Valentine’s Day has to be the single worst day to run social media for a flower company. Americans spend nearly $2 billion on Valentine’s flowers, making it one of the three biggest times of the year for the floral industry. (The other two are Mother’s Day and the December holidays.)
But unlike Christmas, which encompasses an entire season, and Mother’s Day, where you’re gifting flowers to a patient and understanding party, Valentine’s is a high-pressure, one-day event. You get your flowers on Feb. 14, or you might as well not get them at all.
But this year, a lot of people won’t get their flowers on time. In addition to the inevitable annual hiccups — technical difficulties, shipping delays, flowers damaged in transit — there’s an extra 10 to 15 inches of snow on the ground. D.C.-area florists predict some bouquets won’t get out until Sunday.
That leaves the social media managers alone on the Internet front lines, doing polite, passive-aggressive battle with the flowerless Twitter hordes.
FTD, Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers were all reluctant to to talk about the backlash — understandably, perhaps, since it is not particularly flattering and also kind of inevitable. In a statement, Teleflora said the company’s “customer service representatives … work hard to respond and engage directly with each customer inquiry it receives.” Meanwhile, an equally bland statement from Larry Plawsky, the senior vice president of FTD.com, said the company “anticipated [a] number of customer inquiries”:
We proactively use social media as a touch point for our customer service support team. Social media provides businesses with an opportunity to keep a steady pulse on what consumers are saying, from ideas to insights to concerns. With all of our customer touch points, including social media, we’re able to help solve issues in real-time and provide a better product and ultimately an even better experience for our customers.
So happy Valentine’s Day to you, flower company social media teams. Someone should buy you a bouquet. And maybe a stiff drink.