Ahoy, Matey! Stamps.com Customer Support Celebrates International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 15th, 2010 Comments off

Update! Here are some pictures of Stamps.com’s Los Angeles-based Customer Support Team celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day.  More photos will be posted soon on the Stamps.com Flickr Page!

On September 19, 2006—ten years after the very first International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD), Stamps.com’s Los Angeles based Customer Support team decided to get into the swashbuckling spirit of the day by decorating their cubicles and addressing each other by their pirate names.  Since 2006, Stamps.com’s celebration has grown each year.

According to Customer Support manager (and Pirate Captain) Vince, “Stamps.com started to observe International Talk Like a Pirate Day when some of the technical support and help desk mateys decided to celebrate back in 2006.  The first couple of years there were barely enough scurvy dogs to man a rowboat but we have steadily recruited men and women from all seven seas to proudly participate in our pirate adventures.”

pirate_1

Chuck, Crys, Vince, Dawn, and Stacia from Stamps.com's Customer Support Team

Vince and Customer Care Director, Dawn

Vince and Customer Care Director, Dawn

Stamps.com's Nancy

Stamps.com's Nancy

More Stamps.com Customer Support Representatives

AAARRR! Paul, Nancy, Josh, Vince, Dawn, and Stacia from Stamps.com's Customer Support Team

Sound like an episode of The Office? Perhaps, but that’s what makes working at Stamps.com so much fun.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We’re committed to serving our customers, and we have a good time while doing it!

So it’s only fair that this year’s celebration will be even more intense than the last four.  Participation in ITLAPD has expanded, and the entire company will mark the day by having a huge feast!  We’re going to hoist pirate flags, host a costume contest with prizes and throw a BBQ (courtesy of Pirate Captain and Grill-Master Vince) where we can eat some good smoked meats and drink root-grog as a crew.

Why We Like International Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate Day started out as a joke between two friends.  During a racquetball game in 1995, one of them incurred a slight injury which caused him to yell out, “Aaarrr!” Both fellows found this extremely funny and started egging each other on to continue with the pirate-speak.  Every September 19, they celebrated with a few select friends and eventually their celebration became an internet phenomenon popular worldwide.

At Stamps.com, ITLAPD has become something for our Customer Support team to “band together and have fun doing so,” says Captain Vince.  Be sure to check back at our blog this Friday to see pictures from our parrrty!

 This is Buckaneer Drunken Toe, signing off.  Aaarrr!

Simplify Mass Mailings using Microsoft Word’s Mail Merge

September 2nd, 2010 Comments off
mail_merge

Every New Year’s Eve, my family gathered together to enact one of our favorite traditions: ranking all of the Christmas cards we’d received that season.  The three winning cards were displayed on the mantle.

Most of the losing cards usually weren’t actually cards at all; they were those long form letters outlining everything that had happened to the Jones or Smith or Chan family over the past year.  These felt very impersonal and not worth reading.  When we saw the salutation “Dear Friend” we didn’t even continue reading.  Any type of personal communication that began with such an impersonal greeting, we reasoned, couldn’t be all that personal after all.

It’s really no different with business communications.  I throw away anything that’s addressed to “Our Neighbor,” “Homeowner,” or “Resident” without even bothering to open the envelope.  I open the mail that’s addressed to me by name, but if the content isn’t customized to me specifically, it tends to go right into the recycling bin.

However, even the most rudimentary personalization (“Dear Ms. Wooster”) means that I’m likely to at least skim your mailer.  And when I skim, sometimes I see something that makes me want to buy, which is the goal of the direct mailer.

How to Get Started with Personalization

One of the easiest ways to personalize your mailers is to use a mail merge.  A mail merge integrates data from a mailing list with a standard letter, postcard or trifold so that both the address and salutation line of the mailer is customized to a specific customer.  If you want to include additional pieces of personalized information—such as the name of a customer’s child or pet—a mail merge will allow you to do that as well.

Mail merges are great because they let you personalize the content of your direct mailers quickly.  Just imagine how long it would take to manually type each customer’s name into the salutation line of 1,000 pieces of direct mail!

Make Your Mail Merge Even More Efficient

Mail merge programs such as Microsoft Word Mail Merge allow you to personalize the content of your direct mailers; they also provide properly addressed labels or envelopes. But before your mailer can go out, you’ve got to manually apply postage stamps or run all of your mail pieces through a postage meter.  At one of my previous jobs, I sat in a room with three colleagues for an hour sticking address labels and stamps onto envelopes, which was neither fun nor efficient.

Using Stamps.com in conjunction with your Microsoft Word mail merges eliminates that last step.  Not only do you get customized content and matching addresses, but your postage is printed right onto your envelopes, eliminating the need for any manual labor at all.

If you don’t use Microsoft Word Mail Merge, you can import your data directly into Stamps.com and batch print envelopes, shipping labels, trifold letters and more.  Trifolds are particularly efficient from a resources standpoint because everything is printed on the same page at the same time—content, delivery and return addresses and postage. They may, however, require a little more labor time since they need to be folded properly before they can be mailed.

For step-by-step instructions on how to perform a mail merge with Microsoft Word and Stamps.com, please see http://stamps.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/27/

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