February 14 is definitely one of the most emotional days in retail, particularly for the customer service teams at flower retailers.
And, if you were a consumer looking for help with a flower order, it seems social media was your sweetheart this year.
STELLAService analysts monitored the service performance of nine online flower shops from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, logging how quickly the businesses were connecting with customers via phone and Twitter. Calls were placed in three separate time blocks and abandoned if the wait time exceeded 20 minutes. All Twitter interactions were monitored and samples were pulled from the same time period.
Businesses included were 1800Flowers.com, 48Longstems.com, CalyxFlowers.com, FlowerShop.com, FromYouFlowers.com, FTD.com, JustFlowers.com, ProFlowers.com and Teleflora.com. All are rated STELLAService EXCELLENT or ELITE.
The most standout performance was 1800Flowers.com’s interactions via Twitter, which clocked an average response time of just one minute. The performance was so impressive that STELLAService oversampled, analyzing 62 interactions that showed an average response time of just two minutes.
“We’ve found that customer service has moved social,” said Chris McCann, President of 1800Flowers.com. “It’s great, it’s out there and transparent. Everyone sees all the negatives, but that’s OK. We find it’s much more personalized and productive than the other channels.”
McCann said Twitter has evolved into the retailer’s top channel for customer service. “Social was originally intertwined with our existing team, then we moved to a dedicated team and now it’s the lead team,” he said.
A public-facing interaction was not available within the evaluation window for four of the companies covered. But, the five that did respond – 1800Flowers.com, FromYouFlowers.com, FTD.com, ProFlowers.com, and Teleflora.com – all did so in less than an hour on average. The overall average response time for those retailers was 22 minutes, obviously improved by 1800Flowers.com’s performance.
As for consumers looking for help over the phone, it was likely a frustrating day.
Of the nine businesses evaluated, just four – CalyxFlowers.com, Flowershop.com, FromYouFlowers.com and ProFlowers.com – succeeded in connecting a customer to a live agent in less than 20 minutes for all three phone calls placed by STELLAService. Two companies – 48Longstems.com and JustFlowers.com – were unreachable by phone during the evaluation window.
Of those that managed to answer all of STELLAService’s calls, wait time averages were mostly respectable. ProFlowers.com was fastest, answering calls in 00:01:12, with CalyxFlowers.com just a few seconds behind at 00:01:25. FromYouFlowers.com connected in 00:03:49, while FlowerShop.com took 00:13:53.
Of the larger brands, 1800Flowers.com and Teleflora.com connected via phone twice, while FTD.com connected on just one call.
McCann said Valentine’s Day is a peak season for the retailer, second behind Mother’s Day. Traffic and order volume increases up to 10 times on Valentine’s Day, with the retailer selling more than 11.2 million stems, more than seven million of which are roses.