Ansley, Erin
Ansley, Erin

This July my boyfriend of nearly 11 years and I are expecting our first baby. So for Valentine’s Day, he decided to surprise me with flowers for “his two girls.”

Why a surprise? Well, it would be the first time he would ever send me flowers. Don’t worry; I’m not sad about never having received them from him in the past. Of course, I would have appreciated the gesture. But frankly, I find it a little cliché and a waste.

To make the surprise even more impactful, he requested that 1-800-Flowers arrange for the delivery to be made to my office on February 12 (but before 3:00). Sadly, the local vendor handling the order made it to my building 4 hours late and it was locked for the evening.

After my boyfriend called the local florist about the delivery to complain, the company agreed to send the flowers by 3:00 on the 13th. That afternoon around 3:45, as I was driving home from work, I received a call from the florist asking if I were still at work to accept a delivery.

Surprise = blown. Now that the cat was out of the bag, I called my boyfriend to share the news and thank him for the thought. And then we reached out to 1-800-Flowers to get what he had paid for.

That’s when the real fun began.

After spending more than 90 minutes on hold, I decided on a different course of action. And I took to Twitter. First, I followed the company’s Twitter account. Then I unleashed the Twitter tiger inside of me. It began with a complaint and a request for customer service. I did get a reply and then a direct message from the firm promising I would receive a call.

Five hours later, I took to Twitter again, only angrier. That time, I sent out another flurry of tweets using hashtags like #worstcustomerservice and #neveragain. Some of the tweets even received retweets from consumer watch dog Twitter users.

And just like that, I got a call. The flowers eventually were delivered, albeit on February 15. And we were promised a refund. When we still hadn’t received our money back 10 days later (and my boyfriend again was on hold for nearly 30 minutes), guess what I did. Yep. I returned to Twitter. Two direct messages later, the $125 is back in our account.

The moral of the story?

Twitter serves as a very powerful tool that not only facilitated a response from 1-800-Flowers, but provided a platform for me to vent my frustrations and have my voice be heard. I understand that Valentine’s Day is the busiest of the year for 1-800-Flowers. Yet, the company stayed abreast of its Twitter account when its phone lines were jammed. In the end, using the tool allowed the company to address a very dissatisfied customer and resolve an issue in a fairly expedient manner.

Of course, 1-800-Flowers is a national firm with millions of customers. But when social media is involved, it only takes one unhappy client to disrupt business. This holds true whether you help deliver flowers throughout the country or you provide a service to pool or spa owners in a small town.

To quote the popular Netflix Series House of Cards, “You should remember, these days, when you are talking to one person, you are talking to 1,000.”