Here comes the Hound!

You’re all doing a great job confirming the receipt of your incoming orders, and this has increased our operating efficiency enormously. But we still have a ways to go with delivery confirmations. Only half of our partners have adopted this procedure. Half! So, after a year of politely coaching, we’re  going to take coaching up a notch. Tonight we launch the hounding campaign heard round the world. And it will continue until every partner is regularly confirming the delivery of their orders. Prepare to confirm or prepare to be hounded. Whoof! Whoof!

When you send us a DELIVERED confirmation three things happen. And they are three good things.

1. The customer gets a copy of the confirmation. That relaxes them and makes us look like we’re on top of things. And it means they won’t be calling us to see if their order has been delivered. In addition, your message includes an invitation for them to rave about your service.

2. Balloon Planet gets a copy of the confirmation. That relaxes us and makes us think you’re on top of things. And it means we won’t be calling you to see if that order was delivered. It saves all of us time.

3. A portion of your account screen goes from gray to green. And the same thing happens to our screen. It’s a nice color these days. And I’ll take green over gray any day.

Have a good night. And beware of the dog.



Don’t Get LOST

99% of our orders are delivered successfully, without incident. The remaining 1% end up in the LOST category. They include fraudulent orders and those contaminated with incorrect addresses, incorrect dates, incorrect phone numbers, and a host of other issues. The following procedures have been in place for several years to help us best handle these problem orders, but it helps to periodically review them. Our aim is to operate with uniform procedures that reduce the effort required to get these orders delivered. Let us know if have any suggestions.

1. If the delivery appears to be going to a residence without a doorman, call and establish a time when someone will be there to accept the order. It is important to begin this process early, and it is acceptable to call the day prior to delivery. By waiting until the afternoon of the delivery date to make the first call, the chances of making contact are greatly reduced.

2. If arrangements are made with the recipient to make the delivery on a date that differs from the original delivery date, please advise Seattle dispatch so we can pass this information on to the customer.

3. If you have not been able to make contact with the recipient by 12 noon local time on the delivery date, call the customer for assistance. If you are unable to make contact with the customer at that time, contact Seattle dispatch immediately — do not wait until the end of the day.

4. DO NOT INFLATE latex balloons for the order until contact has been made with the recipient or someone in the household and you have confirmed when someone will be there to accept the order.

5. If any of the phone numbers with the order have been disconnected or are incorrect, be sure to redial. If the redial attempts yield the same results, contact Seattle dispatch immediately.

Our online order form will soon be modified so that customers will be able to indicate what type of facility we are delivering to:

RESIDENTIAL — Doorman Apt/Condo, Non-doorman Apt/Condo, Free-standing Home, Gated Community, Townhouse, Houseboat; ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY; BUSINESS – Name of business; HOTEL — Guest or Staff; HOSPITAL — Patient or Staff; THEATER — Performer or Staff; RESTAURANT — Guest or Staff; MILITARY FACILITY; OTHER — Construction Site, Athletic facility, Park, Marina, Airport

We will also be providing space for a second phone number for the recipient.

What is upsetting these customers?

There isn’t a week that goes by that our dispatchers in Seattle are not hammered with calls from distressed customers wondering when their orders are going to be delivered. I’m not referring to cases where a late delivery time has been requested, or when a delivery to a residence has been delayed because no one is home. I’m referring to deliveries to business locations where a broad delivery time was provided and our partners have waited until the last possible hour to complete the delivery.

Many customers send balloons to friends in offices so that co-workers can be part of the “I got ballooned” experience. It makes for a great marketing opportunity for us — the more attention a balloon delivery receives, the more future business it generates. If a delivery is made at the end of the day, the “show” is usually short-lived. You may have gotten it there before the deadline, but by waiting until the last minute you may have created more ill will than good.

Each delivery provides us with the opportunity to create a satisfied customer and attract new ones. We can capitalize on this opportunity by getting BP orders delivered as early in the day as possible.

Everyone Wants Their Candy

We occasionally need to issue refunds because candy was overlooked and not delivered as part of an order. Tonight I received the following message in response to an apology I had sent to a customer whose order was shorted. As it clearly implies, for some customers, the balloons without the candy miss the mark big time.

Thank you for the refund. However I think the delivery company should also have to refund part of the delivery charge. I forgot to ask for this, when I talked to you this afternoon. Thank you for your consideration. And can you tell me who delivered them in Tulsa, so I will be sure as not to use them at anytime.

We don’t have a partner in Tulsa — I changed the name of the city to avoid embarrassment. After all, we’ve all “forgotten the candy”. Please reevaluate your dispatch procedures and make sure you have a system in place that reduces the chances of a delivery oversight, not only for candy, but for every item on the customer’s order form.

The Amazing Gees

Kelly MonacoThe Kelly Monaco Fan Club loves sending balloons to the star of ABC’s General Hospital. The fan club provided our Los Angeles partner AMAZING BALLOONS BY GEE with 100 custom printed balloons for a recent delivery. Upon arriving at ABC Studios they learned that Monaco was not scheduled to be on the set until the following week. After consulting with the fan club, Claudia and Dennis Gee, owners of the company, arranged for a redelivery using a unique solution. They returned the balloons to their studio and stored them in plastic bags for a week. On the revised delivery day they untied each balloon, refilled them with helium, and delivered them like new to an appreciative Monaco.

Untying the balloons was possible because each had been tied around its ribbon tether — the same technique used when tying balloons to a line of monofilament for a string of pearl arch. A simple tug on the ribbons pulled the knots open.

Kudos to Claudia and Dennis for their AMAZING customer service, and for hanging around long enough to take this photo. What a great effort — one that was appreciated by many people.