Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Interview with online florist reveals how FTD works

I've been friends with Bob Rankin, owner of online florist Flowersfast, for years, and was pleased when he consented to be interviewed about the reality of the online florist industry. Here's the result.

Q: Flowers? Aren't there, like, a million flower shops online? What makes yours different?

We try to make our mark with ease of use, competitive pricing and excellent customer service. Our customers often remark that our site was very easy to use and the prices were better than other places they looked. And when problems arise after the sale, we look upon that as an opportunity to win their business for life by going beyond the call to make sure they are satisfied. I'm convinced that many businesses fail because they never learn the lesson that unhappy customers have the choice to take their future business elsewhere.

Q: What are some of the more unusual reasons you've seen people send flowers?

Recently we had a customer send flowers to a friend because her house had been burglarized. Another person sent a "sorry you got pregnant" bouquet. And then there are the oddball card messages like "Dear Patty, I am so sorry! I watched too many old movies. Please forgive your loving but stupid father." Occasionally we get orders with card messages that are "too hot to handle" so we have to...