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Weather and holiday pressures challenged continuity of operations at 1-800-Flowers

Floral arrangements from 1-800-Flowers arrived damaged or late due to a winter storm that occurred the day before Valentine's Day.
Floral arrangements from 1-800-Flowers arrived damaged or late due to a winter storm that occurred the day before Valentine's Day.

Last week, we discussed how the winter weather continues to challenge millions of Americans all over the eastern seaboard, but for 1-800-Flowers, it was a struggle to meet demand for Valentine's Day deliveries.

The Long Island, New York-based business was crippled by the wintry mix that prompted many airports to cancel flights and made it even more difficult for truck drivers to deliver bouquets and vases of flowers to men and women celebrating Valentine's Day, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. The Hallmark holiday may be over, but customers are still displeased by 1-800-Flowers's sub-par arrangements and lack of business continuity planning.

Customers also took their problems to social media, taking photographs of bouquets that had damaged or wilted flowers. Although 1-800-Flowers was not the only business that heard complaints from Americans who relied on its services for this holiday, CNN Money reported that 1-800-Flowers had more negative feedback than its competitors.

Due to the influx of phone calls, the automated line would abruptly end calls for customers who were on hold. One customer, Vy Nguyen of South Carolina said she was unable to get in contact with the business, much less get a refund until she went to social media.

"It's been a very frustrating experience," Nguyen told the news source. "We tried to do something nice for my Mom and she ended up with no flowers on Valentine's Day and she was very upset as she should be."

Even though 1-800-Flowers said they would send a complementary arrangement to this customer, she added that she doesn't plan on going back to 1-800-Flowers. The damage to 1-800-Flowers's reputation is done, but other business owners can use this situation as an example of how to do better.

Business continuity consultants can help companies identify alternative plans for these type of scenarios. Instead of reeling from a long-term business continuity loss, staff members will only have to bounce back from a few days of lower-than-expected revenue.