If you read Ben Brugler’s I’ve Ben Thinking post from Tuesday, you read his thoughts on 1-800-Flowers’ crisis response. Now, for a second look.
Typically when a company makes a mistake and get blasted on social media channels, I say apologize. But in the case of 1-800-Flowers, which didn’t deliver its promised Valentine’s Day flowers to wives, daughters, girlfriends and, as Ben said, worst of all: Moms, I ask, How did you let yourself get into this position?
Taking on so many orders that you can’t deliver on your promises is a set up for failure. Those people who were disappointed are not only never coming back, but are bad mouthing 1-800-Flowers to all of their friends and family – on social media and in person. Instead of finding yourself in this kind of no-win situation, I offer this alternative:
Post a note like this on your website – “We are blossoming with orders – in fact an overabundance of them. We can no longer take orders for Valentine’s Day, but please accept this $20 gift certificate off your next $50 order, and $40 off your next order of $75 or more. Looking forward to filling your next order! Until then, check out our Facebook page for more specials and fun flower gift suggestions.”
I don’t envy consumer companies today. One misstep and it’s an international issue. But knowing this, companies need to weigh the risk of a poor experience against a loss sale. I think it’s clear a small dip in sales is a much better outcome than what 1-800-Flowers is experiencing today.
And a note to 1-800-Flowers – you could still post an apology on your website and respond with genuine empathy to the many Facebook and Twitter comments that have been posted. It may be too late to win back those affected, but it’s worth a try to win at least a few of them back. Oh, and Happy belated Valentine’s Day.