01689 639 801 
It's about 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, which is why it's so important to make sure that you listen - and crucially act - on what your customers are telling you. Too often customer feedback is seen as a box-ticking exercise, but when used properly it's a fantastic tool for driving real business advantage. 
Here's how to make the most from your customer feedback.  
Join the dots - There are lots of different channels for customer feedback - social media, mystery shopping, customer surveys, employee surveys (they're on the front line, what do customers tell them?), complaints data. None of these sources can give a complete picture in isolation, but when they're brought together, they can give some very real insight into how prospective and existing customers view your brand.  
Remember that's it not only for the sales staff - Yes, your frontline sales staff massively affect customer experience. But don't overlook the impact that the rest of the company has in making sure you recruit the right people, train people well, offer real incentives, provide the best technology etc. Every single employee has a role and a stake in keeping customers happy, so make sure you regularly inform the whole company about how it's doing in this area. 
Include customer satisfaction in employee objectives - By tying recognition and reward to customer service, you help to create a more customer-focused culture.  
Review and discuss customer feedback regularly - No matter how often - or infrequently - you run formal customer satisfaction surveys, there'll always be new data to review, whether from social media, frontline employees or complaints. Regular exposure to how the firm is doing in terms of customer satisfaction will help to keep it at the forefront of everyone's minds.  
Consider the positive as well as the negative feedback - If all you ever talk about is customer complaints, your staff will come to resent customer feedback, making it easier for them to ignore it. Understand why customers think something's working particularly well and see if you can replicate it in other areas of the business that might be scoring lower. 
Share feedback in real time - Though it's essential that you have proper, in-depth discussions of feedback on a regular basis, sharing 'highlights' in real time can mean that negative behaviours are checked straightaway, while positive comments can incentivise and motivate the work force.  
If you would like to advertise in Orpington Connected please call 01689 639801 or email us at 
The only other topic that rivals the discussion of “is print advertising dead” is the topic of “whether or not Elvis is dead”. 
We are unable to comment on Elvis but when it comes to print advertising, then we do have something to say. 
There are many benefits to advertising in a magazine or on a leaflet and here are our top 3: 
A longer shelf life: Whilst digital ads come and go, print ads have staying power. The tactile experience of seeing the ad in your hand means people linger longer whilst reading the magazine and seeing your ad. 
No Fear: Whilst reading the magazine you’ve little chance of catching a virus or downloading some unwanted information. This gives people more time to read your ad. 
Credibility and Brand recognition: Local magazines are a valuable way of connecting with local communities and your ad will generate interest in your business. When someone calls you, there will already be an element of trust and you can reinforce that when you talk to your potential new client. 
Deciding how to promote your business and win new customers can be a difficult decision, print advertising gets you in front of your target audience and generates true engagement. 
If you would like to advertise in Orpington Connected please call 01689 639801 or email us at 
The summer holidays will soon be upon us, and while the kids can't wait for them to get started, it's not unusual for the parents to be slightly less enthusiastic at the prospect of having to keep them entertained for six whole weeks. But fear not! There are tons of fantastic things planned in and around Orpington over the summer that'll be sure to keep everyone busy, rain or shine.  
Here are some of our favourites: 
Back for it's fourth year, Priory Live is Orpington's free music festival, taking place in the beautiful Priory Gardens on 12th August. Hang out at the main stage to enjoy an eclectic line up of original artists from around the South East, or chill out at the Music Lounge stage with acoustic sessions. Wherever you choose to while away the hours, you can be sure of fantastic music and amazing food in a great venue. 
For more information about the festival, visit 
If you're craving fresh air, open space and some gentle activity, check out Orpington Golf Centre. One of the largest golf facilities in the country, it has two 18-hole courses, 54 holes and a brand new FootGolf course, fantastic fun for kids and adults alike.  
For more information on getting into golf, visit 
The only villa open to the public in Greater London, Crofton Roman Villa provides a fascinating day out. Discover the secrets of the villa with a guided talk, or take part in one of the family-focused activities - from finding out about Roman bath time fun to making your very own Roman sweets. 
For more information about Crofton Roman Villa, visit 
When the sun's shining and the birds are singing, there's nothing better for the kids than letting them loose in the great outdoors. Just off the high street, Priory Gardens, is Orpington's best kept secret-beautiful parklands, an excellent children's playground, and a duck pond will keep the kids entertained for hours. Alternatively, venture a little bit further afield to the stunning High Elms Country Park Local Nature Reserve and its BEECHE education and visitor centre, where you can learn about local biodiversity, take part in nature trails and self-guided walks, or simply enjoy a drink and a snack in Bromley's most picturesque cafe, the Green Roof Cafe. 
Find out more about what's on at High Elm's during the summer holidays at 
There are many parks in and around the Bromley area, way too many for us to list here. Check out the website and find a park where you could while away some summer hours, for free.  
Though we may dream of six weeks of sunshine, the chances are that the weather won't hold all summer. But there's no need to fear rainy days with the Walnuts Leisure Centre. Running a full summer programme, there are plenty of activities to tire the kids out, from arts and crafts to sport. 
Visit to find out more about the Walnut Leisure Centre's summer holiday activities.  
From the moodiest teenager to the teeniest toddler to the tearing their hair-out-parent, there's something to keep everyone entertained this summer holiday in and around Orpington! 
It's a truth universally acknowledged that few things irritate a customer more than being put on hold - not surprising when you consider a rather scary US study found that the average American consumer spends 43 days during their lifetime on hold (Business2Community). 
So what can you do to minimise the frustration caused to those customers who are trying to contact you?  
Well, the ideal solution is to avoid putting them on hold at all. There are a few different ways to achieve this: 
Invest in more customer service staff - obvious, but of course not always practicable, not least because of the cost of employing more staff, and the difficulty of finding a balance between having sufficient staff when it's busy and a surplus when it's quiet. 
Have a very detailed, wide-ranging list of FAQ on your website - the ideal solution is to answer just about all the questions your customers could possibly have, on your website, thereby minimising the number of people who ever need to call you. Don't forget to make sure that your FAQ are easy to find.  
Add live chat to your website - a customer service representative can deal with up to four customers simultaneously via live chat but only one customer on the phone. Plus many customers, particularly younger ones, prefer online interaction to a phone call.  
Offer to call back - nearly two-thirds of customers would prefer a call back option to waiting on hold. If you offer this option, make sure you call back within a reasonable period of time; around 50% of customers would expect a call back within 30 minutes (Customer Service Investigator).  
For some businesses, putting customers on hold is unavoidable. If that's the case for your firm, there are things that you can do to minimise your customers' frustration: 
Change your hold music - a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that playing pop music instead of 'elevator' music makes callers less angry - probably beacause people associate those sorts of instrumentals with waiting or complaining, whereas pop music doesn't prime negative thoughts in the same way.  
Don't choose 'prosocial' music though - surprisingly, the same study found that using prosocial tunes as hold music, i.e those that include messages about behaviours that benefit society like 'Heal the World' actually made people angry.  
Have a fantastic hold script - there are a few components that every hold script should contain: an apology, a request for permission to place the customer on hold, an estimated time that they will be on hold for, and a thank you for agreeing to be put on hold.  
Finally, whenever you have put a customer on hold, ask if they'd be prepared to answer a short survey about their experience. This is such a crucial part of the overall customer experience that it's important to get it as right as you possibly can - learn from your mistakes.  
There's nothing typical about the "Orpington Man"  
Coined by journalists in the 1960's, the phrase "Orpington Man" was used to describe a 'typical' member of the voting public. But while there's nothing wrong with being 'Joe Average', here at Orpington Connected we know that there are lots of men with connections to our town who are far more than just ordinary - and this Father's Day, we thought we'd pay homage to a few of them.  
Charles Darwin - undoubtedly the most famous of our Orpington brethren, the world-renowned naturalist, geologist and biologist worked on his theories of evolution by natural selection in Down House, just south of the beautiful village of Downe. Moving from central London to Downe in September 1842, he remained there until his death in April 1882.  
John Lubbock 1st Baron Avebury - a contemporary of Charles Darwin, Sir John Lubbock was brought up on the High Elms Estate, near Downe. Although he joined the family profession of banking, and served as MP for Maidstone, he's perhaps best known for his significant contributions to archaeology, ethnography and biology - in particular, he is celebrated for having helped to establish archaeology as a scientific discipline and, as a friend of Darwin's, was influential in 19th century debates on evolution.  
Gary Rhodes OBE - Orpington resident Gary Rhodes, English restaurateur and TV chef, known for his distinctive spikey hair, was awarded an OBE in 2006. Famous for his love of British cuisine and has fronted shows such as Masterchef, now spends time promoting his restaurant interests in Dubai.  
Retired Premier League Referees - Orpington based Barry Knight and Steve Bennett both spent time as Premier league referees. Barry Knight in 2005 sent off Newcastle team mates Lee Bowyer and Keiron Dyer for fighting. Barry retired from the Football League in 2008 after injury. Steve Bennett refereed the 2005 League Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool, which Chelsea won 3-2 after extra time. In 2007 Steve officiated in the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, another final that Chelsea triumphed after extra time, by 1 goal to nil. Steve is still connected to Orpington Rovers FC as the Club President. 
Andy Green OBE - St Olaves alumnus Andy Green is the current holder of the World Land Speed Record, and the first person to break the sound barrier on land. On 15 October 1997, he reached 763.035 miles per hour (1,227.986 km/h) - the first supersonic record. 
Jeremy Beadle MBE - former Orpington schoolboy Jeremy Beadle was a television presenter, writer and producer. Rarely off our screens during the 1980s, he was the first mainstream television presenter to have a physical disability. Most impressively, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2001 New Years Honours list for his services to charity - his total charitable fund is estimated to be a whooping £100million.  
Though not all Orpington men can be scientists, adventurers or fundraiser extraordinaires, your own dad is probably just as impressive to you in his own way; don't forget to show him just how proud of him you are this Father's Day!  
The quality of your product is paramount, but the quality of your customer service isn't far behind. Increasingly consumers are expecting excellent levels of customer service, and if they don't get it from your business, they'll look elsewhere. In 2015, over one-quarter of consumers (28%) expressed a preference for the highest levels of customer service even if it cost them more*.  
But what makes excellent customer service? Well, there are lots of different elements - from the provision of clear information to good communication to quick resolution of customers' problems. One aspect that's got a growing amount of attention in recent years, though, is the personalisation of customer service. A survey by US customer experience company Genesys found that 40% of consumers most wanted "better human service" from the companies they do business with. People want to feel that they're doing business with other people, not with a computer.  
So how do you make your customer service more personal?  
Use names 
Encourage your staff to always use names, both theirs and the customer's, to make the interaction more personal.  
Put a face to the name 
Give your business a human face - literally - by using photos of your staff whenever you can, from the 'meet the team' part of your website to email signatures.  
Make sure they're geniune photos though - a cheesy stock isn't going to cut the mustard.  
Mutual support  
It may not be practical for the bigger companies, but small firms who can use social media to build stronger personal relationships with customers. If a customer follows you on Twitter, follow them back. If they tweet something relevant to your brand, interact.  
Know your customers  
If anything's bound to frustrate a customer, it's having to repeat themselves to different representatives of the same firm. Always take thorough notes of a conversation - particularly a complaint - so that should they contact you again, you can quickly look through their notes.  
Be prepared to step away  
When you're buying in person, there are few things more annoying than an over-zealous shop assistant who pounces on you the minute you walk in the store and then proceeds to hover. The online equivalent is being bombarded with unwanted promotional tweets and newsletters. Show your customers that you want to provide geninue help rather than always doing the hard sell by making it easy for them to opt out.  
* UK Customer Satisfaction Index, July 2016 
14 - 20 May 2017 is Dementia Awareness Week across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Orpington is pulling out all the stops to rise to the Alzheimer Society's challenge to unite against this disease.  
An estimated 4,000 people in Bromley borough are living with dementia. A disease of the brain, it impairs a person's attention, orientation, memory, judgement, language, motor and spatial skills and function. Unsurprisingly then, people with dementia are often reluctant to use public transport, shops and services, which can make them - and their carers - increasingly isolated.  
Local businesses and organisations are working together to make our town dementia-friendly. By raising awareness of the needs of people with dementia and providing a supportive environment for them, it's hoped that they and their carers can continue to enjoy the many facilities and services that Orpington has  
to offer.  
There are a whole host of events planned in Orpington throughout Dementia Awareness Week. Some of the highlights include: 
Tuesday 16 May, Orpington High Street will host a dementia bus, which simulates how difficult even everyday tasks can be for people living with dementia. It's hoped that by taking part in the virtual dementia experience, local businesses and service providers will get a better understanding of how to support people with dementia. 
Also on Tuesday 16 May, Tesco Orpington will host Bromley dementia services, giving members of the public the opportunity to find out more about the local support available for people with dementia and their carers.  
Thursday 18 May, the Odeon Orpington will host the first dementia-friendly film screening to be held in Odeon Cinemas; as well as engaging the brain and stimulating emotions, being part of the cinema audience can help people with dementia and their carers to feel less isolated.  
Raising awareness of the needs of people with dementia is an essential part of creating a dementia-friendly community, but of course real change will take more than just a week. That's why the Bromley Dementia Support Hub and Bromley Dementia Action Alliance are using Dementia Awareness Week to ask local businesses and organisations to commit to taking steps such as: 
providing awareness training for customer-facing staff. 
making small, dementia-friendly changes to signage and literature 
raising awareness among customers through in-store displays and information.  
Firms that go the extra mile for their customers with dementia will also have the chance to be recognised at next year's Orpington Finest Awards, with the new Clayton Turner Dementia Award.  
Businesses and local organisations aren't the only stakeholders with a responsibility to make Orpington more dementia-friendly; members of the public also have a role to play. Throughout Dementia Awareness Week, there will be a series of Dementia Friends Sessions, including one at Orpington Library. At these sessions, people will learn what it's like to live with dementia, and be shown how to put that learning into practice - from telling your friends and family about it, to being patient with people you meet.  
Dementia is set to be the 21st century's biggest killer, yet awareness and understanding remains low; we're proud that the Orpington Community is working together to change this.  
For more information on Dementia Awareness Week in Orpington, visit 
At Connected we know how important it is to give great customer service. How we deal with any  
complaints is even more important to us as handled correctly you can win a customer for life!  
Social media: loved by the masses, feared by many businesses. We all know the benefits of being active on the likes of Twitter and Facebook (real-time engagement, building your brand, meeting customer expectations etc), but there are some downsides too, not least the risk of very public customer complaints. Read on for our top tips on how to handle customer complaints via social media.  
1. Have a social media complaints plan in place 
Even the best of businesses will struggle to please 100% of customers 100% of the time, so it's important to have a plan in place for dealing with any negative comments that you get via social media. You don't need to be scared of negative feedback - if you deal with complainants quickly and appropriately, it can actually increase customer trust and loyalty.  
2. Respond promptly 
There are two key reasons why you need to take prompt action when you receive a customer complaint via social media: one, the complaintant expects it and two, the longer you delay, the more people (potential customers) are going to see just one side of the story. 
Ideally, you should try to reply within an hour. It won't always be possible to resolve a complaint within that time, but it is possible to at least acknowledge it and suggest when you'll be able to have a full response - if you don't include a timeframe, you risk being chased publicly.  
3. Admit mistakes 
If you haven't met your customer's expectations, acknowledge it. Swerving blame is likely to encourage further criticism. Take responsbility, publicly apologise, and then try to find a solution.  
4. Move the conversation offline 
Keeping the complaint process on social media keeps it in the public eye and can encourage others to jump on the bandwagon. The apology has to be public, but after that, try to liaise with your customer one-to-one. 
5. Keep it personal  
Although it can be tempting to send an automated holding response in order to deal with a complaint quickly, or at the very least cut and paste a standard reply, no one likes to feel that they're dealing with a computer. Personalise the response as much as you can - use a conversational tone, use the complainant's name, and refer to their specific problem.  
6. Follow up 
Always check with the complainant that they're satisfied the issue has been resolved. Failure to do so risks another negative public conversation on social media. 
7. Don't delete negative comments 
As tempting as it may be to delete negative feedback, particularly any that you feel is unfair, don't! You're likely to frustrate the customer and encourage further venting - and if others see that you've deleted comments they may get the impression that you're untrustworthy and uninterested in their views.  
8. Feedback complaints into the business 
Just as important as dealing with the indivdiual complainant well is making sure that the business learns from its mistake. Social media is a fantastic tool for gathering customer feedback, so make sure your plan includes a way of making the most of all that knowledge.  
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