A summer slowdown is no reason for your staff to idly stand around. In fact, a little “free time” is an excellent opportunity to work on your customer service and chase down more sales, says FloralStrategies president and Floral Management columnist Tim Huckabee. His suggestion? Get onboard with two outbound calling programs: reminder and follow-up calls.
“You may get some pushback from staff who see these programs as a form of cold calls or telemarketing,” Huckabee said. “They’re not. Reminder and follow-up calls are powerful, well-received forms of customer service for existing customers and recipients.”
Some naysayers might retort, “Why not email?” Simply ask them to consider their own inboxes. We all get too much email. There’s a decent chance your email would land in customers’ spam filter, defeating the purpose. Besides, Huckabee said, calling applies “the human touch,” which customers appreciate.
Here are his tips for the two types of calls:
- Run a report from your point-of-sale system showing all deliveries for the next eight to 10 days from this time period last year.
- Reach out with a simple, gentle call reminding them what they sent last year and new choices for this year.
- Frame the reminders as courtesy calls, not a sales pitch, such as: “Hi, Mr. Customer, this is Tim calling from ABC Flower Shop. Last year, you sent birthday flowers to [recipient name] on [date]. As a courtesy, I’m calling to remind you about the special date and to tell you about the new designs we’re offering this year.”
Follow-up calls are great opportunities to expand your reach, because they involve contacting recipients (not the people who placed the order). Call them the day after delivery to ensure they received their flowers and to tell them how to care for their gift. This gesture shows your dedication and sincere desire to please. It also alerts you to problems so you can fix them for future orders. (“Remember,” Huckabee said, “most customers don’t complain about poor service. They just don’t come back.)
Of course, be sure to read the enclosure card before making the call. You do not want to call anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, in the hospital, a hotel or a school. “All other recipients are fair game,” Huckabee said. “Follow-ups help convert recipients into customers and can help you discover another opportunity to perform some additional customer service.”
Click here to read Huckabee’s latest column, “Summer School For Florists.”
For full scripts from Huckabee’s famous mystery calls, advice on how to handle common customer responses and back issues of his Floral Management columns, visit FloralStrategies.com/SAF.