Willingness to Fit with Someone's Needs
Florists, we know that being accommodating or just really nice is something that most flower business owners are guilty of. So what’s wrong with being accommodating or just overly nice to customers? Isn’t that the correct business motto that all should follow? Well, how about we analyze what the word accommodating actually means; willing to fit in with someone’s wishes or needs. There is a fine line in the flower business or any business that being overly accommodating or too nice by always giving in to someone’s wishes or willing to change one’s policy can be perceived as a lack of confidence and uncertainty which likely will pave the way for someone to take advantage of your goodwill.
"Florists, I’m sure you've all been there."
The Level of Customer Care
So what is the point here? Do I want florists to be mean and rigorous? No of course not – floral business owners and staff should always be professional and keep up the highest level of customer service. What I really want is for florists to just stop being too accommodating or nice with their floral business-standard polices. Let us go over the ways in which being too nice is not recommended business practices.
Floral Services & Pricing
I’m totally guilty of working myself to the bone and have nothing to show for it at the end. Feeling like a price point is “too expensive” or do I really need to charge a “set up fee” was my biggest downfall and surprisingly enough- I still hear florists second-guessing themselves on pricing and service charges daily. Even though you are not directly being accommodating with the customer you are allowing your insecurities to make you accommodating with your pricing structure of undercharging because you feel something is not affordable. In business its not about what’s affordable to the client- yes I said that! Running a floral business is about making enough to sustain the business. We are not saying charge an exorbitant amount all we are saying is do not undersell your florals and services according to your perception on what’s affordable. Regardless of what you perceive customers will pay there is a firm pricing structure in the floral business. Charge for flower markup (300%), supply markup(200%), delivery, set up and breakdown services as well as a firm labor percentage charge(20%-up). Following these guidelines or higher depending on your cost will make your floral business a profit. Deviating from this flower business pricing structure will not- it’s that simple! One other thing I hear many florists do who work with wire service and so some who don't is adding a few extra bloom stems here and there, why? –
“Well, it looks so small or sparse according to the recipe I followed.”
This is a No-No with the potential of being a huge loss in profit. For wire service filled orders- you do not want to add extra of anything nor should you for your non-floral wire service arrangements. Let’s remember other businesses do not throw in freebies and you shouldn’t either!
Let’s face it in business there will always be demanding customers. The guidelines in running a floral business are to not be overly accommodating to ridiculous requests or discounts just to make a sale. Also giving in to a customer by discounting, providing extra free service, or just simply bending over backward for them actually will hurt you in the long run. Customers rarely see the hoops you have just jumped through or the loss you took to make something happen for them. The best policy is to always be super clear about what you offer and that this is what it is- no conforming.
“Unfortunately I can not make that for your wedding for that price!”
The most successful floral business is run with equality of services for all customers meaning all customers are treated the same and given the same products and services. Most of the time customers that are demanding are not your bread and butter if you find that they are truly out there it’s also OK to move on and turn them away. Yes, that sounds a bit harsh but so is a client that is demanding absurd requests from you and totally disrespecting your floral business. Let’s all take a look at other businesses -can you imagine these clients doing this in a doctor’s practice, grocery store or venue. Floral businesses are no different!
Customers are Not Your Friends
Florists are super down to earth and personable because of this sometimes they look at customers as their friends. We are not talking about your actual friends here we will down below but right now, we are talking about customers that you may have established a friendly relationship with however they are not part of your life outside the flower business.
“I love this customer she is so sweet - throw some extra roses in for her!”
In business building a connection with your customers is awesome, having a friendly rapport always makes for good business practices. The take away is that just because the customers are cool or sweet doesn’t mean you undercut your prices or give them freebies. Again let’s keep it equal pricing and services for all customers.
Hooking Up Your Family / Friends
This can be a bit trivial, yes we want to give our family and friends as much as we can especially if they need flowers. The problem arises when you give let’s say your friends a huge discount that actually makes you lose money or worse enough dish out money for. In the end, this is your decision as this is your close family and friends you are providing the service for. But I would be wary of constantly dishing out free services or non-profitable services to our close ones that just demand it.
One aspect of your business is also employee hires and having a set structure for them to follow. Of course, you should be very pleasant with your employees- treat them fairly with respect and genuinely care about their well being. The point here is to not forget that they are in fact employed by you and should still produce and do their work according to your standards- that is what they get paid for. It’s OK to run a laid back operation but all employees need rules, be on time, look presentable, be courtesy to customers and do what is required- no excuses. Being overly nice to employees that are actually not producing their work requirements is going to hurt you- what you are doing is allowing the behavior to continue. Again taking advantage of your kindness and understanding nature is what needs to be avoided here.
A lot of running a floral business is about customer education. Flower shops or floral businesses, in general, tend to be more laid back in other’s point of view. Although like any other business the perception from some is “its flowers” or as a business that can bend the standard rules of operation. I’m not sure how this came about and perhaps it has to do with flower brokers. Whatever the reason floral business owners should never give in to a customer’s unreasonable requests or for that matter any requests if you just simply do not want too. Being a savvy business owner who follows their set policies does not make you not a nice or accommodating person. I’m sure you are in your personal life but this is business and not personal!