How to Handle Customer Complaints in Floristry

How to Handle Customer Complaints in Floristry – 5 Steps to Success

I'm not gonna lie, I used to crumble into pieces and fall into a hot mess any time a customer rang up with a complaint.

When it comes to learning how to handle customer complaints in floristry, I used to just walk around on pins and needles hoping I'd never have to deal with it.

There are so many things I wish I had known. And that is particularly true when it comes to how to handle customer complaints in floristry. But alas, it's yet another topic that no one shares about, right?

And if you're anything like me, you'll assume everyone else's business is absolutely perfect and there must be something wrong with you.

If that's your thinking, I'm here to tell you that's not accurate at all.

Customer complaints are a normal part of running a business. Every company on the planet deals with complaints.

Floristry is no different, peoples!

In fact, I would dare say the number of complaints we receive should be higher than average because we are (1) often dealing with hugely emotional situations and (2) our customers have no idea how the heck this whole flowering thing works.

So, instead of telling yourself that if you get a customer complaint you're doing it wrong, I want you to go out there and aim for a 5% complaint rate.

Literally, I want you to show up with courage and be brave enough to ask your clients for feedback. I want you to get your client's feedback and get their input.

In fact, instead of shying away and hoping you never receive a complaint, I want you to take the exact opposite approach.

The next customer complaint your receive, give yourself a gold star. You're doing it right!

Now, don't get me wrong. I want you to over-deliver, go above and beyond and make sure you're meeting (even exceeding) your customer's expectations. I don't want you to drive your business into the ground by cutting corners, skipping out on professionalism and just not caring. No ma'am.

But the point is, I want to avoid you falling into the all-too-familiar shame spiral.

Even better, when it comes to how to handle customer complaints in floristry, here is an overview of my approach.

{If you missed it, you can also check out this blog post: Five Tips to Help You Navigate Your Next Customer Complaint.}

How to Handle Customer Complaints in Floristry – 5 Steps to Success

STEP 1: Plan Ahead

Literally, sit down now and decide how you want to handle customer complaints and disappointed clients. What are your Standard Operating Procedures and corporate policy for navigating a customer complaint? What are the rules and guidelines you want to put into place.

STEP 2: Write A Script + Create Templates

Sometimes the phone will ring and it will be a customer who wants to 'talk to the manager'. Having a few talking points or a quick script to follow puts you back in the driver's seat and makes the conversation run smoother. Also, create a template response for DMs, emails and even reviews left on Google.

STEP 3: Reflect

99% of the time a customer complaint arises because (1) there hasn't been enough communication or (2) it's a failure in the process. Yes, you read that right. A customer complaint has nothing to do with your self worth or ability to weave magic with flowers. It's almost always a systems thing (which is why I will tell you to celebrate your client's feedback).

STEP 4: Make Improvements

Here's a shift in perspective that's helped me tremendously: a customer complaint can help you make more money and increase your bottom line. Yes. It is a little mind-blowing, isn't it?

But think about it, knowing most complaints stem from something as functional as better communication, a smoother process or a clearer system, when you get client feedback that something isn't working, it's the perfect opportunity to level up your systems, process and communication so you can continually make things better.

STEP 5: It's Ok to Feel Uncomfortable

At the end of the day, your brain is going to interpret a customer complaint as a form of rejection. Rejection makes your primitive brain freak out. It thinks you're getting booted out of the tribe, voted off the island and quite possibly you're gonna be left out in the cold. To die.

I know it sounds dramatic but that's why you feel the intense, physical reaction in your body. That, my friend, is a totally normal, completely human response. Nothing has gone wrong here. In fact, I want you to care, I want you to take complaints personally (it's a sign you actually care about the humans, yeah?).

But know that the discomfort of feeling rejection is part of the process. So when the phone rings or you get an email from a client, embrace the discomfort...and then jump right back to Step #1.

At the end of the day, dealing with customer complaints is part of the gig. It's part of the process when it comes to growing your business. As your business grows, as you reach more people and your flowers touch more humans, it's OK if someone is disappointed.

Remember, it doesn't mean anything about you, your business or your design ability. Your self worth is fully and totally intact, even if five customers call in the same day lodging the same complaints.

You can get to work and flip the script: use your next customer complaint as a sign that you're growing and expanding. Cause you are!

It's time to put your big girl pants on, go out there and get to work crafting your customer complaint's policy. Decide now what you want your customer complaints policy to be and then put it into action.

Want to learn how to show with more confidence and authority in your flower business?

Navigating customer complaints is one area of floristry that I know most of us struggle. But having a plan, a clear process for making it work, you start to really see what's possible in your business. And really doing the work to detach my self-worth and unwind my people-pleasing tendencies has skyrocketed my business growth.

Of course, no one talks about that stuff in our industry, do they? Everyone wants to keep showing up, swooning over the pretty flowers and bragging about how busy they are...meanwhile you and I wondering WTF we're missing, right?

I walked around for years believing I was broken, that there was something wrong with me. I thought I was the only one.

Turns out that's not true. Turns out, a lot of us struggle with confidence in our business. If that's you, you're not alone. And I'm here to help! Jump in and catch up on this recent podcast episode.

Enjoy the Podcast?

Marketing Tips for Florists

Marketing Tips for Florists: How to Get Found Online

So you've spent all your time and energy getting your website sorted. But now you're left scratching your head, wondering why the orders and enquiries aren't piling in? Now you're wondering, WTF do I need to do to get found online?

I've gotcha covered. Check out these three super helpful marketing tips for florists.

Marketing is a 'Thing'

Before I started my flower business, I spent 15 years working in fancy corporate marketing jobs. In fact, I've been studying marketing for over +20 years. I did my undergraduate degree in marketing and even have my masters. #overachiever

To say I LOVE marketing is an understatement. I'm totally, utterly obsessed with deconstructing and dissecting how the big multinationals market their business, how they attract the right customers, at the right time, with the right message.

Even more than that, I love taking those same business and marketing principles and teaching florists the right and wrong way to market their business and make money.

When it comes to marketing tips for florists, one of the most important lessons I learned was that we gots to approach our marketing from a totally different perspective.

Where other businesses need to grow their following, increase engagement and prioritise exposure, we floral designers get to approach marketing from a totally sideways perspective.

Why?

Because our customers shop differently. Our customers behave differently.

Let's pause for a moment...If you think about your dream client, the person who is going to place the next online order or send through the next event enquiry. Close your eyes and imagine you are that person. Put yourself in their shoes.

Quite literally. Close your eyes and think about how they would approach it. When they're looking for a floral designer, what do they do? Get super-specific.

When they jump online, where is the first place they go? If they're on Google, what do they type into the search bar?

If they're on Instagram, what do they type into that search bar? If they're somewhere else, what do they do? Envision the process in all its itty bitty fantastic detail.

The most important part of this planning process is to get super duper specific:

  1. Get specific in the platforms that your ideal clients use
  2. Get specific in the words/phrases/hashtags your clients use

Putting yourself in your client's shoes, envisioning the experience from their perspective is the single most powerful thing you can do. Seriously.

Stop Following the Crowd

Our industry teaches you that you need to do a heap of styled shoots, get exposure and worry about being featured on some famous blog. Then, and only then, will you be able to attract the kinds of clients you're dreaming of, yeah?

Wrong. I'm happy to tell you, there is an easier way. But it requires you to stop following the flower crowd.

Winning at floristry, building a thriving flower business requires you to learn a new approach to marketing.

Of course, you could go to business school, get all the degrees and geek out on all things marketing. Or you could shortcut your success and spend your energy focused on three super simple marketing tips for florists:

  1. Be in the right place
  2. At the right time
  3. With the right message

The Golden Rule of Marketing

If I had to distil down the single most important lesson from all my years as a fancypants marketing exec and spending thousands of dollars on all the degrees and qualifications, it would be this:

Get out of your own head and put yourself in your customer's shoes.

When it comes to getting found online, this really is the secret to success. It's not rocket science. It's not about being the best designer and it's definitely not about being famous or popular.

It's about being your most empathetic, helpful self. Using your imagination and really getting in touch with what matters most to your customers.

If you find yourself constantly second-guessing, over-thinking and over-complicating things (like we all have a tendency to do, being smart AF humans), hit pause for a hot second.

Go out into the real world and find 1-2 real-life humans who embody your dream client (or at least a kinda close proximity to a version of your dream customer).

Have a conversation with them. Buy them a coffee. Or a cocktail. And ask them to explain to you their research process – where would they go if they needed a florist? Get super specific and write it all down. Verbatim. Better yet, ask them if you can record the conversation and then get it transcribed.

Flashback to my corporate days, working with the likes of Dominos Pizza, Expedia and HSBC, we used to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on focus groups. You can do the same thing. Just on the super cheap.

It's time to take a page out of the successful big business multinationals. Learn from their process and do the same thing in your flower business. It's time to stop overcomplicating things, overthinking things and get back to basics.

You will be so surprised at how simple this can be. And even after just one conversation, you'll start to see how differently you can think about this whole marketing thing – you will start to be able to answer that burning question: How do I get found online?

Marketing Tips for Florists

At the end of the day, the right marketing mix is going to depend entirely on what services you're offering in your flower business.

Customers looking for a flower delivery behave differently to those looking for a wedding stylist. Someone looking for table arrangements for a christening behaves differently than someone looking for a casket cover.

Putting yourself in your customer's shoes truly is the secret to figuring out the right approach.

If you need it, here's a quick list of marketing priorities for floral design businesses:

Daily Flower Deliveries

Wedding Flowers (without a Planner)

  • Instagram Hashtags
  • Google My Business Listing
  • Search engine Optimisation

Floral Subscriptions

  • Local media + influencer partnerships
  • Instagram / Facebook paid ads
  • Word of mouth

Remember, every flower business has its own subtleties, its own nuances to consider. But use this list as the foundation for your marketing plan. Build on it and call out your own BS when you start to overcomplicate things (yes, we all do it).

Start tracking your data and test out new ideas. And if you ever feel like you're off track, make a plan to sit down with another real-life human being. Ask them to explain their process again and then recalibrate your approach.

No matter what, just keep going.

You got this, peoples. Let's go!

And don't forget, if you want to get my A-Z blueprint to marketing your flower business, join us inside Flower Boss Bootcamp. This is THE program to help you grow your business, get customers and make more money.

You get my exact approach, my step by step system to make it work. Click here to learn more.

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