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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Twitter IS Changing The Face of Customer Service


You Don't Believe Me?  Then Please Read on :-)

Social media will revolutionise the way businesses serve their customers.  Certainly this will the case with office supplies.  In fact its already happening. Right here, right now.

You will see from our home page that OfficeThingy is active when it comes to  social media. You can check out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and/or you may also choose to read this blog.  Fankoo!
Twitter is particularly interesting and from a "customer service" point of view; potentially very, very powerful, so I will focus on Twitter in this post.  Like many newbies I guess, my initial Twitter behaviour was exploritory and fairly random.  Who do I follow? What do I Tweet?  I felt like a man sat in a dark room filled with white noise, trying to tune into what was going on but doing nothing more than talking to myself.  I get that feeling with my blogs too sometimes; but I am confident these blogs will add value as the posts become more refined over time. You tell me. Anyway, I digress.

And then at a Transformational ICT On Line Marketing Conference & Exhibition I discovered Tweetspinner. Thank you Andrew Talbot.  Tweetspinner is a terrific Twitter management tool and worth every dollar.

OfficeThingy's Twitter strategy is now much more structured.  I am very selective about who I follow.  I purge my followers and friends regularly to ensure I not only have room to follow people who are relevant (and relevancy is dependant on my own unique criteria but includes some obvious no-brainers as to who I must follow) but that I also improve my friends to followers ratio.  At one point it was insane - 350%!  My goal is to get it well below 100% and I am getting there.

I recommend you check Tweetspinner out. Do you think it's risky, in this highly competitive office supplies market place, for me to be sharing this kind of insight?  Surely the competition will pick up on it. Isn't that dangerous?  Errr ... No! And this is just one way in which social media is revolutionary.  It encourages CONVERSATIONS and sharing like never before.  The stance of my business is that we have more to offer than most of the competition. So it follows we and me, have more to share. And less to fear of being candid and transparent. Good, innit?

Here's an example of the power of Twitter and a signal of things to come.

The CONVERSATION in the public domain (that's the important bit folks) went something like this:

  • A newly acquired follower tweets to say they are adding items to their basket and looking forward to putting me to the test.
  • I respond instantly with a big thank you and a promise of delight.
  • My promise of delight is endorsed by a second follower who takes time to tweet us both. Nice!  If I had been a provider of poor service the comment may have been to the contrary.  Do you get my point yet?
  • Hick-up encountered! My newly acquired follower tweets to express polite frustration at having built up a chunky a basket only to have lost it.  Arghh!!
  • What was the cause? If an unregistered surfer saves items to a basket, Our system keeps baskets open for up to 160DAYS, however if the unregistered customer has an anti-virus security package, if they close the browser down the evolution cookie is destroyed and the basket cannot be retrieved.
  • Solution; humble apologies offered to the generous surfer who takes the trouble to register and places her order.  I am also offered a thank you by my NEW CUSTOMER for having responded instantly.  
  • What happens next is that the goods are delivered next day ... and so on.  
  • Update - and here's a tweet just in from my generous new customer, 20/4/2011:-
@OfficeThingy GREAT service! Saved a ton using you guys vs our usual suppliers & the best part: a buddy for my mac

Don't Believe Me?  Please Read on :-)

So, the revolution here is that since the shopper-store conversation was in Twitter, it was conducted openly and all my followers (in fact anyone) will have seen the trail of events.  Exposing my service to the world in real time like never before.

In the future customers will complain via Twitter. Why? because they'll having conversations and sharing dissatisfaction not only with the business but also with all their followers - which will include customers, competitors and  potential customers. This  is far more powerful than writing a letter to the customer services manager or MD.  So who wins? Those businesses that are seen to quickly and effectively resolve issues will gain credence and respect. Those that don't will be exposed. And perhaps one day it will come to pass that those that hide from social media will be assumed to be errr ... "hiding".

Tweet content?

That's something for you to determine within the context of the needs and goals of your business.   Selective "Broadcasting" has its place, but Twitter is about much, much more than firing out links to special offers.  Extreme broadcasting is nothing more than crude spamming. I have cut the number of posts I make which contain urls and I have un-followed hundreds of "broadcasters". Sorry folks you lost my attention and / or brassed me off with bombardment.

A point on which to close:-

Did you know that Google is going to give a businesses's social media profile "authority" based on "quality", and will construct algorithms to filter out the credible users from the abusers?  Paid links will carry less authority too.

Social Media will change and lead to who know's where, but one thing is for sure, social media isn't going away. There will be winners and losers.  Best dab in now.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Bic Cristal

We love bic pens! 

Celebrate the 60'th birthday of the iconic bic cristal ball pen and buy a pack of 50 medium bic pens for just £6.49

Here are the product codes and links for you -

Blue = BC10001
Black = BC10002
Red = BC10003 has an extensive range of writing instruments including everythingy Bic.

Many happy returns Bic Cristal!


Here's another of OfficeThingy's old favourites, remembered from childhood days when multi coloured pens were magical; the cool yet amazingly practical Bic retractable Blue/Black/Red/Green biro,
Click Code BC24623  and get a box of 12 for just £15.10!

How Did It All  Start?

BIC manufactures and sells 22 million stationery and pen products every day around the world. BIC is the number one manufacturer of ballpoint pens in the world and a leader in stationery products.  In France, in 1945, a man named Marcel BICH, who had been the production manager for a French manufacturer of ink, bought a factory outside Paris and set up business as the maker of parts for fountain pens and mechanical lead pencils with his partner Edouard BUFFARD.

While his writing instruments parts business began to grow, the development of the ballpoint was advancing in both United States and Europe and Marcel BICH saw the enormous potential for this new writing instrument.

After obtaining the patent rights to a ball pen created by Hungarian inventor, Marcel BICH introduced his own ball pen in December 1950. Touting his product as a reliable pen at an affordable price, he called it "BIC" a shortened and easy to remember version of his own last name. The famous BIC CRISTAL ballpoint pen was born!

He supported its launch with effective, memorable advertising and its sales surpassed even his own expectations.  

The company then expanded its product range and began to enter the foreign markets by creating subsidiaries, acquiring control of foreign companies or through agents. Since 1950, Bic pens have revolutionized ease of writing for millions of consumers all around the world, who continue to value them.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Best Business Awards 2011: A Star Hoping For Awards Success

Best Business Awards 2011: A Star Hoping For Awards Success: "A Star Media is a film production company specialising in web films, and we’re based in Mansfield. We launched the business full time in Ap..."

Friday, 8 April 2011

How To Choose The Right Cartridge For You

Step 1
Decide if you prefer to use an original - OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), a Compatible, or a Remanufactured product.

Manufactured by the company who made your machine. OEM's invest heavily in the R&D of their hardware and supplies to ensure professional quality printing every single time. They are designed to give optimum performance when used together.

Not manufactured by the OEM, but are designed to be compatible with your machine. Each cartridge is 100% new and is backed up with product guarantees.

When printer cartridges reach the end of their life, there is often an option for them to be recycled/remanufactured to give them a whole new lease of life. The cartridges undergo a rigorous remanufacturing process before being reffiled, tested and repackaged as a new brand. This process ensures that less waste materials are sent to landfill and produces and environmentally friendly products backed up with product guarantees.

Step 2
If you know the product code or manufacturer code of your cartridge, type it into the search bar on the home page. We have 21000 office supplies products and our search engine will quickly find the toner for you.

If you don't know the product code, use our 3 step Ink & Toner finder; select the machine manufacturer, the type of cartridge (e.g. toner or ink) and the model number of your machine. OfficeThingy will then display the consumables for your machine. You may refine the selection to look at any compatibles or remanufactured supplies that might be available for your machine.

Step 3
Add the items to your basket and save at

In your account you may save the toners you buy regularly for quick selection next time you shop, so you only have to go through the search process once.

Here's some more information you might find useful, lifted directly from Wikipedia.  


Compatible ink and toner (also called consumables) is manufactured by third party manufacturers and are designed to work in designated printers without infringing on patents of printer manufacturers. These toners may come in a variety of packaging including sealed plastic wraps or taped plastic wraps. Regardless of packaging, compatible products are generally priced lower than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brand consumable products. While there has been considerable debate and litigation involving the ink and tonerpatents of printer manufacturers,[1] third party manufacturers continue to thrive. Manufacturers of compatible ink and toner products currently control about 25% the ink and toner market[2] well over $8 Billion annually.[3]


Compatible ink is manufactured for several types of machines including fax machineslaser printersinkjet printersmultifunction printers, and copiers. Aside from compatible products, three other sources of consumables are also available to supply these machines, including OEM brand ink and toner, remanufactured toner and ink cartridges, and refilled ink and toner cartridges. Compatible ink manufacturers differentiate their product by using all new parts, whereas other ink replacements recycle used OEM parts.[citation needed]


Part of the debate surrounding compatible consumables is about the quality of compatible products. Third part manufacturers[who?] defend the quality of their products vigorously.[citation needed] Independent testing on compatible ink show little or no difference in quality between compatible and OEM products.[4] However, many critics[who?] of compatible ink say the colors (especially yellow) on prints are not as bright as genuine ink, and that finished prints appear to be less glossy. Critics[who?] also say that color prints made with compatible ink are less durable than OEM ink and toners as well. One example given is that while Epson OEM ink can produce prints that last for 92 years, compatible ink prints generally fade more quickly.[5]

Some information explaining the "office machine consumables" available to you at OfficeThingy

Inkjet Cartridges
Are for use on inkjet printers, multi-function devices (typically printer, copier and scanner functionality in one machine) and some fax machines.  They contain liquid ink and are available in a variety of colours.  Depending   on the type of the printer the cartridges fit, there is usually one black and one tri-colour cartridge (combined Cyan, magenta and Yellow) or one Black and three single colour cartridges (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow).

However, because of the growth of photo printing a more sophisticated inkjet printer can take up to 8 different colour cartridges , with extra colours such as green and red as well as light version of the standard colours (light cyan, light magenta) that allow the printing of high quality photos with a higher degree of accuracy and a better quality finish.

Single cartridge packs, twin packs and multi packs are available as well as standard or high capacity inkjet cartridges to suit individual users and offer cost savings.

Toner Cartridges
Are for use on laser printers, photocopiers and some fax machines.  They contain powdered ink (toner) and depending on the type of printer the cartridges needed are usually a single black cartridge and three single colour cartridges (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow).

Although the more popular choice nowadays is a colour laser printer, there are also smaller mono (black only) laser printers available.

Single cartridge packs, twin packs and multi packs are available as well as standard or high capacity toner cartridges to suit individual users and offer cost savings.

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