By Jessica Buchanan
CLOV Customer Service
First off, we would like to take an opportunity to thank each and everyone one of you who “liked” CLOV during the month of April. With your help (and Dwane’s promised out of pocket match!) Gail, Zara and I were able to deliver a check to Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf for $500! That is amazing!! We just wanted to share what a humbling experience it was for us to visit CEFS on Wednesday and meet not only employees but recipients. We were given a wonderful tour by Rob and Liz, who are two of the kindest people you could ever wish to meet. We were so truly taken aback by how they do so much for the community with so few resources that we wanted to share some of the information they gave us in hopes that if you’re looking for a way to give back to the community, you will choose them.
When you think of a food shelf, many thoughts probably come to mind. I assure you, many of the stereotypical ideas that people hold about visitors to the food shelf are simply unfounded, untrue and at the very least detrimental to organizations trying to help this growing part of the population. There are a variety of reasons a person might need assistance from a food shelf and I would imagine it takes a lot to swallow your pride and ask for help of that magnitude. From a young mother with no place to turn to an elderly resident who is unable to leave their house, hunger knows no bounds. It affects across races, ages, sexes, religions – there is no one immune to the dangers of hunger.
During the tour, we learned that CEFS is so much more than “just a food shelf.” They also have a soup kitchen where meals are served 7 days a week. They help their visitors train for and find jobs in order to better their situation. They hire employees with multi-cultural backgrounds in order to be able to communicate with visitors who are from all over the globe and speak more than 70 languages. They work out of a building that is very small and they feel the repercussions of this; especially during busy holiday times. They need a separate building to house offices and yet another to serve as a warehouse. Coordinating across three spaces is difficult to say the least. Regardless, CEFS helps thousands and thousands of people every year. After our tour, we felt like we wanted to do so much more, but weren’t sure how. So not only are we working on a relationship with them, we are asking for your continued support.
When I asked Rob after our tour what the best way to help was, he was a bit hesitant to respond. While they fight tooth and nail for government help to avoid using donor money for non-food items (their kitchen equipment and refrigerator units for example), they are still financially strapped when it comes to getting the food they need to stock the shelves. Between rising food prices and the gas prices that directly affect those costs, it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep up with demand. While they would never turn away a donation of your time or boxes full of food, what they really need now is cash. If we took the $500 we donated and purchased food with it, it would have only bought a fraction of what CEFS can purchase with the same money through their food banks. So please, if you feel inclined, get in touch with them and see how you can help. Seriously, anything helps. But help is what CEFS needs and we want to facilitate that in any way possible. Again, thank you to all who helped us make this Facebook campaign so successful. Liking our page is easy. Hunger is hard.
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Guest blog post by
Jack Kenny writes about the label industry. For 16 years he served as editor of Label & Narrow Web magazine. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look up customer loyalty online and you will find scholarly studies, countless references to CRM (customer relations management), and other buzzy topics that make sense to statistics majors. If you’re Coca-Cola or Frito-Lay, the relationships you have with your customers certainly could warrant a few hundred spreadsheets. If you’re a regional business, you probably have a more homegrown approach to loyalty.
We are all customers of telecom providers. Their idea of loyalty is famously backwards. New subscribers get discounts and freebies, and long-time customers get rate increases. When you call them up to say that you are thinking of leaving unless they can offer a better deal, you get either peanuts or nothing. After you sign up with a competitor, the offers roll in. “What can we do to bring you back?”
Many businesses on a level somewhat lower than the phone company try to get human about customer loyalty by focusing on incentive programs and such remarkable concepts as “customer touchpoints.” In an article titled “11 Key Customer Loyalty Trends for 2011”, Business2community.com included the following: “A recent IBM study with over 1,500 CEOs from across 60 countries and 33 industries discovered that ‘getting closer to the customer’ is a top business strategy and area of focus for these CEOs over the next 5 years. In fact, 88% of the CEOs surveyed said this was a key area of focus, followed by 76% saying that ‘insight and intelligence’ is also a key area.”
This makes me shiver. “Getting closer to the customer” is a top business strategy and area of focus for 1,500 CEOs. Hello? If you are not already close to the customer then it’s a wonder that you have remained in business at all. In fairness, I can’t criticize big companies too much because I’ve never run one and never worked for one, though I often wonder how they get anything done. (And if you noticed the abuse of the word “key” in the paragraph above, please join me in abandoning it.)
Earlier I mentioned the homegrown approach to loyalty. In most places around the world, the business relationship is personal. Suppliers long ago learned how to get closer to the customer. The skilled manager and salesperson understand the customer’s needs and wants: the essentials of marketing and manufacturing, the costs of logistics, the vagaries of supply, the impact of labor. This understanding can form the underpinning of loyalty.
The real test, of course, is the timely delivery of quality products at a manageable cost, over and over again. Achieve that, and keep your customer.
I cannot leave this topic without mention of another ingredient in the loyalty recipe. Love is a word we don’t read or hear in any business formula or discussion. Love might be awkward for some business people to embrace, but its branches might be more comfortable: respect, listen, help, join, share. My friends at Creative Labels of Vermont understand love, and they will tell you that it is the foundation of their devotion to customers, and the source of the loyalty that they have earned.
It’s worth thinking about in a quiet moment.
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CLOV Graphics/Motion design
As the behind the scenes person at Creative Labels of Vermont for graphics and motion design I was more than excited to work on our social medial campaign.
I felt up to the task of keeping the momentum going. After all, I consider myself fairly
detailed orientated. To-do lists are my friend and I absolutely love my “Mac Sitckies”,
The virtual post-it-notes!
I start the morning by opening up photoshop, titling the canvas of what I’m about to create for the new CLOV blog article and then happen to glance at my row of post-it-notes and see the reminder: “daily twitter posts”. Hey, no problem, maybe I’ll just do a quick search on Technorati or read one “How To” article from Grow Socially, Mashable or Jeff Bullas as I sip my first cup of coffee.
Before I know it, that 1 article turns into 2 and I find myself with new lists, bookmarking interesting topics (to read later of course), updating the Creative Labels of Vermont status on various social media platforms and going through google alert emails on more interesting topics to inform our customers about. By now, the one cup of coffee has turned into four, it’s late afternoon, my canvas in photoshop is still blank and I’m exhausted!
For a newbie such as myself, stepping on to the social media tight rope and balancing
all the above mentioned vs. hours in the day is more than slightly overwhelming! Organization takes on a whole new meaning, focus is key or before you know it you’ve fallen into the abyss of information. Sure you’re more knowledgeable, but what good is that if it never gets implemented or passed on?
We are now a week into “Socializing”! I finally created the art for this blog post and even managed to come up with ideas for future posts as well as some video marketing. For now, we are taking steady steps forward. However, there’s a reason there are so many companies out there to help you with your social media campaign and I have absolutely no problem dialing our friends at Grow Socially, for the next phase of guidance if I feel like I’m loosing my balance!
By Fred Wall
In 1983, we purchased a 1 man operation and 28 years later the Creative Labels Family has grown to 30 members. Our continued growth would have been impossible without you, our devoted customers.
My family and I are so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve you in the past 28 years and we look forward to continue serving you in the future.
May God Bless you, as you have blessed us.
Thank you for your loyal patronage
By Lee LaChance
People ask us all the time what are the advantages of in-house thermal printing capabilities?
You can control your costs by having a custom label for your company that is used for all your products and all we have to do is leave a space in the custom label for you to drop in the appropriate information for each of your products. This is particularly important with date stamping. It gives you a clean, clear look over handwriting in a date. Reduce or eliminate plate costs and plate change charges.
You have a consistent image along all product lines without having to purchase a label for each product. This is particularly valuable when you don’t sell in large quantities. Unit costs can be reduced by buying larger quantities of “generic” labels.
You only have to concern yourself with the inventory count of one label, not 10, 20 or how many other products you have. Printing systems run between $890 and $2,090. Pretty reasonable for the amount of flexibility that you can derive from it.
Print on demand, eliminating lead times and improving your turn around times.
The label has that “exclusive to this product” look that may improve shelf appeal.
Call Lee LaChance, our resident thermal printer expert for more information.