Saving the WeddingPart One
On an August Summer day, we sat down for a quick chat with some of the Staff at Qronfla. As we spoke about future projects in the pipeline, the chat swiftly shifted towards problem solving, and how important customer satisfaction is to the company that has stood for the past 150 years.
They explained how everything is possible, and that somehow there is a solution to everything. A motto they have principled their lives and work around. A staff member calmly recounted how they had solved a recent experience.
What happened exactly?
Picture this. The busy summer wedding season is almost over and we are gearing up for the Christmas season at a very rapid steady pace. With just 3 weeks to go for the opening of our Christmas shop, the loads and pressures were growing immensely. That same week we had had some very long working hours stretching up to full days at the office, so much as 22 hours in single days working to secure all shipments with our foreign suppliers in Europe and the far East.
It’s a Friday morning slightly before 9am when the office phone rings; on the line was a wedding planner that we work with very often. They had called to confirm if all is well for the wedding the following day, Saturday. We denied having any bookings as we didn’t have anything listed on our diary nor on our orders. We were wrong!
A booking had actually been made months before and this was confirmed. The order had somehow been misplaced, and not filed appropriately with the other orders we had. We vividly remembered meeting the couple and we knew that this was a very sensitive and emotional moment for the family.
We couldn’t fail anyone; the wedding planners that trusted us blindly, the couple who trusted the flowers for their special day to us and our company’s reputation that has been standing for ever so long. An unsolved mistake like this could be disastrous on everyone!
What was special about this wedding?
The problem was that the chosen flowers were not common flowers one would find inside our flower shop, or that any regular flower shop would import on a daily or weekly basis in Malta. The chosen flowers were very rare and specific. These flowers were specifically chosen by the bride to remember a family member that had tragically passed away years before.
What were your initial actions?
As you could imagine, we worried, but it’s useless pointing fingers and wasting time thinking on what went wrong, or who had made the mistake etc… We had to act fast and precisely. There was no more room for error left. We started our search by trying our luck with other local vendors and other florists in the market, but this was unfruitful.
At the same time, we were trying to find a way to bring in the flowers in by airfreight to Malta by Saturday morning, but unfortunately the only flight that would make it near was an Air Malta flight landing at 2:30pm from Amsterdam on Saturday, however this was too late as the wedding ceremony was meant to start at 4pm.
Changing the flowers was not an option and so we called our suppliers in Amsterdam to prepare the order for us and wait for our instructions for delivery.
"We were worried.. We had to act fast & precisely!"
How did you tackle the situation?
With time quickly passing, we were still calm and composed. The flower shop was really busy, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and we had a trainee on their first day at the shop. She had a hectic first day!
The Christmas shop needed certain information from the office that we couldn’t provide because by now, we are all busy trying to find a solution to the wedding problem. Tension was slowly building on the staff and at one point I had to go out of the office for a while just to reflect on other solutions that I might not be thinking of.
Despite hesitation, bearing in mind the cost and hassle, we decided that it was best for someone to make their way to Amsterdam and collect the flowers in person by the following day!
It’s past 11am Friday and we started looking at options to travel and pick up the flowers in person. We were looking at all flight options and keeping an open mind to possibilities, however flights were very limited.
The initial thoughts were to travel to Brussels and then drive to Amsterdam to pick up the flowers. Then drive back to Dusseldorf and fly back to Malta the following morning. This proved impossible however as there were no available flights from Dusseldorf the following day. Flights from Eindhoven were also not possible. We decided to look into flights from Paris (Charles de Gaulle), and this was possible!
It was almost Noon and we decided to call the customer care department at air Malta. Here the representative was very helpful and we decided to get a flight to Munich leaving Malta at 3:45pm and getting a connecting flight ito Amsterdam, arriving there on time to get the flowers. Then we would travel to Frankfurt by train overnight, catch the 9:20am flight from Frankfurt, and arrive back in Malta slightly before noon on the following day (Saturday).
The plan seemed ready, so we booked the flight and immediately started making all the necessary arrangements, namely checking and advising Frankfurt airport about this itinerary and informing them for our staff and cargo to have priority on the aircraft the next morning.
We made arrangements for a late pick up of flowers from Amsterdam airport and looked into all options for the trip from Schiphol to Frankfurt by train overnight. I was also looking into an alternative plan B but took no notes of that as we were hoping we wouldn’t need to resort for this option..
The rest of the story?!…
Stay tuned to find out how the flights went, How we had to resort to plan B mid way, being stopped along the way and ultimately made it back in our next blogpost!