THE BEDFORD BANNER  
                                                                          August 2017
 
In This Issue
Are You Between the Ages of 21 and 37.5?
Bedford Day Sign Up
10 Ways to MAke Your Customers Fall in Love
Future of Middlesex 3 Coalition Commercial Real Estate
From the Chamber Office
Chamber Summer Bash
Can Your Business Wall Host a Local Artist ?
Who Wants to Be on TV?
Chamber Calendar
Follow us on Facebook
 
  Are you between the ages of 21 and 37.5?
  Young Profession Group Starts Up This Month
                 
The focus of our Young Professionals Group is to connect and socialize with other like-minded young professionals ages 21-37 ½. The goal is to showcase everyone's unique skills and talents to pursue their interests while developing relationships....and having fun!
 
Benefits of Membership
The overall benefit of the Young Professionals Group is determined by each member's goals and their determination to reach those goals. Young professionals interested in increasing their contacts or just looking to meet new people should become a member of YPG!

professional-adults.jpg
Benefits
  • Network and mingle with other young professionals
  • Develop professional skills
  • Build relationships
  • Broaden perspectives and enhance your potential
  • Advertise and share opportunities to gain greater exposure for your business
 
Our first event:
DON'T MISS THIS!
Come to the kickoff event of YPG! Come one, come all; Bedford Chamber membership is not required. It will be held at Red Heat Tavern located at 152 great Rd in Bedford. Join us for appetizers, drinks (cash bar) and fun on  August 28  from 5:30-7:30. All of this for only$10.00! Bring colleagues and friends,
by registering here.


BEDFORD DAY SIGN UP THIS MONTH 
Bedford's annual celebration of the Town's founding in 1729 will take place on Saturday,  September 23, 2017. 
It's a great day for Bedford to celebrate itself and your business can be part of it. The fair will provide more than 100 vendors, including food vendors, businesses, nonprofits, local clubs and organizations. Businesses must sign up with the Recreation Department by August 18. Businesses can not sell goods or services but you may distribute promotional material and free items.

10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business
Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business. In this age of automation and innovation, caring for your customers has never been more important.
At any moment, an unhappy customer can share their opinion with the masses through social media and the web and negatively affect your business. That's why it's even more important than ever to create an excellent experience for your customers to help develop your company's relationship with them into love.
Walt Disney said it best, "Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends."  
Creating love between your company and your customers can help scale positive word of mouth that's absolutely priceless.
Creating a customer-focused culture of this nature is a business opportunity that should not be overlooked. Most businesses are failing when it comes to the customer experience, which is your opportunity to swoop in and enchant those same customers into falling for your company.
The data speaks for itself:
  • Only 37% of brands received good or excellent customer experience index scores in 2012. Whereas, 64% of brands got a rating of "OK," "poor," or "very poor" from their customers. Source: Forrester Research 
  • As many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Source: RightNow 
  • Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. Source: Desk 
  • Average annual value of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned - $289. Source: Genesys Report 
It's quite clear that now is a good time to solidify your relationship with your customers in a meaningful way. Here are 10 ways to help make your customers fall in love with your business.

1. Treat your Customers Right - Genuinely Interact

Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell 4 to 6 people about their experience. So that's a way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business. Don't act as a nameless or faceless business; genuinely talk with your customers as a person representing the business. Address your customers by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your interaction.
Talk to your customers as you would in person, not like you would in a press release. Examples of this are noticeable when it comes to customer service on social media where the genuine shine through and the others seem forced and uptight, which is the opposite of being "social." American Express does this well on   Twitter, ensuring all customer concerns are answered in a timely manner with a friendly and personal response, signed by the employee who's doing the tweeting.

2. Don't Come on Too Strong - Respect Your Customers

A third of consumers say they experience rude customer service at least once a month, and 58% of them tell their friends. This is exactly how word of mouth can work against your company's reputation for the long term. It's very important to be respectful of a customer's mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your company.
Keeping your patience is key to giving your customer the time to air out their issue. And, in turn, it creates the opportunity for you to help resolve the issue and make them comfortable. The more comfortable the customer is the more likely they'll share valuable feedback that can help prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future.

3. Always Listen - Hear What Your Customers are Saying

At a time when it's easy to have a two-way dialogue with your customers, it's important to truly listen. When listening to your customers, take into account what changes your organization should make from this feedback, and then follow through. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organization, and not dealing with the reasonable requests could cause backlash.
Use the following methods to gather feedback from your customers:
  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Observation
  • Point of Sale
  • Customer Service
  • Social Media
  • Communities and Groups
  • Email and Web Forms

4. Continue to Satisfy - Offer Ongoing Support and Specials

The #1 reason for customer attrition is dissatisfaction with customer service. Do everything in your power to provide excellent service to your customers on an ongoing basis. Respond quickly and enthusiastically, and be ready to present a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the customer to buy more.
There's never any reason to slow down on satisfying your audience, especially when they're chatting with you live over the phone. It's important to note that 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition. Take note, customer satisfaction is a key differentiator in a sea of other companies.
Hair Dazzle
Besides offering support, ongoing specials will continue to help enchant and satisfy your customers for the long term. Create engaging multi-channel promotions centered around discounts, giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests. Distribute these offers via email, social media, print, in-store, and across your other marketing channels for full exposure, much like   HairDazzle  has done on Twitter above.

5. Treat a Customer Like a Valued Partner - Communication is Two Way

As previously mentioned, take your customer's feedback seriously and act upon reasonable requests. What's the point of listening if you're not going to act on that feedback? Make sure it's clear that you want your customer's feedback and that your business truly values them as a partner.
If you're looking for an example of how to show your customer that their opinion matters, look at what the Buffer app team is doing.   Buffer app  is a social media management tool that helps businesses and individuals schedule their content for the best times to share and get engagement. The Buffer blog features a variety of quality content focused on marketing, achieving happiness, and a monthly series known as the   Happiness Report.
Buffer App Happiness Report
This report highlights how the Buffer team is managing customer support each month by what worked well, what didn't work well, what they plan to work on for the future, and finally, a request for feedback from their customers. This is a lesson for all businesses on how to be completely transparent and actively allow your customers to partake in improving your product for the future. Focusing on your customer to this degree is a major way to strengthen their trust, loyalty, and overall love for your company.

6. Build Trust - Alert Customers to Large Scale Changes, Good or Bad

It takes 12 positive service experiences to make up for 1 negative experience. This is how sensitive trust is between a business and its customers. No matter your size, keep your customers in the know when it comes to positive and negatives changes to your products and services that affect them. It's crucial to tread lightly when making changes to your products and services because your customers have become accustomed to what you've already got.
Recently, Instagram updated its terms of service but neglected to be clear about the changes that would be made to the social network. The wording was confusing, and therefore, the company's intentions were not clear. Their users immediately voiced concern across the web about these changes. Most of this feedback was outrage and many left the service or threatened to leave, like power user National Geographic. Instagram quickly responded to the outrage and   reversed their decision  to update their terms of service. In the end, the situation was handled well in terms of the cleanup; but now, due to the poor communication around their terms of service, Instagram has lost the trust of their audience, which is hard to regain.
Here's what to do to gain trust:
  • Heavily research whether changes to your company could alter public perception.
  • Be methodical in how you communicate the changes to your product and services.
  • Tell your customers when you've made a change, you've screwed up, or you've done something right. A healthy mix will give your customers a transparent look into your company that can't be forged.
  • Find value in the feedback about your company changes.

7. Be Transparent - Honesty is Crucial When it comes to Mistakes

Being transparent in the digital age is a must. Much like the principles discussed above, transparency is a critical factor in building trust, satisfaction, and love from your customers. What does it mean to be transparent?
company transparency chart
  • Transparency means that you are not afraid of feedback.
  • Transparency means that you have nothing to hide.
  • Transparency means your employees' personal and work persona blur.
  • Transparency means you like to have conversations with your customers.

8. Follow Through on Your Word - Follow Up on Promises

Your word is your bond. Following up on your promises helps show the transparency of your business, while helping to build a feeling of trust and dependability with your audience.
Manage the expectations of your customers to ensure realistic goals are set and can be met. By remaining consistent in your messaging, your customers will learn what they should expect from you in the future.
F.W. Nichol said it best, "When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word "succeed," you find that it simply means to follow through."

9. Recognize Responsibility - The Customer is Always Right

No matter the circumstance, the customer is always right. This is a rule to guide your business through its growth, from customer service to user experience to product development. To help set this in motion, create a customer service policy to show your customers they are always right. Organize this policy into three parts:
  1. Highlight phrases for your company to use that'll make your customers happy. Again, consistency and a personal touch go a long way.
  2. Never let your customers forget your business by following up effectively. Keep it personal by following up on special occasions and consistently writing handwritten follow-up notes.
  3. Define how to deal with unsatisfied customers with action steps to ensure there is a thorough process for all employees to follow to resolve a customer issue, ideally turning unhappy customers into your strongest advocates.

10. Always Say "Thank You" - Kindness and Gratitude will Take You Far

Last, but certainly not least, always say "Thank you." As many as 3 out of 4 customers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive experiences. Kindness and gratitude for a customer's business is an undeniable way to further enchant them for the long term.
Craft every thank you sent out from your company to be specific to the customer, relevancy is key. Be as appreciative as possible to your customers for taking the time to go through the process of resolving their issue. Finally, follow up with a good old fashioned "Thank you."
Take a look at these 10 golden rules of customer relationship management   visualized.
About the Author:  Brian Honigman is the Digital Marketing Executive at Marc Ecko Enterprises and a   freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter   @BrianHonigman  and on   Google+.





From The Chamber Office
The Chamber is pleased to announce that Jane Patterson will be joining the staff as a Membership Director.

From the time Jane was young she has loved sports and shoes.  Her first job as a teenager was at MC Sporting Goods selling athletic shoes.  In 1988, after a professor at St. Norbert College, where she studied Communications/Marketing, recommended she get an internship, she wrote every athletic shoe company in the Boston area.  Hearing nothing in return, Jane, undeterred, flew to Boston in pursuit of an internship. Once there, she contacted the Human Resources Director at Reebok, then the #1 athletic shoe company globally, and said she would "wash the windows and clean the floors" to work there.  After a good laugh, Jane was asked to come in and earned an internship in which she helped put together sales meetings, fashion shows etc.  
After receiving her college degree, the VP of Sales let her choose which market she wanted and Jane picked the Los Angeles area.  After 4 years of working in Los Angeles, Jane moved to Hartford, CT as an Account Manager selling Avia shoes to the #1 account on the east coast, Bob's Stores.  She worked on Bob's as well as medium and small accounts.   Jane worked closely with the company's product teams, so when Jane was asked to move to Oregon to become the Product Manager for Women's Training, she was ready for the challenge!  After Reebok sold Avia in 1996, Jane moved to Adidas to become the Global Product Manager (Urban/Original) working with inner city and skateboard consumers and accounts from around the world.  She loved travelling throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe and working with designers and developers to build a line of shoes for consumers and accounts to help grow business.  It was so exciting to see what started as a drawing, become a functional shoe that would help build a retailer's business.
 While at Adidas, Jane was contacted by Cosmopolitan magazine for a story on fashion trends.  Following that publication, a writer from New York, Charlie Drozdyk, asked Jane if he could interview her for his book, Jobs That Don't Suck - What Nobody Else Will Tell You about Getting and Succeeding in the Job of Your Dreams. The book highlighted the successful careers of several professionals under the age of 30 doing what they loved.  Within those 2 years at Adidas, Nike started knocking on the door asking Jane to come and build its Walking business.    
She did, and after a great 4 years in Oregon, Jane wanting to come back to the Boston area, took a position with Reebok once again, to grow its Women's Training business.  Becoming the Account Manager selling to Lady Foot Locker was a dream come true for Jane.  She retired from the athletic footwear business when her first child was born 14 years ago.    Jane has been living in Bedford, MA for the past 11 years with her husband and 3 children.  Her children now getting older, Jane felt it was time to get back to what she does best - helping businesses grow and thrive by joining forces with the Bedford Chamber of Commerce in the town that she has come to love!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CONGRATULATIONS to Director Danielle Beck and her husband !!!

Chamber Summer Bash
Chamber members gathered at The Red Heat Tavern to celebrate summer and get some good old fashion networking done. Manager Steve Arakelian generously donated some of the best ribs and corn on the cob, and a great time was had
by all!!

    
 
Can Your Business Wall Host a Local Artist ?
 
The Culture and Arts Working Group had another productive meeting on May 24 discussing several initiatives to elevate Bedford's cultural and arts community to enliven Bedford places, gatherings, and business climate. The group has participants from the Bedford Cultural Council, Selectmen, Chamber of Commerce, First Parish, Planning Board, Bedford Arts and Crafts Society, BCA Photo Group, the Bedford Citizen, and local businesses and artists, and is being facilitated by Alyssa Sandoval, Bedford's Economic Development Director.
 
The working group discussed moving forward on several initiatives including:
  • Community-wide utility box art program by local artists
  • Commercial space for Local Artists
  • Cultural and Arts Flyer
 
If your business would be interested in hosting wall or window space for local artists, please contact Alyssa Sandoval, Economic Development Director, at asandoval@bedfordma.gov or 718-275-1111. Hosting local art in your venue can be good for your business' visibility and helps to highlight local artwork.
 

WHO WANTS TO BE ON TV? 


We are so excited to offer our members another new FREE benefit!   We are partnering with o ur friends at Bedford TV to produce a monthly show called CHAMBER CONNECTIONS .  In addition to promoting our events/activities, Chamber members will be interviewed providing great exposure for their business. The show will be broadcast on Public channel and also through their website.  Contact the Chamber if you are interested in learning more.
 

Check out your fellow Chamber members

AFC Urgent Care

Chestnut Dental

The Learning Express Toys & Play

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
_________________________________________________________________
 
CHAMBER CALENDAR

August 1/8/15/22/29
Tee It Golf League
Patriot Golf Course
4:00 PM
email Josh Franklin for tee times

August 9
2017 Summit/Future of Middlesex 3 Coalition Commercial Real Estate 
4 Burlington Woods Drive
Burlington, MA    
Click Here to register


August 23
Summer Multi Chamber Networking
Cafe Escadrille
26 Cambridge Street
Burlington, MA
5:30-7:30 PM
Click here to register

August 28
Young Professional Group Networking
Red Heat Tavern
152 Great Road
Bedford, MA
5:30-7:30
Click here to register

September 13
Leadership Luncheon
Why creativity is the key skill of the 21st century for businesses and organizations? 
Waxy's O'Connors
Hartwell Ave
Lexington, MA
11:30 -1:00
Click here to register

September 13
Hanscom AFB Installation Expo  
9:00 Am 0r 1:00 PM 
Invites to follow

September 14
Board of Directors Meeting
Town Center
12 Mudge Way
Bedford, MA
7:30 AM

September 23 
Bedford Day
Town Center
10-4


Save the Date
 
October 5
Rt 128 Business Expo

October 18
Leadership Luncheon
There's No Place Like Home

October 27
Goddard School Trunk or Treat






 
Welcome to Our New Members

 
200 Great Road
 Bedford, MA 01730
781-274-3525
   


2017 CHAMBER MEMBERS

AFC Urgent Care
Ametek
A Place for Words
Atlantic Capital
Baldwin Insurance
Barre 3
Barrett Sotheby's Realty
Baudanza Electric
Bedford Car Wash
Bedford Children's Center
Bedford Citizen
Bedford Family Connection
Bedford Farms
Bedford Florist
Bedford Funeral Home
Bedford Historical Society
Bedford Orthodontics
Bedford Research Foundation
Bedford VA Research Corp
Bernstein Development
Billerica Crossings
Brightview Billerica
Brookline Bank
Brown & Brown, P.C.
Callahans Karate Studio
Carlton Willard
Carlton & Duran, CPAs
Chestnut Dental
Christine Pinney Marketing
Cil Cangiano
Citizen's Bank
CouponSurfer, Inc.
Danielle Beck
Davidson Law
The Debbie Spencer Group
Doubletree Bedford Glen
DSA Publishing
EDCO Collaborative
Elite Freestyle Karate
EMD
Extend Barre Burlington
First Parish
Formulatrix
Fujifilm Microdiscs
Gorgeous.etal
Great Road Gallery & Framing
Hanscom Federal Credit Union
Harold Nichols Insurance Agency
Heritage Springs
Insperity
InConcert Web Design
Jesse's Pet Care
KB Jewelers
Kimberley Bee Design
Learning Express & Play
Leary Auto
Lincoln Liquors
Live Life Well
Mead Brothers
Merrill Lynch
Middlesex Savings Bank
Metller Toledo
Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Savings Bank
MITRE
New England Nurseries
North Road Chiropractic
OrganizingWorks
Patriot Pediatrics
Peter Quinn Insurance Agency
Primrose School
Quality Database Design
Quinstance
Red Heat Tavern
Right at Home
Salem Five
ServPro Bedford
Short Stop Cafe
The Goddard School
The UPS Store
The Well Effect
Waxy O'Connors

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