Category Archives: Business

Tip #288-Bad Checks


Tip #288
Bad Checks

There are times when a customer’s check will come back as “Insufficient Funds” along with the amount your bank is charging you for processing that check.  Hopefully, this will not happen to you often.  But if it does, in most cases (if not all) you will want to recoup these bank charges from the customer.  This post will tell you how to do that.

First of all, there are 2 different types of bad checks, the ones entered through the accounts receivable module and the ones entered at the point of sale module.

Let’s start by saying that you should never accept a check from a customer through a “999” sale because if the check “bounces” there is no way for you to recoup the money.
I would not even accept a check from a customer if I don’t have a backup credit card to charge in case the check is no good.

Most “bad” checks will be entered through the A/R module and that is why there is a specific menu option to handle them.

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Upon selecting this option, you will be presented with the following screens…

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You will need to enter the account number and the correct check number of the “bad” check.  This should be easily available to you from the bank but if it is not you can always find it through the A/R module.  Once you have the correct account and check number entered, flowerSoft will allow you to continue…

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flowerSoft will supply the check amount and let you enter the bank charge you want to recoup.  It then informs you of the total amount the customer will be charged back.

Since this is a check entered through the A/R module, it will have one or more ON ACCOUNT invoices linked to it.  So instead of adding a new charge for $220.oo in this example, what flowerSoft will do is void the payment, restoring all the original outstanding amounts for the invoices it paid, and then just add an additional charge for the bank charge.

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If you go and look at the original payment, you will see that it has been marked as void.

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So if you now look into the customer’s account, you will see that the payment is not even shown but a charge back amount is now visible.

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That is how you handle a payment made through the A/R module when the check comes back as “Insufficient Funds” or any other reason for that matter.

However, if the “bad” check was accepted through the POS module, we need to use a different method to charge back the customer.

First you need to bring up the invoice that was paid with the “bad” check.
Once you have it on the screen, you will need to update the record and indicate why you are doing so…

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Next, you will need to navigate to the products screen and add a line item for the chargeback…

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In order to add what the bank charged you for the returned check, you will need to have an item code for the chargeback.  The code name and description is entirely up to you but you must make sure that it is marked as a tax free item.

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Once you have an item code for the chargeback, you can enter it on the next available line in the order.

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By the way, you can make the chargeback amount to the customer greater than what the bank charged you if you want to cover your additional expenses.

Once this line item is added, you must change the method of payment from check, to either ON ACCOUNT or CREDIT CARD if you have a backup credit card for this customer.  Remember that since flowerSoft does not store credit card numbers,  to have a backup credit card for the customer, the customer must have made a previous purchase using a credit card.

So now you must go to the method of payment screen and change the method of payment to ON ACCOUNT or CREDIT CARD.

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Notice that the order is still a taxable order and that even though the Subtotal amount has changed to $90.00, the taxable amount remains at $60.00 and the Sales Tax amount remains the same as it was.

Those are the steps needed to charge the customer back for a returned check accepted through the POS module.  A little more complicated than a check accepted through the A/R module but still a fairly simple process.

The one thing to remember is that you must make your chargeback item code as a tax free item, otherwise flowerSoft would calculate sales tax on $90.00 instead of $60.00

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip #196 – Replenishing an EGC


Tip #196
Replenishing an EGC

So now we know how to sell EGCs and also accept them as payment.
Next we are going to learn how to add money to (replenish) an existing EGC.
Basically, it is very similar to selling a new EGC.
Here is how…egcr08 egcr07

egcr06 egcr05 egcr04 egcr03 egcr02 egcr01

  1.  You first enter the order and sell an EGC$ for whatever amount the customer wants to add to the EGC and then print and  save the order.
  2. After the order is saved, flowerSoft will ask you a series of questions.  The first one of which is trying to find the EGC that needs to be replenished.
  3. Once the correct EGC is selected, it is just a simple matter of telling flowerSoft if the password for the card will remain the same or if it will be different.

If you have any questions, please ask.

 

Tip #194 – Selling Electronic Gift Cards (Certificates)


Tip #194
Selling Electronic Gift Cards (Certificates)

So now we are going to learn how to sell, meaning entering into flowerSoft, an electronic gift card.

There are some Item Description Codes in flowerSoft that should never be removed.  Among them is EGC, which stands for Electronic Gift Card.

To sell an electronic gift card, you simply enter the EGC code in one of the order’s lines as shown below.  Electronic Gift Cards can be sold to the customer in person or over the phone.  An electronic gift card, just like any other gift card or certificate is exempt from sales tax, as that will be paid by the recipient of the gift card when making a purchase.egc10

 egc11Notice that there is no sales tax calculated when your customer is going to pay for the electronic gift card.

When you save the order and go through the print options, flowerSoft will then record the electronic gift card sale.egc01The best method is to have flowerSoft generate the electronic gift card number.  If you are going to swipe a physical card, you have to make sure that you do it using an old swiper that does not encode the information read from the mag stripe or you can enter the number by hand if it is visible to the naked eye..egc02As usual, flowerSoft will ask for confirmation of your actionsegc03and then for an expiration date.egc04Since we are talking mainly about “virtual” gift cards, a gift card that can be accepted over the phone as well as in person, you should answer “Y”es here.egc05The customer will need to tell you what the password for the gift card is going to be.  You can also pick the password but it is best to have the customer pick it, if possible.egc07The password will have to be entered twice to make sure there is no mistake.egc08flowerSoft will then inform you that the gift card has been recorded and ask you if you want to print and/or email a receipt to give to the customer.egc09egc12

You can choose to do both if the customer is in the store or if you want to keep a printed copy for yourself.  Below is a copy of what the e-mailed receipt looks like.

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Above is the email version of the electronic gift card receipt.  The printed copy is identical.

Next post, we’ll learn how to accept an electronic gift certificate as a method of payment and how to replenish the value of an existing electronic gift card.

Tip #193 – Gift Cards and Certificates


Tip #193
Gift Cards and Certificates

We are all familiar with gift certificates.  We’ve either given them to someone or received them from someone.  They are most time printed on paper and, if from a small business or shop, usually hand-written.  Most of you probably carry them in your store.
A few of you might ever carry your own personalized store gift cards, with your name and logo on the card.   Gift card sales are expected to hit $200 Billion in 2014

Your own gift card is a very profitable item to sell.  Why?  Because not only does it potentially bring new customers into your store but also, according to the latest research, 8 to 10% of them are never used.  That is a huge number.  And that number is for Visa, Amex and big store gift cards which are a lot easier to redeem than your shop’s gift card.
Think about it, that means that if you sell $1000 worth of gift cards $80 to $100 go straight to your bottom line.  In my opinion, your own gift cards would have a much higher rate of non-redemption since they have to be used in person at  your store, which makes it kind of inconvenient for the recipient of the gift card.

Remember the early days of Dove and Mercury?  Some shrewd florists never used these electronic systems to send outgoing orders.  They would rather incur the expense of phoning them out (and some still do) in the hope that the filling florist would never report the transaction to the wire service.  Well, while that might no longer be as wide-spread as it was when most shops did not have POS systems,   I’ll bet that even shops with a fancy computer system still fail to report some of the phone-in orders

While the big profitability of phoning orders out might have mostly gone away, the profitability of selling gift cards that might never be claimed is definitely still here in a big way.  Remember that 8 to 10% goes directly to your bottom line, so you want to get in that action.
However, most florist have a difficult time selling gift cards and/or certificates to their own stores.  Why?  Precisely for the same reason you want to start selling those profitable gift cards.  Most consumers realize that a gift card that can only be used in person at your store is a lot harder to redeem than a Visa or Amex card that can be used anywhere, so normally they would opt to buy a Visa gift card over a gift card issued by and only redeemable in person at George’s Flowers and Gifts.

So how do you overcome this obvious obstacle of trying to sell a gift card that can only be used in person at your store?
flowerSoft has had the answer for several years now but only a few of you know about it and make use of it.
The answer is a “virtual” gift card.  A gift card that can be used by the recipient without the need to physically be in your store.  That should overcome one of the main objections consumers have about buying your own store’s gift card.

In the next post I will tell you how to sell and re-deem these electronic gift cards through flowerSoft’s point of sale program.

Tip #186 – Help Eliminate Below Average Orders


Tip #186
Help Eliminate Below Average Orders

As floral industry experts such as Tim Huckabee of Floral Strategies and Dan McManus of Team Floral advocate in their training sessions, you and your employees should always try to get your customers to spend more than what they normally spend; but do it in such a way that is not offensive and does not make you look like you are always pushing higher priced items.

But, how do you know how much your customer normally spends on flowers?
Well, flowerSoft has a couple of tools to help you with that.

If the customer is a returning customer, flowerSoft will know how much the customer spends on average for the product (not including delivery, sales tax or other charges) and will display that on the screen during order entry.

I’ve improved that old feature by letting you and your employees know if the order being entered is below what the customer normally spends.

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flowerSoft will display this message while in the product entry screen and then again just before the method of payment screen.

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Of course, this only works when the customer has a purchase history with you.  The first time a customer calls your shop you’ll have to rely on Tim’s and Dan’s teachings or your own experience to determine how much the customer is willing to spend.

Another flowerSoft tool you can use to increase sales is by the use of “price points”.
The “price points” feature was explained on Tip #140
https://flowersoftsilver.com/2013/07/09/tip-139/

flowerSoft does offer one more tool to help increase the total of the order by the use of “upsells”.

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How to activate the “upsells” feature and details on how to use it have been posted before.  Take a look at these old posts…

Tip #095
https://flowersoftsilver.com/2012/08/02/tip-095/

and Tip #128
https://flowersoftsilver.com/2013/04/27/tip-128/

and Tip #061
https://flowersoftsilver.com/2012/01/29/tip-061/

 

 

 

 

 

Deciphering the Daily Financial Report


Deciphering the Daily Financial Report
(A.K.A. The Daily Activity Snapshot)
dfr15I’ll admit it, the Daily Financial Report is hard to understand and sometimes it makes mo sense at all.  So let’s try to demystify it by breaking it into small pieces.
Let’s first take the “Order Types” section.dfr05
This one is a fairly easy section to understand.  It probably needs no explanation except perhaps for the Dollar amounts.  The Dollar amounts in this section include everything.  Product,  discounts, delivery, relay and sales tax.  The average order amount is obtained by dividing the total amount by the number of orders.  So this average amount does not paint a true picture of how much your customers spend each time they place an order with you because it includes sales taxes, which you do not get to keep.

Now let’s look at the “Revenue Sources” section.dfr06

A “Cash” sale is any sale that does not have an ON ACCOUNT method of payment or is received from one of the wire services.
“House Charges” are any sales with an ON ACCOUNT method of payment and “Wire Services” is any orders received from one of the wire services.
The Dollar amounts in this section also include all charges, including sales tax.

Let’s now look at  the “Sales Tax – Liability vs Collected” section.dfr07

Here you’ll see a breakdown of the sales taken on that day into taxable sales and tax exempt sales.  Sales allowances coming from the A/R module are also reported here.
The Dollar amount reported here does not include any sales tax collected on the orders.  The sales tax collected is reported just below under the heading of “Collected”
The sales tax amount you are liable for is reported under the “Liability” column.  These 2 amounts  never match each other because of the rounding done when calculating the sales tax to be collected, but they should be fairly close to each other.
flowerSoft allows you to have up to 3 different tax rates mainly because Canadian shops had that many different rates at one time.  If you charge a different rate if you deliver to a different state, then enter that rate as either Rate B or Rate C.

The “Cash Receipts” section.

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The actual amounts for cash, checks and credit cards are reported here.  It should give you a pretty good estimate of what your bank deposit should be for the day.  Note that the credit card amount is the gross amount.  No deduction is made for the percentage you pay the credit card company.

The “A/R  Activity” section

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This section shows you how many payments were received that day and the amount of money received.  Please note that the amount does not include any sales or finance/re-billing charge allowance applied through the A/R module.
Credits and Debits issued through the A/R module are also shown here.
Please note that finance /re-billing charge allowances are not considered credits (although they really are) and are not included here.  They are included in the “Misc. Charges” section.

The “Methods of Payment section

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This section shows you the different methods of payment you used on your sales for the day.  The Dollar amount includes sales taxes collected.  The ON ACCOUNT and SPLIT methods of payment are shown but no amount is included.  The methods of payment used to pay for those orders are included (preceded by an asterisk) when the orders are paid for.

The “Credit/Debit Card Receipts” section

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This section shows you the amounts received as payment using the credit cards you accept.  In order to give you a better idea of how much you are really getting from your credit card sales, flowerSoft shows you a “Net Amount” which is obtained by multiplying the total receipts for each card by 3%. 

The incoming and outgoing orders section is pretty self-explanatory and all I’m going to add is that the net amount received and the commission earned are calculated using the entries made in the incoming and outgoing wire services database.

The “Source of Orders” section.

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This section shows you how your orders came in.  The amounts include the sales tax collected.

Finally, the “Misc. Charges” section shows you…

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Delivery, relay and finance/re-billing charges collected.  If a finance/re-billing charge was waived through the A/R module, that amount will be deducted from this section.

That concludes the demystification of the Daily Financial Report, also known as the Activity Snapshot.  Hopefully this post has helped you understand a little better how the numbers in this report are obtained and what the represent.

Identical Credit Card Transactions


Identical Credit Card Transactions

OK folks, the problem is real and it has definitely affected you.

The problem is not with Merchant Warehouse’s program but with First Data, the clearing house.  They are seeing those identical transactions as duplicates and not paying you for them.

How?  They are deducting the money from what they consider to be duplicate transactions from the next day’s money they deposit in your bank, so it might be hard to see if you do not check that deposit every day.

I don’t know when this problem will be fixed, but until it is you should check your batch deposit every day.

To get paid for the transactions they did not credit you for, you have to go the your Merchant Warehouse Portal and create “Forced Sales” for each of the transactions you did not get paid for.

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The problem here is getting the credit card number from Merchant Warehouse if you cannot get it from the customer.  Merchant Warehouse will not give you the credit card number unless you have the approval number.  The problem is that approval numbers go away after 30 days, so if they do not have the approval number they cannot help you.  That is why it is imperative that you check these deposits every day.

You should print the report of identical credit card transactions and call Merchant Warehouse with the information provided in the report so that they can provide you with the credit card number used if at all possible.

Otherwise your only other recourse is to call the customer and try to get the information from them and then enter a new order for the same amount.

Poll – How Was your Valentine’s Holiday?


Poll
How Was Your Valentine’s Holiday?

Suggestion


Suggestion
Promote Yourself and Keep Customers

I know that every time I send flowers to someone, I always wonder what the arrengement looked like and if I got a good value for my money.
I am sure most of your customers feel the same way.

There is a flowerSoft user in St. Petersburg, Florida who has always been at the forefront of customer satisfaction as far as I am concerned.
Terry Hagstrom of Carter’s Florist and Gifts, always makes an extra effort to keep his customers happy and coming back for more.

On of the things Carter’s does that impresses me the most is take the time, even during busy holidays like this one, to keep their customers happy and coming back is send a delivery confirmation with a picture of the arrangement the customer paid for attached to the email.  I just can’t tell you how effective I think this is in keeping customers loyal.
The customer now knows exactly what his floral gift looked like without having to ask the recipient, plus he or she will be able to tell if the money spent was justified.

If you are proud of the work that comes out of your shop, as I’m sure all of you are, this is a great way to show your customers just how good you are.

It only takes a couple of minutes of your time to take the picture and save it to a computer.  flowerSoft will do the rest and there isn’t a better way, in my opinion, to keep customers happy and coming back.

Here is an example of a delivery confirmation email from Carter’s and a few of the pictures that are attached to the emails.

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Several of the features flowerSoft offers today are a direct result of requests for new features made by him. Things like loyalty programs, web order transfers and delivery confirmations with picture attachments have come about as a direct result of his requests. So, if you ever use any of these features, send Terry a note and thank him for having such great features available to you because of his quest for complete customer satisfaction. Or better yet, if you have some orders going down his way you know that he’ll take great care of them.

  • St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Local: 727-327-5568
  • Toll Free: 800-327-5568

Tip #084 – Order & Delivery Confirmations


Tip #084
Order & Delivery Confirmations

I’ve been asked to explain the correct process to send order and delivery confirmations to customers.  Here it goes.

The customer’s profile record screen has two fields, one is marked O/C and the other one D/C

They stand for Order Confirmations and Delivery Confirmations respectively.
In the screen shot above, they are both marked with an N.  That means that this customer will not receive either order nor delivery confirmations.
In order for the customer to receive either type of confirmation, those fields have to be marked with  Y.

You can select just to send one type of confirmation and not the other by placing a Y in one of the fields and an N in the other.

If you enter a Y in one of the fields and you do not have an e-mail address for the customer already on file, flowerSoft will respond with…

If you are adding a new customer record, flowerSoft will ask you if you want to enter an email address after you’ve entered all the information needed to open a new account.
If you are changing the settings for an existing customer, you will need to press E after you save the record to enter a new e-mail address for the customer.

Notice the field labeled “Default Address?”.  This is a new field that was made available for customer who have several e-mail addresses on file but want to receive confirmation on only one of those addresses.  If you have such a condition, enter a Y in this field.

If you have entered a cell phone number for the customer, and you have on your default settings that you want to send text confirmations to a customer’s cell phone, flowerSoft will ask you for the name of the carrier

If the customer’s cell phone carrier is not shown on the list, hit the @ sign and flowerSoft will allow you to enter a new carrier

as you can see, you must know what to enter in the yellow line.  That information is almost always available in the internet.

Please note that text messages to a customer’s cell phone cannot contain images and may cost money to the customer if they do not have a plan with an unlimited number of text messages.  Always ask the customers if they would like to receive confirmations via a text message before setting up this option for them.

This is basically all that is needed to set up a customer to receive order and delivery confirmations.

If you have already entered a number of e-mail addresses for customers that do not have these setting correctly marked, you can update each customer manually or you can update all customers with e-mail addresses to receive both order and delivery confirmations in one step by going to the Manager’s menu > Client Operations > E-Mail Addresses Database > Set Order & Deliv. Confirmations.

This process will set both order and delivery confirmation fields in the customer’s profile record to Y for customers will e-mail addresses on file.

Order confirmations will be automatically sent when the customer places an order.
Delivery confirmations is a little more involved.

For flowerSoft to be able to send delivery confirmations, you must somehow tell flowerSoft that the order has been delivered.  The best way to do this is by using the route & recipt forms program.  When your driver gets back from making the deliveries, you, your dispatcher or the driver can mark the orders as delivered by going into the Dispatcher’s menu and selecting option L – Log-in Deliveries From R&R Form.  flowerSoft will then send the delivery confirmations for the orders marked as delivered.

If you do not use the route & receipt forms program, then you must mark each order as delivered a different and more difficult way.

You must go into the Dispatcher’s menu and select option E – Edit/View Deliveries by Inv. No.. select each invoice delivered, update the record and entered the actual delivery date and time, driver’s initials, who signed for the order and any pertinent remarks.

After that is done for all the orders delivered, you must go to the Dispatcher’s menu > Delivery Confirmations and select option 5 – Send Delivery Confirmations.

So, as you can see that is a little more involved than doing it through the Route & Receipt option.

To modify the wording that gets sent with the delivery confirmations, you can select the option in the Dispatcher’s menu > Delivery Confirmations labeled Add/Modify Message Text

When you select this option, flowerSoft will display the following screen

You can replace the text as you see fit.  Notice the special character markers and the explanation on how to use them at the bottom of the screen.

If you want to go the Carter’s Florist route and include a picture of each arrangement as it leaves the store with the delivery confirmations, you must place the jpg file of the picture in the FSROOT\PICTURES folder.  Remember that you must inform us if you want to use this type of confirmation as modifications have to be made to your version of the program.  Also remember that each file must be named with the invoice # and the .jpg extension.  In other words the picture for the arrangement ordered in invoice 2358 must be called 2358.jpg.
Also, the wording with those messages is not customizable.

I think this covers it and hope have not forgotten anything.  If I have or if there is anything else you’d like to know about sending delivery confirmations to your customers, please let me know.