Will Fear and Comfort Kill Your Business?

What if there was a way to make a 100 percent improvement in one of the most prevalent complaints customers have about your product and service? You would implement it in a heartbeat, right?

In the floral industry, receiving flowers that look nothing like the photo shown on an online ordering site is one of the fastest growing and biggest sources of customer complaints. In fact, ABC Lookout reported on just how different the customer experience can be from the reality they expected.

In defense of the online ordering services and local florists, sites such as FTD, Teleflora and 1800Flowers include a disclaimer that the actual product delivered may not match the photo on the site. Not every florist has every flower or vase in stock all the time.

That, however, doesn't prevent customers from complaining, and those complaints potentially alter perceptions about the entire industry.

Greenbox Floral, a small startup co-founded by brothers Luke and Nathan Harwell, has created a solution for the problem of actual orders not matching the photo on your screen. Their innovative technology uses a web cam to show customers the exact arrangement that is available for purchase in real time. And once the product is removed from the display case, it is no longer available for purchase.

Luke is also the second generation owner of
in Abilene, Texas. Luke told me that he started his technology company because he recognized two things:
  1. The Internet is here to stay, and it has forever transformed the way customers buy flowers. Most retail customers are now serviced by a florist with whom they have never spoken and purchase a product that they have never seen.
  2. There had to be a way to resolve the leading source of customer complaints about the floral industry.

The Greenbox Floral technology provides customers a more realistic view of available products offered in their preferred way to buy. And, it gives the florist a way to increase their connection with customers and build lasting relationships.

Harwell says that florist shops using his technology experience a 100 percent drop in complaints about products delivered not matching the order made. In addition, he reports that the average size of an order increases from the $35 - $40 dollar range to around $80 when florists use Greenbox.

So why aren't florists lining up to use this product?

According to Harwell, fear and comfort prevent potential customers from making a change that can transform the experience of their customers. Specifically, many local florists utilize eCommerce platforms provided by the national brands. They trust them to provide technology and site security, and they are unwilling to risk dropping their current eCommerce platform - even though it creates problems.

How About Your Business?

The floral industry isn't unique. Industry leaders often hang on to the status quo for too long and become irrelevant in a changed marketplace.

Dell disrupted the personal computer business by offering made-to-order boxes and great service only to find itself playing catch up as consumers shifted to software-driven, integrated devices. Blockbuster could have purchased Netflix, but chose to maintain the status quo. Taxi companies had access to the same technology Uber used to disrupt their industry.

An innovative application like Greenbox Floral will receive the boost it needs to transform the floral industry. It could be one of the big online ordering services, or it could be a technology investor that sees how the technology could enhance the customer experience in many industries.

It will happen to you, too. Someone will develop a new way to solve a big problem or take advantage of a shift in your industry.

When it occurs, will you be too comfortable with your current success to see the change before it overtakes you? Will you be too fearful about the risks to innovate and improve?

The time to get ready is now. Like it or not, the change that could make you irrelevant is coming.

Randy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority on helping organizations deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. His keynote seminars and workshops are informative, engaging, and memorable. To learn more or to hire Randy for your next meeting, visit www.penningtongroup.com, email info@penningtongroup.com, or call 972-980-9857.