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.