Reminder Calls - In Time for the Holidays

 As you can imagine, after spending 34 years in the retail flower business I think I learned a few things. I'd be the last one to tell you that I figured everything out on my own. One of the best things that Kevin and I did for our business was joining Team Floral back in the early 2000's. The timing for us was perfect because Kevin was joining me full time in the business which meant no more high salary/commission from his previous career of accounting recruiting. We learned many things being a part of this group and one of the most valuable was the concept of doing reminder calls. I can't remember if the tip came from Dan (who ran the group) or one of my Team Members but $ for $ this tip gave our company the most benefit over the years. 

I admit that, when allowed, I still follow some floral groups (who have yet to kick me out - feel free to read about that HERE) and I've noticed that some shops seem to be having a bit of a hard time. From what I've read, many are finding the holidays not as robust as they used to be and that got me to thinking. If you are a retail florist right now, with some time and product on your hands, now might be the perfect time to dabble in doing reminder calls. 

Here's how and when we did it. 

  • We did reminder calls about a week to 10 days BEFORE any recurring event such as a birthday, anniversary or holiday. We also used this for events that happened every year for our corporate and university clients. Those really meant big dollar sales to us and you'd be surprised how successful those calls were. 
  • Using our point of sale, we would look back to the previous year for that time period and go through each order looking for reoccurring events. 
  • Once we find an event that could happen again, for example, someone who ordered Christmas flowers for their mother, we pick up the phone and make a call to them. 
  • The call is super simple and can work whether they answer or you leave a message. Our calls went something like this. "Hi, this is Kevin calling from Monday Morning Flower. This is just a reminder to let you know the holidays are approaching and if you'd like to send your mom a gift again this year, we'd love to help you. You can look at all our current offerings online at sendingsmiles dot com or you can call us at 609-520-2005." 
  • We were a bit picky about who we called and at the end we did not make calls to folks who had ordered very small items or for those sending out of town, as we found those harder and harder to make happen. 
  • In the early days we offered some kind of discount such as free delivery or a promotion code for a few dollars off either on the phone or online but as time went on, we realized that our customers did not care about the discount. They appreciated the reminder (especially birthday and anniversary). The promotion codes were good early on as we were able to track our success, which we found these to result in a return of between 20 and 30% but later we knew that it worked, and no proof was needed. 

That being said, if you are finding sales a little light and you do have a way to quickly go through last years orders, this week might be the perfect time to pick up the phone and reach out to last years customers. Sometimes people get mad (or upset because someone died) or tell you they weren't happy about something we had done in the past but honestly, that is so far and few between. What Kevin really liked was how friendly people were, how much they relied on him to remind them and the kind words he received. There was one holiday during Covid that he could not get to the calls and we found out that people were upset and missed his call. That might sound like a bad thing but the reverse is true. They needed and looked forward to speaking to Kevin. They felt valued and appreciated and we were rewarded with their repeat business. 
Kevin liked making these calls because he could dial in from his office and get it all done lickity split. Getting into a rhythm of doing the calls, he found it to be very manageable. He also found these calls much easier then the cold calls he had to make when in sales, so that was a step up! It just became one of his duties each week and he actually looked forward to it. A holiday might result in needing to make hundreds of calls but weekly, it might have been only 30 or 40. 

Once the holidays are over, I highly suggest that you make time weekly to make these calls and no one says it has to be you, the owner. Have one of your best sales associates hop on as part of their job each week. This works well, especially if you offer sales incentives. Your staff will fight to make these calls. 

If you have any questions about how we did reminder calls, feel free to reach out to me!