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The Benchmark

Source the Best Flowers and Foliage for the Holidays The quality of your holiday and everyday floral arrangements begins and ends with your flowers. That’s why it’s critical to partner with a supplier that follows industry standards for excellent care and handling practices.

A few points to consider: •  A rose isn’t always just a rose. Consider purchasing roses by variety or cultivar, not color, if you aren’t already. Your supplier can help steer you toward the flowers that best fit your needs, whether it’s extra-long vase life, fragrance or another desirable characteristic. •  Check your grades. Ask your supplier which grades of flowers will best fit your needs and budget. Prices can jump significantly from grade to grade. Listen to your customers. Sometimes •  a certain lily will really resonate with a customer. Conversely, maybe a flower didn’t live up to their expectations. Take their feedback into consideration when placing your orders. Do your homework. When you bring a •  new flower into your shop, test its vase life before offering it to your customers. If it doesn’t meet your standards, it won’t meet your customers’.  apture savings. Ask your supplier about • C standing orders or box lots to maximize your savings or margins.

Setting the Standard for Quality Excellence

For additional information on flower varieties and grades, reach out to the FTD Flower Exchange at 800.767.4000.

The FTD® Many Thanks™ Bouquet (16-F6p)

IN THIS ISSUE: • Delivery: Best Practices for Success • Spotlight on Delivery Pools and Services • Communicating with FTD • Care and Handling from Harvest to Vase

Best Practices for Delivery Success Delivery is your first opportunity to Incoming wire order management make a positive impression on a floral gift recipient. The following guidelines can help you ensure that nothing takes away from their delight in receiving fresh flowers.

When you receive a wire order, immediately verify the order details and determine if you can procure the flowers needed to fill the order to recipe and deliver it as requested. If you are unable to fill the order, reject it within two hours to avoid Delayed Response Policy (DRP) charges.

Delivery best practices/quality checkpoint Before attempting delivery, verify the order was executed correctly. Review the recipe, value and any requested add-ons and ensure that it is packaged neatly and professionally. Take a moment to evaluate whether your delivery driver and vehicle are positive representatives of your shop and FTD.

Delivering to special locations If you are delivering to a special location, such as a business, funeral home or hospital, be sure to verify its hours of operation and any special delivery considerations. You should give these deliveries priority and deliver early in the day whenever possible.

If the recipient isn’t available If the recipient is not present when the delivery was attempted, be sure to properly handle communication within FTD guidelines and best practices, including leaving a door tag or phone message regarding attempted delivery (with a follow-up call if necessary). Before leaving a delivery on a porch, ensure that it is protected from the elements and will be safe from theft. Your driver should also take a picture of the item in the delivered location. If you leave a delivery with a neighbor, ensure that information is communicated to FTD and the intended recipient as well.

Proof of delivery As a best practice, all FTD Member Florists should use one of the following tools to record proof of delivery. These details should be provided promptly to the sender or FTD if any questions arise. • T  he FTD Mercury Mobile app provides newly enhanced delivery confirmation features, including the ability to record a delivery’s latitude and longitude, take pictures of where an item was left and mark items as delivered. • Delivery logs are a traditional way to capture proof of delivery. If you choose this option, be sure that name, address, order number, date and time of delivery as well as the printed name and signature of the person who accepted the order are all captured. All entries should be legible.

Our Quality Service Representatives would be happy to help you evaluate your delivery procedures. To get started, please email


on Delivery Pools and Services

Do you participate in or are you considering joining a delivery pool or using a delivery service? Most common in larger, more urban areas, delivery pools give florists the option of swapping packages with other local shops so that they can be delivered more efficiently. Each florist handles all of their own design work before dropping pieces off at the central delivery pool location. A delivery service usually picks up daily at your location. While they can be convenient and a time-saver, you should evaluate these options carefully. We encourage you to utilize this type of service only if you are confident that all parties involved will handle your deliveries using industry best practices. If you do choose to join a delivery pool or use a delivery service, keep in mind that it is still your responsibility to verify that all orders are delivered properly and on time. You’ll want to set cutoff times by ZIP code with that allow you enough time to create orders and drop them off before the departure time of your pool or service. Additionally, you should require the party completing the delivery to provide you with a signed delivery log and secure confirmation of delivery before sending a DCON in Mercury.

Communicating with FTD Promptly communicating delivery status to FTD can help you avoid additional charges as well as customer frustration. If the delivery is successful: • Send a DCON as close to real time as possible to avoid inquiries from the sender. • Send the DCON only after the order is successfully delivered. For orders, this action immediately sends an email to the consumer stating the delivery is complete.

TIP: Never perform a DCON if the order is not successfully completed.

If the delivery is unsuccessful: • Immediately send an ASK message to the sender to let them know the status of the delivery and the next steps you plan to take. • Be prepared to re-deliver the order if necessary and work within the best interests of the consumer whenever possible. •  If you are contacted to provide proof of delivery, please respond quickly with clearly presented, valid documentation to avoid any DRP issues.

Visit to review all FTD Quality Programs.

Care and Handling from Field to Vase Happy customers lead to repeat sales. One of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction is to practice proper care and handling. Not only does this allow your customers to enjoy fresh flowers for as long as possible, it also reduces shrink and can add between 2 and 4 percent net profit to your shop’s bottom line. Hydration and storage Because flowers are a perishable commodity, it’s key to keep them hydrated. If you’re looking to add vase life to your flowers, hydrate them in the cooler. On the flip side, if you’re trying to promote open blooms, hydrate them at room temperature. FRESH FLOWER STORAGE TIPS • Store between 33 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. • Store in relative air humidity between 80 and 93 percent to maximize their freshness. • Tropical flowers and foliage should be held between 56 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures also allow flowers to use their internal food supply most efficiently.

Prompt processing When you receive cut flowers, process them as soon as possible. Ensure that you received the quantity you ordered as well as the correct varieties. Inspect each flower for signs of damage, botrytis or mold and immediately notify your supplier of any issues. It’s essential to use clean surfaces, tools and buckets when you process flowers. Sanitary conditions throughout your shop ensure excellent flower quality and help prevent the spread of bacteria and botrytis. OTHER PROCESSING TIPS • Rehydrate your flowers as you process them. • Use a hydration solution, following the instructions carefully. • Cut off the bottom inch of the stem with sharp, clean pruners or a florist knife. • Remove any foliage that would dip below the water line. • Keep fresh flowers away from direct sunlight, drafts and fruits and vegetables (ripening produce gives off ethylene gas, which causes flowers to wilt faster).

Feed your flowers Feeding cut flowers ensures that they receive the proper sugars necessary for longevity. Just like any other living being, having too much or too little food can cause problems, so be sure to follow product directions carefully. Train your staff to share feeding information with your customers and include the proper amount of flower food with all orders. FTD has designed care and handling pic cards and posters that you can print and display in your shop or include with outgoing orders. To download, please visit and click on “Care & Handling Materials.”

For more tools and resources for a successful Mother’s Day, visit

Quality Department Contact Information 800.788.9000 | |

The Benchmark - October 2016  
The Benchmark - October 2016