I think that this picture says it all.
Over the last 20 years, we have built a strong business presence – following all the marketing, business and promotion advice given to use especially from the Balloon Industry but also every seminar, workshop, class, roundtable and more.
“Be professional” – “Uniforms for employees” – “Procedures, Guidelines and Protocols”
“Write everything down” – “Everything in writing” – “Accountability” – “Transparency”
Blah, blah, blah!!!
Well it appears that we were one of the few companies that listened.
Our employees are consistently mistaken for staff at whatever venue we are in as they all have embroidered uniform shirts, black pants and sneakers. Aprons with our logo, paperwork for each detail of an installation, storage bins to carry equipment, toolboxes, and a vehicle that looks good when we pull up to a site. We have in place procedures for bouquet deliveries, decor installation and breakdowns. We have guidelines in place for alternatives to “regular” deliveries – something goes wrong, we have a quick fix or someone to speak to to get a change accomplished.
And yet, this week, we are once again sabotaged by those who have nothing to do with our company or the deliveries we go on.
A doorman or two think taking the enclosure card off a bouquet is the thing to do after they deliver the balloons to our recipient. Here’s my problem with that – on two levels: one, do they even look at the inside of a folded card to see that there is a sentiment written to go along with the balloon bouquet?? Our national partner can’t imagine how this happens and we end up paying for it in the end – we can say that the card is on the piece, we can take pictures of the card on the piece, we can even take a picture with the doorman smiling in it, holding the balloons while showing the card and it still doesn’t prove the card was attached when it got to the recipient – which brings out the second level here – my employees don’t get to the recipient, they don’t get the tip that the doormen pocket and that is really not fair. On top of which, our company gets fined because the customer states the card was not present – naturally, it has to be our omission – no one else on this supply chain could possibly be responsible.
We have had pieces that were left in mail rooms, perfectly arranged when we leave, yet get to the customer with broken even missing balloons. Who pays for that? We do.
For further sabotaging this week, my partner and I have both been chewed out on the phone for missing deliveries of balloons. We immediately check our database, all paperwork including credit card charge reports. Customers calling have been irate – stating that we have “no right to charge for something we had no intention of showing up with” and “I’ll sue you for screwing up my order”.
As I always say, you would think we delivered kidneys! People get very irate over balloons, more so than you would ever think. That warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see a balloon dissipates quickly when you have paid for something and not received what you think you were getting.
The really funny part of this venting blog is this – following our procedures, we ask the customer for their name and order number. After they give us a name, the usual response is then, “I don’t have an order number”. Then we ask the $50,000 question, “Did you receive a confirmation with the order number when you placed the order?” The response? “No.” Every …… single ……. time!!!!
Our orders are processed and regardless of the form of payment you choose to use, we issue you a contract/order number for every single order placed. No ifs, no ands, and no buts. We state this to the irate customer who suddenly says, “Wait isn’t this XYZ Balloons?” To which we answer, “No – you are calling the NY Balloon & Basket Company.”
“Aren’t you located in Somewhere, NY?”
“No, we are located in Coney Island, Brooklyn.”
Here’s how the rest of the conversation usually goes:
“Oh my god – I can’t believe it! I called the wrong company! Are you sure this is not XYZ Balloons? I’m so sorry! What should I so now?”
We usually tell the customer to find out what company they did use, call them and complain and if that doesn’t work, we remind them that they did use a credit card and the credit card companies will gladly put a stop on the charge.
But here’s what I want to say to all my Balloon Industry Colleagues out there in Heliumville –
GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!
TAKE SOME PRIDE IN WHAT YOU DO!
VALUE YOUR CUSTOMER!
You make the rest of us look bad. But here’s the biggest irony of all – you keep right on doing what you do, XYZ Balloon company because one good thing comes from your horrible customer service, irresponsibility, and lack of value for the clients you had –
The last thing those irate customers usually say before they hang up is, “Thank you so much – I will keep your company’s number for the next time I need balloons – I’m sorry I was so mad – Thank you again!”
That’s the one thing my partner, my staff and I absolutely love – YOUR customers become OURS!!!