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Flowers for innovation: Kingswood florist

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

When the NBN came to her Kingswood florist, Joh Dickens found that she was finally able to make the most of her online customers. Now, 85 per cent of their sales are online or over the phone.

Joh Dickens arranging flowers in a display

Joh Dickens has been a florist operating in the Greater Western Sydney area for nearly three decades. Coming from a retail background, which gave her a love for dealing with people, Joh bought an established floristry business and quickly set about expanding it. She and her daughter now operate a chain of three outlets plus an online store. Joh attributes her success to her willingness to constantly modernise and keeping up with floristry industry trends. 

Being responsive to consumers

Operating in a high population growth area close to a university and hospital, Joh says that her business is about far more than selling bouquets and balloons.

Joh often finds herself joining customers on an emotional journey whether it's the stresses and joys of a wedding or the crushing grief of losing a relative to a long illness. She says she needs to be able get on with supporting customers without worrying about phone and internet services.

“I love that we sell emotions,” she beams. “We’re dealing with people’s feelings – the good times and bad times.”

As Joh explains, flowers help people find the words to express their feelings, from ‘hello it’s great to meet you’, to ‘I love you’, ’thank you’, ’I'm sorry’ and ‘goodbye’.

“The expectation [from customers] is high,” she adds. “[They think] ‘I’ve ordered flowers, I want them … straight away, whether [I placed the order over the] phone or the website’. It’s a now sort of society.”  

However, Joh’s old broadband connection with another provider didn’t always deliver.

Reliable communications backbone

Joh switched to Telstra on NBN services soon after it became available in her area, and was pleased to notice an immediate and vital boost in the speed and reliability of her internet services, as well as improved call quality for her digital phones. The business is now conducting up to 85 percent of its business over the phone or internet.

“We love the NBN,” Joh enthuses. “Before we had the NBN the internet was very, very slow and it used to drop out all the time. We’re now so used to it being fast that I can’t imagine not having the NBN”.

With the NBN providing fast, reliable broadband internet, Joh and her team can focus exclusively on completing orders and satisfying customers. “With faster internet, we’ve got more time to do more flowers and to do them quicker and you don’t get stressed,” she says. “That comes back to better time-management, which is the most important thing for us because we have a lot of deadlines.”

However, Joh says her NBN experience would have suffered if not for Telstra’s expert customer service and technical guidance.

“We tried quite a few other telephone people but we just didn’t get the same service that we did from Telstra. You can ring them and they’ll help you with anything that you need to do,” she notes. “It’s just very easy to communicate with them.”

Having the NBN has also greatly improved Joh’s ability to monitor and respond to customers through the business’s online retail store. And she expects that will become more important to her corporate customers in the future.

“Our corporate customers expect that the NBN will get even better as it goes on,” Joh says. This will allow them to complete orders more quickly and devote the saved time to other business or personal activities. 

Now Joh says she’s investigating her customers’ interest in having video calls for consultations. The speed and reliability of the NBN connection means she can interact with customers professionally through video, saving both her and them time traveling to face-to-face meetings.

“The NBN has encouraged us to have video calls with brides, which would save an awful amount of in-store time,” she explains. “We sometimes take up an hour or two hours of unpaid time with brides and there’s no guarantee that we’ll get that job anyway.”

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Things you need to know:

The NBN is not available to all areas or businesses. Check to see if it’s available to your business. The NBN Co logo, NBN Co and NBN are trademarks of NBN Co Limited and are used under license from NBN Co Limited. The spectrum device and ™ are trademarks and ® are registered trademarks of Telstra Corporation Limited. ABN 33 051 775 556.

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