Video interview: John Sollars

December 2011

Running a business

John Sollars, MD of Stinkyink.com talks about learning from his mistakes, how to keep a business running and why Sir Clive Sinclair is his inspiration.

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  • 1
    jscole wrote on 14th Dec 2011

    There is one aspect that did not come out of the interview and that is how his company survives in such a competitive market. For me, what distinguishes Stinkyink from the plethora of other low cost compatible ink cartridge manufacturere is (to quote Simon and Garfunkel) the desire to "keep the customer satisfied". I get regular and frequent newsletters, always written in a friendly, jovial style making his workforce seem like fun people; with good bargains. I am a happy customer as I get good service, good products at good prices and they respond to emails rapidly and effectively.

    They also do fun and imaginative things. I am just about to download a Christmas Tree that was a 'special' in one of their recent newsletters. How many other companies do that kind of thing for their customers?

    Disclaimer: I have no connection with Stinkyink other than as a satisified customer who has bought several batches of ink cartridges from them over the last few years.

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  • 2
    John Sollars wrote on 15th Dec 2011

    Hi Jscole,

    Firstly, thank you very much for your kind words. I have a dedicated team at Stinkyink who'll be very pleased to hear your feedback as I know they put an awful lot of work into ensuring the customer comes first.

    In regards to your comments it's a very interesting point, as we are operating in an incredibly competitive and tight-margin industry. It really is the customer retention side of things which helps us massively. The % of customers whom only buy from us once is incredibly low.

    Even in the unlikely event a customer has an issue with a cartridge they will often shop with us again, due to how quickly and efficiently we handle the problem and get the customer printing. This is remarkable considering how many other companies offer similar products.

    As you said, this comes down to quality of service which is absolutely crucial - and what I've strived to maintain is this service is natural.

    I have no scripts or procedures in place for my customer service team, they are simply told to treat the customer how they would want to be treated themselves. This team is empowered to deal with situations how they see fit, knowing full well that as long as their decision has a reason behind it, and is in the best interests of the customer, that me and my operations director will support them.

    Ultimately, my company would not exist without our customers, so why shouldn't our main focus be on making their experience - even in something as trivial as printer cartridges - one that is pleasant.

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