Column: The latest from St Albans Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Feb 28

Chamber Feb 28 - Credit: Archant

What would you do if your best clients suddenly went elsewhere? How long could you survive? What do you do to keep them engaged?

Customers are one of, if not the most important part of any business. Your customers are your lifeline to profits, respect and reputation. No business can survive without customer retention but it can be hard work learning how to retain customers and keep them coming back for more of your services or product offering.

Factor in that for every customer you get, you may lose a percentage of those customers during the course of your business. This is why along with gaining a new customer, retaining your current customer base is so important to your profits and business status in the community.

This is something we try to address at the Chamber by hosting a diverse range of networking opportunities for our members to entertain existing clients and also meet new ones!

After all we are aiming to further the interest of businesses in the area ensuring positive growth and development. We are committed to these objectives and aim to be a ‘voice’ for our members.

When new members join up we know it is really important to welcome the organisation as soon as possible, introducing them to what we do in an informal and friendly way. We organise quarterly events (alongside our usual networking events calendar) for our new members to come along and start meeting like-minded business people, an opportunity to meet our team, fellow new members and existing/longstanding members who can share their experiences.

As we always say “Don’t just join, join in!”.

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We find the members that turn up to the events regularly get more referrals and more business as they are building good and long lasting business relationships in the community. It’s like joining a gym; you have the membership card in your wallet/purse but if you don’t go regularly you will not see any results.

All of our networking events are listed on our website; we do try to offer something for everyone and will always endeavour not to disrupt your working day.

During November 2012 SA Law’s Wills, Trust and Probate department participated in Will Aid. Under the scheme SA Law renounced their usual fees for preparing Wills and instead asked clients to make a donation to Will Aid. The local law firm said they are delighted to announce that, with the help of their clients, SA Law were able to raise £5,637 for Will Aid through the scheme.

Thanks to the team’s fundraising efforts for Will Aid, SA Law are currently the ninth highest donating firm in the Home Counties and in 33rd place nationwide. To recognise this achievement Anna Rzemieniecka, from the British Red Cross (one of the charities helped by Will Aid), presented the Wills, Trust and Probate team with a certificate to acknowledge this outstanding accomplishment.

Anna Rzemieniecka, Community Legacy Manager for the British Red Cross, says: “I’m delighted to be able to thank SA Law in person for their hard work and dedication in raising funds through Will Aid. These funds help to ensure that the British Red Cross can continue to help people in crisis in the UK and across the world.

“Whether it is responding to floods and house fires in the UK or providing lifesaving ambulances to Syria, we simply could not continue our work without gifts in wills and initiatives such as Will Aid.”

Karen Chase, Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate at SA Law, adds: “We were delighted to take part in Will Aid. It is such a simple way to support great charities and ensure your peace of mind by writing a will.”

A fantastic sense of corporate social responsibility in our business community – well done SA Law. There is a great attitude to charitable giving in this District, I am always impressed by the local people and businesses that give so much to local and national good causes.

Exciting news from Chamber members Martin & Co St Albans who have been included in the short list as one of the best letting agents in the South East [Essex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex] region as part of the Estate & Letting Agent Awards 2013 (ESTAS awards 2013

A total of 15 offices in the Martin & Co network have been shortlisted. |Seven regions out of 18 include a Martin & Co agent in their regional shortlist with many Martin & Co offices competing between each other for the gold award at a local level.

The ESTAS determines the best letting agents in the country through research carried out amongst landlords who are asked a series of questions about the service they have received from their agent – 23,000 questionnaires were completed during the competition.

Richard and Merril Cleal, Principals of Martin & Co St Albans, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the only St Albans agent shortlisted for the ESTAS 2013. We always strive to give the best possible service in the letting and management of our growing portfolio for local and overseas landlords.

“It is very important to us that we have received such positive feedback ensuring our position for this prestigious industry award.

“We’re passionate about service and take our levels of customer care very seriously because we know landlords have a choice. As an ARLA licensed agent, we have always been very proud of the personal and professional service we provide and it is great to see that our landlords feel the same way. It is gratifying to know that as a first time entrant to the ESTAS we have met with such success.”

The regional and national winners will be announced by Phil Spencer, the TV property expert at the 10th annual ESTAS ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane on Friday, April 19.

The Chamber welcomes the following businesses who have recently joined up Regus (office workspace solutions), Suttons & Robertsons (pawnbrokers/Jewellers).

We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information about joining the Chamber of Commerce and becoming a member go to

If you have any questions about the Chamber and how we can help raise your company profile in the district, please give us a call – we would love to hear from you on 01727 863054.