Meet A Young Leader: Kelly Hayward

Being online is such a step into the future for an industry that generally has been brick-and-mortar. I joined J.W. Goodliffe & Son when our division was just getting off the ground five years ago. Since then, I’ve helped our Internet-based business grow from the high six figures to the high seven figures.

The secret of our online success isn’t technical wizardry; it’s unflagging customer service. That service includes free shipping, within 24 hours of order. I negotiate shipping rates and make sure the savings are passed on to the customer. I also work the search engines, making sure is at or very near the top.

While sales doubled over the previous year during the 2005 holiday season, and all orders were shipped on time, I came up against an obstacle that nearly prevented that. A popular TIG torch package was on backorder due to changes from the manufacturer, and a number of customers who’d ordered them as Christmas gifts had been waiting since November. In mid-December, I was informed that the packages would not be available until late January. Instead of calling all those customers and telling them they wouldn’t receive their Christmas presents on time, I worked out a plan. I spoke to all the customers and got their approval, and we ordered the parts separately and made the kits ourselves. We kept our customers’ price the same, and I’m proud to say that we got those kits out just in time for Christmas gifts. It’s something I probably wouldn’t think about twice any other time of year, but during the holidays, we were already stretched as thin as we possibly could be. I was ecstatic to be able to service our customers that way.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association