Things are not rosy at FTD!

Happy Valentine’s Day?

Like many of you probably did, I grabbed a couple of the Groupon deals for FTD to help manage the Valentine’s Day floral budget.  (Yes, I gave some local florists my money too)

Let me say this — I feel sorry for any business that has killer days like florists do.  I am sure Valentine’s Day is a nightmare for them.  However… it’s not like it’s a big surprise.  So they should be ready for it, right?

When one of the arrangements I had ordered hadn’t arrived at 7 pm, I called their 800 number.  The first message I got was that they were very busy and it would be 15 minutes before I could speak with someone.  Then, a couple minutes later, the recorded voice came back on the line and said, due to the volume of calls and it being Valentine’s Day, they would not be able to answer my call and promptly disconnected me.


I called back and held for over 30 minutes. Somehow, I dodged the hang-up.  I have no idea how long I would have continued to wait — I got word that the flowers had finally arrived and so I hung up.

Not a good day for FTD.  But wait…

This morning, the flowers are wilted.  I am talking D-E-A-D.  Even with the coupon, they were $50 so I call the 800 number.  This is really how the conversation went.

FTD guy:  How may I help you?

Drew:  I ordered flowers that were delivered yesterday and this morning, they are all wilted.

FTD guy:  I am very sorry to hear that Sir.

Drew:  Thank you.  What can we do about it?

FTD guy:  May I have the order number?

Drew:  FRK372912

FTD guy:  May I have your full name?

Drew:  Drew McLellan

FTD guy:  Thank you, Mr. McLellan. May I have your billing address?

Drew : I give him the address.

FTD guy:  Thank you Mr. McLellan.  May I have your phone number?

Drew:  I give him the phone number.

FTD guy:  Thank you Mr. McLellan.  May I have the recipient’s name?

Drew:  I give him the name.

FTD guy:  Thank you Mr. McLellan. May I have the recipient’s address?

Drew:  I don’t have it handy.

FTD guy:  I’m sorry Mr. McLellan but I am trying to verify the order.

Drew:  Wait a second — I have told you the order number, my name, address, phone number and the recipient’s name.  Isn’t that enough information to verify the order?

FTD guy:  I really do need to verify the order, Mr. McLellan.  (by now…we’ve had enough Mr. McLellans)

Drew:  Seriously — you think there might be two orders with the identical order number, buyer and recipient?  You are looking at the order on your computer, aren’t you?

FTD guy:  Yes Mr. McLellan, I am.

Drew:  Have I gotten any of the questions wrong yet?

FTD guy:  No, Mr. McLellan.  Should I wait while you get the recipient’s address?

Insanity.  Pure insanity. This is a man who is following a script, no matter how ridiculous it is.  He doesn’t care about my order, my frustration or my repeat business. (I kept wondering how call center expert Tom Vander Well would react to this.)

I told him I didn’t have the address with me and couldn’t get it.  Yes, I was being churlish.  But come on.  So you know what he made me do to finally verify the order?  I will send flowers to the first correct guesser.  (But not from FTD)

My point — when something goes wrong, you have a huge opportunity to win a customer for life. (read how Disney says I’m sorry) But you don’t get a second chance.  You cannot add insult to the injury.   FTD lost more than my $50.  They lost the chance to begin to create a love affair with me.  That cost them a lot more than $50.

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20 comments on “Things are not rosy at FTD!

  1. Sean Howard says:

    You had to describe the flowers?
    You had to wait while he called the recipient to verify you sent them?
    You had to read him the message you put on the card?
    You had to login to their system and click something?

    Wow… I must really want flowers! 😉

    1. Sean,

      Okay — e-mail me an address to send the flowers! I had to tell him the card’s message.

      It was a staggering example of “sticking to the script at all costs” training.


  2. Dana Fortier says:

    Having worked for FTD in the past, I can attest to the fact that their employees are treated horribly. I didn’t work customer service – I was in the data entry department, but we had 10 hour days, 5-6 days a week, and tyrannical supervisors. It doesn’t surprise me that FTD’s customer service is atrocious.

    I recently had AWESOME customer service with American Airlines. I called with lots of questions about one of their programs and the lady I got on the line (Julie Paulk – you ROCK!!) took all the time in the world to answer my questions, put together MORE information for me, follow up by phone call AND email and as recently as this week (after not communicating for about 3 weeks) emailed me to ask if I had any more questions. I thought this was amazing. I’m so used to big companies not caring because that’s just their method of operation – but they really impressed me.

    On the other hand, almost 15 years ago the small bakery that I ordered my wedding cake from – they needed to be b—-slapped for their lack of customer service. My wedding was small, so my cake was small. When I went to pick it up to take it to the reception site, the clerk said, “Someone picked it up.” I asked who, they never said. After about 10 minutes of questioning them, I finally lost it and yelled out, “SO, YOU JUST GAVE MY WEDDING CAKE AWAY TO SOME STRANGER???!!!??” which made the couple looking at cakes, about to order one, get up and walk out, along with the other couple waiting to look at the book of cakes and two other customers in there for other reasons. Finally, the owner came out, said he’d make another one, deliver it personally to my reception site that day (I called to verify that it got there) AND THEN BILLED ME FOR THE SECOND CAKE.

    This bakery is now out of business and my husband swears I willed them out of business. Which is sad. My cake was supposed to be a 17-layer strawberry torte, and I ended up with the standard white with white buttercream and none of the gorgeous deep burgundy calla lillies on the original one that I asked for. I hope whoever got my cake enjoyed the heck out of it – ‘cuz their strawberry torte was amazing.

    1. Dana,

      You just gave the exact reason why this stuff matters. Because otherwise, you will lose customers and run the risk of going out of business.

      It’s that simple. And it just takes a little bit of caring and a little bit of training.


  3. Meagan says:

    I really hope either the President of FTD reads this, or that you send it to him/her… I am personally a fan of letting the higher ups know exactly how their customers are being treated (good and bad) because most times they don’t get that view.

    Anyway, my guess is that you had to verify the credit card you used for the transaction.

    1. Meagan,

      It will be interesting to see if I hear from them. My guess is — they are so busy dealing with the PR nightmare that has been their Groupon experience that my blog post won’t get noticed.

      Nope — not the credit card. I had to tell them what the card said.


  4. Greg Bulmash says:

    Sometimes, you read someone telling a company with notoriously bad customer service how it could have had a customer for life, but instead lost their business, and it just feels like a naive 19-year-old girl telling her alcoholic boyfriend “if you *really* loved me, you’d stop drinking.”

    This is one of those times. Yes, it was a horrible experience on all levels, but… are you new?

    Buying flowers on/for Valentine’s Day is like trying to get on the one road out of town when aliens are attacking the city. What did you expect?

    I’m gonna guess credit card verification also, though I won’t get any flowers.

    1. Greg,

      I’m 48. I’ve been buying/sending flowers for about 35 years. I know that orders get messed up — and not just on Valentine’s Day.

      I’m a reasonable human being. As long as you:
      1) say you are sorry
      2) fix the problem
      3) act like you care

      I’m good. And I will be back to buy again. But in this case — he could care less and he made me work to fix their error. That’s the part I find unimpressive.

      It’s not whether we make a mistake or not — it’s how we handle that mistake that decides whether the customer is coming back.

      And for the record….I used 3 different companies to buy flowers this Valentine’s Day. All of the rest of the orders were delivered flawlessly.


  5. Cheryl L says:

    I was going to go with… You had to tell him the color of the recipient’s eyes while you held the phone over your heart for him to detect if you were lying with an irregular heartbeat. :] But with such “awesome” customer service, I’ll second that they made you wait on hold while they called the person who received the sad, wilted flowers.

    Stories like this always remind me why I always go out of my way to help, rather than hinder, a customer. Kudos for calling FTD out!

    1. Cheryl,

      Ha! Actually — wouldn’t that have been funny if he had been human enough to joke with me like that? I would have loved that — and written about it for sure.

      As you might have seen in my answer to Sean, he made me tell him what was on the note/card.

      There’s no reason not to be helpful and empathetic, really. And yet, we are often surprised when it happens. That’s the sad part.


  6. Jenni,

    Sounds like many of the florists struggled with the holiday rush. Seems like a lack of planning….


  7. Dick,

    It’s as simple as training and allowing/encouraging your employees to behave like human beings.

    I am sure FTD wants happy customers. They just need to have a plan on how to deal with the unhappy ones that turns them into contented repeat business.


  8. Poor FTD. I heard that these agents would need to recite a lot of things before they actually offer help. Companies should realize customer experience and quality rather than preserving their own “integrity” by not giving the info at the moment you need it.

  9. Tracy says:


    Your phone call with FTD sounds a lot like the grilling I received from customer service at my cable company when I tried to downgrade my current cable service down to just to the most basic tier. Let’s just say that due to the poor customer service via both phone and email I cancelled my service altogether.

    I also recently signed up for our state’s AAA service through Groupon. The AAA offices were admittedly not prepared for the high number of orders they received. I was happy that Groupon at least sent out an email once they knew there was a delay on AAA’s end in getting out the memberships.

    And as a former Disney employee, I can attest that Disney understands that if you have a bad experience, not only is there a risk you may walk and not come back to spend money with them again, but also that you are more likely to tell more of your friends and anyone else that will listen about a bad experience than you will about a great experience. They are smart to realize it is worth the effort to acknowledge their mistakes, apologize and make it right. In the current economy where more consumers are rightfully being more careful and thoughtful in where they spend their money, more companies would be wise to hold themselves accountable for errors or mishaps and do their best to work with the customer to make it right.

    1. Tracy,

      As you suggest the key is knowing that eventually you’re going to screw up and planning in advance how to resolve it and re-kindle the romance with the customer.

      It has to be part of the culture and the planning. Or it won’t happen.


  10. Rob says:

    I couldn’t agree more. This is the time of year to grab new customers every one is buying flowers on the 14th and maybe a few of them might like what they eat end choose to get a spontaneous bunch of posies later in the year. FAIL!!!

  11. Jody says:

    Not to excuse FTD, but anyone who thinks they’re going to get a screaming bargain on flowers on florists’ busiest day of the year is not thinking rationally.

    If you want to be sure a gift arrives, do the work of directly contacting a local independent florist or whatever shop you’re needing. It’s takes just seconds more than using a consolidator and your going to be prioritized higher than if you use a consolidator like FTD.

    1. Jody,

      I disagree. FTD makes a promise to their customers. Whether I got a deal or not — the promise is the same.

      I didn’t get a screaming deal. I bought a coupon for $20 that was worth $40. So I saved $20 off a hundred dollar order. Hardly a bargain basement sale.

      Bottom line — they took my money, gave me a bad product and then gave me bad service when I asked for help in solving the problem.

      I don’t think that had anything to do with my $20 off coupon.


  12. Jean B says:

    Shouldn’t FTD really be called – FAILURE TO DELIVER! they messed up on my orders of two baskets of flowers to be delivered to a funeral. You can’t do that over! they have terrible customer service and then they LIED to me and said they delivered the flowers, when they didn’t. I suppose all those people at the funeral home are going to lie to them as well. ooohkay! Please do NOT call FTD or order online if you are ordering flowers for a funeral, because chances are, the flwers won’t show up! talk about embarrassing, but more than that – it makes me furious at FTD’s lack of customer service! They lost a good customer.


  13. Kathy says:

    I just had my second nightmare situation with FTD. Once again the flowers I received were not what my daughter ordered. The ones I did get were old and the arrangement,If you can call it that,was thrown together and cheap. I should have gotten them the Friday before Mothers Day, as she paid for that, but didn’t get them til almost 6 on Mothers Day. The guy delivering was doing it in his car not a refrigerated van and had some arrangements in his trunk! On a very warm day! I called cs on Sunday and was told that the correct flowers would be delivered on Tuesday. Nothing. I called Tuesday evening and spent 30 minutes on a call with cs. The young lady was clueless. Kept saying the same things over and over. Would put me on hold without saying anything so I kept thinking the call had dropped. Then she says that they will have the flowers sent to my daughter as she is the one that ordered them! I told her that that was NOT what they were going to do. Now she is going to contact the florist and send me an e-mail. Again NOTHING. I called AGAIN today and supposedly I will get the flowers tomorrow. We’ll see.
    I would like to know what country the call center is in because besides being really fed up and angry they are hard to understand.
    FTD can forget about any of my business or my daughters. I will also be blasting them on social media. Enough is enough. Flowers aren’t exactly a must have item. They need to remember that. They also need to really check out the florists they are using. This is the second time I’ve had flowers delivered in a personal vehicle that were dead soon after getting them.

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