Tim’s Calling


Each month in Floral Management, Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies will tackle a set of specific customer service issues that arise during undercover phone calls to real retail flower shops. Below, you’ll find the columns as they appear in the magazine PLUS audio recordings of each call, so that you can listen with your staff and hear things that just don’t translate in print (including tone of voice). We’re always on the lookout for the next shop to call, too. To volunteer your shop, email tim@floralstrategies.com.

June  2020: “Tech-Savvy Selling”

In the new retail era where customer shopping patterns and needs are changing. Don’t get left behind because you’re not embracing technology!

AprilMay  2020: “What’s Next”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on our industry, we will share some feedback, inspiration and deep thoughts based on what is being said from floral contacts across the globe.

March  2020: “First Impressions Count!”

When the new son-in-law needs to make an impression. Listen is and hear how it goes. 

January 2020: “Crash and Burn”

Customers don’t want to be sold “something off the shelf.” Smart salespeople can make even a standard web design sound like a customized order Listen in to for an opportunity for this customer to express their regret and remorse and then jump in with a large and impressive design.

February  2020: “Marital Spat”

An EPIC argument in an relationship warrants an interesting approach for sales people. Listen in as this 30-year sales veteran was eager to impart her professional opinion. Keep in mind asking for the recipient’s favorite color (but never flower) can help us personalize the design and make the customer feel like they are truly sending something special.

NovemberDecember  2019: “Centerpieces 101”

Birthdays are happy occasions, reasons to celebrate and technically a fun and easy sale. Agreed? Then why do we so often flub such a golden opportunity to offer a BIG arrangement to customers?

October  2019: “The Birthday Blues”

Birthdays are happy occasions, reasons to celebrate and technically a fun and easy sale. Agreed? Then why do we so often flub such a golden opportunity to offer a BIG arrangement to customers?

September  2019: “Has Empathy Died”

With funeral sales being a large part of the retailers business listen and see if this florist creates a memorable and comfortable shopping experience.

August  2019: “Mystery Calling a Wire Service”

A deviation from the typical call hear how the consumer division of one of the wire services handles customer service versus treatment from a traditional retail flower shop. It’s important to learn how customers are being treated when they buy flowers anywhere and to learn from that experience.

July  2019: “Bigger is Better”

Did this Texas shop — that has gone through my complete training process — abide by the training? Listen in to hear if some of the old habits returned.

June  2019: “Exotic Mistakes”

A proud uncle sending ‘congratulations’ to his niece on a big promotion and a move to a new location. Learn from the gaffes this clerk made that had a negative impact on the sale.

AprilMay  2019: “The Limitations of ‘Nice'”

After undergoing surgery and wanting to express that gratitude with flowers this months column provides insight on how often customers follow our lead and buy what we tell them to buy — and what we suggest is frequently way too low.

March  2019: “Deflated Congratulations”

Customers often share little, intimate slices of their lives with us when ordering flowers, and we should acknowledge those moments and use it to your advantage.

February  2019: “Oblivious to Empathy?”

How well do employees listen? This months call was to order a sympathy arrangement—but the sales person didn’t listen to clues and undersold and underserved the customer.

January  2019: “Busted Birthday?”

A customer calls a shop to order a group gift for a milestone birthday—but the salesperson misses big clues, and loses out on a bigger sale.

Tim Huckabee
Tim Huckabee, FSC

Volunteers Needed

raised handsWould you like to put your team through the “Tim Test?”  To volunteer your shop for an undercover call,  email tim@floralstrategies.com or call (800) 983-6184.  Retail value: $50. Anonymity guaranteed

2019 © Society of American Florists

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