Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tip o' the hat to N Brown

At N Brown, as at so many other direct marketing firms, the number of inbound calls to the contact centre has declined as online orders have increased. At myriad such companies, this has resulted in redundancies amongst call centre staff. But not at N Brown, whose catalogues include Fashion World, Simply Be, House of Bath, and Jacamo.

In an article in Crain's Manchester Business, N Brown chief executive Alan White explains that rather than cutting staff, the company has trained them to conduct outbound telemarketing. By calling customers who haven't ordered in a while, "the outbound team brought in £40 million in the last full year, an increase of 35 percent," Crain's reports.

At a time when so many businesses are focused almost exclusively on cutting costs (and yes, we do realise that for a significant portion, that focus is all that prevents them from going under), it's great to see a major company like N Brown broaden its outlook to encourage growth. Is it a coincidence that, in contrast to many other apparel merchants, N Brown's annual sales rose nearly 11 percent and its profit more than 6 percent?--SC

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