When it’s OK to break all the rules

Ling is the ‘Chinglish’ IT geek and constant creative who famously turned down investment from Dragon’s Den.

LingsCars is her chaotic website, often nominated ‘world’s worst’. It would not be considered ‘elegant’ by any stretch of a web designer’s imagination. However, Ling has won endless awards for her business.

Admittedly, the site will only appeal to people who ‘get’ her sense of humour. For example, she writes ‘WAH’ all over the page, has a ‘car-u-like-ator’ that works like a fruit machine to help you choose your new car, and includes a ‘moans’ page where she deals publicly (and cheekily) with complaints.

What comes through is a genuine personality. (People do business with people.)

Her secret of success? She’s coded a highly automated system that is also a very human experience. Placing an order makes you smile at every stage.

At one point in the process you are offered a free gift such as a ‘cash bribe’. You are then sent a branded envelope including a personalised letter, a banknote worth 6-7p that her sister picked up from the bank in China, together with some wrapped Polo mints that she’s taken from the counter.

It makes you actually enjoy the process of dealing with leasing paperwork. The cost to Ling is endless imagination plus a stamp and a tiny percent of her profit. The result is this blog and allegedly more letters from satisfied customers than any other site on the Internet.

Ling does cheap car leasing, but she could have sold anything from theatre tickets to holiday bookings. Imbued with her customary humour and customer service focus, I’m sure she’d make a success of those businesses too. Even if her website does nearly make your eyes bleed.

One Response to When it’s OK to break all the rules

  1. Ling Valentine August 2, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Jackie,

    Thanks so much for the blog. I really do try my best to have fun, even though I am dealing with £30,000 cars at a time and have about £1/2 million of new cars on order with dealers.

    I am interacting with credit-worthy UK customers, so I guess it’s OK to have fun, these people are intelligent adults and they know good service when they come across it.

    A car is not life or death, but it’s a big decision. People want to know who they are dealing with, and many firms are faceless and portray “professional” images on the web, but when you dig out their accounts (if they have any), they are often negative net worth, hence very dodgy to purchase from.

    I try to be very open and transparent, and it gives people a happy feeling of trust, I hope. The web is too easy for a penniless start-up to look “good” on, and I think a track record is very important.

    Life is too short to be boring :)

    Thanks again for the comments!

    Ling

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