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How FTD (almost) Lost a Customer

It has now been a week since Valentine’s Day. A week since men scrambled like mad to make reservations, buy chocolates, purchase teddy bears, pen cards, order flowers and a multitude of other festive activities. I was one of those men, although I had a much smaller list than the one mentioned above. Reservations wasn’t a problem, and the meal at Rivera’s in downtown Greer, SC was fantastic as always. Flowers weren’t a problem either, at first.

Groupon pandered to men everywhere when they teamed up with FTD. I am sure Living Social made many a man happy as well, but my woman wanted flowers. And to be fair, who wants fruit for Valentine’s Day? I purchased my Groupon thinking the whole thing was going to be great. Flowers, check. I promptly went to FTD and purchased the arrangement I had been contemplating, lilies. Everything was going great. They would be delivered to her office, my Groupon worked flawlessly and I was done early. Wednesday to be exact.

Fast forward, the day is upon us. Now Groupon had already had some issues with FTD apparently. I received an e-mail apologizing for the inconvenience of not being able to use the Groupon with sale items. The issue had been resolved and refunds were being issued. This didn’t worry me at the time, but it was an omen of things to come. Noon rolled around and I had yet to hear anything from my woman regarding the arrival or a certain floral delivery. I went to FTD.com to check on my order, no easy way to do it. I filled out the little e-mail form thing and waited for a response. I have yet to receive a response to this day. At least that I remember seeing. I did, however, receive a delivery confirmation e-mail. On Tuesday.

As 4:30 rolled around the flowers had still not been delivered. I gave up on the e-mail and decided to call. This course of action wouldn’t bear any fruit. I called four times in approximately a half an hour, every time I was treated to a busy signal and a click. I gave up trying the order status option and tried to reach a customer service representative, same result. Now I know it is Valentine’s Day, most likely their busiest day of the year. But that is exactly the point. They could not have been caught off guard. They knew what was coming, but they didn’t seem to prepare for it.

How can a flower company as big as FTD be a complete customer service nightmare on their biggest day of the year? Further, how can FTD not have a form of automated order tracking system in place? The Postal Service has one, it may not be the most update entity, but at least it gives you an idea. Order status and tracking is a basic part of most online retailers customer experience. Amazon compiles info from different carriers to provide order status when available. eBay is similar. Yes, these are giants of e-commerce, but FTD is an e-commerce giant in their field. FTD is a customer service company that happens to sell flowers that had no customer service to speak of on Valentine’s Day.

Happy ending, the flowers made it. Around 5:40 pm.

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