Recently I experienced the result of the lack of good categorisation and a clear service / product definition within a service catalogue. This is my tale.
My mum is in her 80’s and not in the best of health. She is also a long way from me here in Australia. She lives in the UK as does my sister.
It is her birthday next week so I decided to send her some flowers as a gift. I logged on to the Interflora Australian website, selected “Overseas” and then the “UK” to place my order.
I scrolled through the screens of products and was presented with this page.
I liked the look of the Lily and Iris Teardrop Spray thinking it would make a change from the usual bouquet.
I placed my order and exchanged my $106.15 with Interflora.
The next thing that happened was that I received a very distraught phone call from my mother telling me that the wrong flowers had arrived. I didn’t understand why she would think that and eventually exchanged emails with my sister and uncovered the problem.
The Lilly and Iris Teardrop Spray is a funeral arrangement! I had no idea, but my mum, who has attended a fair number of funerals over recent years instantly recognised it, as did my sister who has often accompanied her. The picture does not do justice to the length of the arrangement but when physically confronted with it, is clearly meant to be sitting atop a coffin!
I was extremely upset and went back and checked the Interflora Australian website. As you can see from the screen shot below, there is no mention of the arrangement being for a funeral. The flower arranging aficionados reading this may have spotted this straight away but to the uninitiated like me, it just looked like a nice flower arrangement.
My sister checked out the Interflora UK website and as you can see from the screenshot below, it is pretty clear that this is a funeral arrangement as it asks for the name of the deceased and the funeral directors details! Had I seen that, I would have changed my order immediately.
Whereas when placing an order via www.interflora.co.uk, you can select categories such as birthday flowers, funeral flowers etc. you do not get that option (i.e. categories) when ordering from www.interflora.com.au>Overseas>UK. You just get presented with the Entire Catalogue for overseas orders. Your order has no category assigned and clearly an incomplete product description.
So my message to you is make sure that your service catalogue(s) are consistent, with good categorisation and that you have clearly defined the products and services with comprehensive service descriptions. Whether you are selling flowers, business services, IT services or widgets, you need to make sure that your customers know what they are ordering and that what arrives meets their expectations. If they don’t, they most likely will not be back again.
My wonderful sister has dismantled the arrangement and the flowers are now in vases and mum is much happier. I myself am not.
I have written to Interflora expressing my upset and concern about my elderly mother who is not in be best of health being sent funeral flowers.
So far, I have not received an acknowledgement or response to my email. Not even an automatically generated one to say that my email had been received and someone would be in touch! Now, for a lesson in good customer service……………………………………………….
Interflora – MORE THAN WORDS
PS. Thanks sis for saving the day x