this. If nothing else, (as if I didn't know?) I am assured they do care.

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Do you run surveys at your shop? Are your flowers being left on doorsteps without being reported? I can assure you when I operated Beneva they were not.

Surveys are the ONLY way you will know how your business is truly doing. If surveys come in clean, I can assure you that it will reflect in your P&L. Happy customers can be made profitable if they’re not already, while unhappy customers that leave will never be an opportunity again, they’re gone.

So if I can remind you just one more time: Before you invest in any kind of marketing - whether it's PPC, SEO, print or something else - be sure you have a check system in place with surveys. We can show you how to do them or we can do them for you. Just ask.

Understanding the "Magic" of Advertising with Google

The ability to understand how the “magic” of Google works sometimes feels like just that – magic. In fact, magic is probably the best way to explain Google. Magic is an illusion of a demonstration created to confuse and fool you.

But although it may seem confusing, there is no magic in the achieved end result. On the contrary, there were specific steps followed or created to create a resolution that leads to an accurate result. The formula is what we all strive to understand, and knowing that the formula is created by the content being accurate and honest is the key to favorable results.

Ad Rank-Why does one listing show ahead of another?

There are several factors of how and why your ads show up when the words you selected have been searched – it’s not as simple as higher bidding. In some cases, by having a well-planned strategy and the proper use of the tools Google offers – like extensions, call outs, snippets and more – you could rank higher and pay less than your competition who may merely be willing to just pay more to get your spot.

With Google, the computer-generated algorithm is created to ensure the very best targeted search result is delivered to the person searching. It’s up to us, the marketers and business operators, to understand and use the tools in a way which is not so confusing, but understandable so we can also be considered.

Google has the same challenge you do – being the trusted source

Google is faced with everyday challenges too. Their goal is not to confuse and make it hard, but rather to ensure that great results and displays always appear. Google needs to be clear and fast for users to use and get the results they desire. So sometimes your extensions may not all appear, but some will. Your gold stars will do the same.

At Bloomerang Solutions, we constantly study the best practices that make sense for Google to value our ads and reward us with the most impressions possible. Now once the customer clicks, they’re being tracked – from click-throughs and orders to possible broken links or incorrect results – this can hurt you.

Do you display your ad words using broad match, exact, or modified? You should know and understand this if you want to get the ultimate reward from Google and that is a high-quality score. This can be measured by actual keywords.

This is the reason Google is growing to be more and more challenging. Google (just like every retailer and client) also wants to deliver the best results. The more consistent and accurate they are, the more you will use and trust them. We’re all in the same game – earn trust and be rewarded. I hope this helps you understand the landscape a little better.

-Art

Are you currently advertising on Google? If not, Bloomerang Solutions is here to get you started and walk you through the process if you haven't tried it before. Now is also a perfect time to get started and enhance your visibility. Give us a call today at (941) 806-1911 or drop us a line below for more information.