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Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Key Idea: Execute Near Perfection

Customers doing business online expect ordering to be quick and easy.

Key Question:


Make customers so happy that they would never think of buying from anyone but you.

Search for more on the topic of customer service and technology.

Think about it

Would you say that your customers' experience is typically perfect?  How do you make sure your service is close to perfection?

Clip from: PC Flowers & Gifts

Stamford, Connecticut:  Bill Tobin has always risen to a challenge. He's always been an entrepreneur. When FTD Florist told him to go away, he began looking to find a way to take over. He said, "I had to do it. I had to do it. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Everybody said, `It won't work.' "

When this episode of the show was taped, Bill Tobin was selling more flowers than any one person in the world. He started PC Flowers and Gifts in 1989 and by 1996 he had become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in cyberspace. Though he sold the business to Figis, he continues to leverage his knowledge with strategic cyber partners throughout the world.  
Among other things Bill established over 2,700 co-branded web sites. In 2000, Bill was awarded a patent for web co-branding protocols. 

PC Flowers & Gifts

Bill Tobin, Founder

134 Davenport Circle
Stamford, CT 06902

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Internet Sales

Year Founded: 1989

Execute Near Perfection

So in 1988, I did a test on the Prodigy network with four products and I realized that 93 percent of the FTD members can't perform to the standards that I needed. So I developed an entire network called PC-Net and I got 7 percent of the largest FTD members on contract to perform to my standards.

HATTIE: Individually.

BILL: Individually.

HATTIE: You went to them instead of doing the whole 25,000 at a whack.

BILL: I only use 2,700 or 2,800 and they give me the entire network for the country coverage. I went live full tilt in January of 1990 as the 25,000th florist in the FTD network. By May, I was the 10th largest, and by September, I was the largest in the world. By then, I walked into FTD, walking softly and carrying my rather large stick, and said, `Now here's what I want. I want 5,000 square feet at the Mercury network. I want my people, my computers, my software. I want you to give me the keys to the Mercury network and I want to eliminate and bypass 93 percent of your members. I want to download directly from the platforms and I want to have the fastest, most efficient distribution channel in the world and I want to have perfection.'

The floral industry had between 5 percent and 7 percent or 8 percent, as it does today, that doesn't fly on a transactional paradigm, on an interactive network because, as I say, the sword of Damocles drops with a keystroke, and they can tell three million people how you ruined their mother's Mother's Day and everything you've done to them is down the tube.

And so consequently, I now have, over the past seven years--I'm told we've processed more orders than the rest of the interactive industry combined, and we have a documented error rate of 2/10ths of 1 percent.

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