There Is An “I” in “Internet”: Technology Brings People Closer to Government

As one who entered the digital age with a Commodore 64 (pictured, for those born after the Reagan administration), I have seen “the Google” and “the Yahoo” shrink our world. And now "the Internet" accesses remote parts of the globe. Looking out my backdoor (sorry, Mr. Fogerty) I visit the Great Wall of China, Piccadilly Circus, outer space, even elephants in a band. The Indiana General Assembly meets in Indianapolis during the winter. Most of their work is done during the day. It is impractical for most citizens to attend committee meetings or general sessions. The Web changes this. Participatory democracy, for the first time in history, is set-up to allow full participation. Web cameras hang in the House and Senate chambers, five committee hearing rooms and portions of the court system. The Internet has literalized the saying, "at your finger tips."

I view any bills being introduced in the General Assembly. I easily find my representative and senator’s contact information. I send emails expressing my views. I watch elected officials discuss and vote on issues affecting my daily life. I watched the Governor’s State of the State without any overlapping commentary. I read blogs and Twitter comments from a diversity of view points. I draw my own conclusions.

The key word in that paragraph was "I."  No longer "they." Overseeing IndianaNet® allows me to witness how digitizing democracy increases our ability to shape and own the future. The old beige desktop has given way to pocket-sized back doors.

Customer Service – Yeah, It’s That Easy

Thousands of dollars, probably millions, have been spent on books, tapes and seminars looking for the secret of customer service. I will spell it out here. The price: A few moments of time now, followed by several years of practice.

Satisfying our basic need for acronyms, I give you ACE: Attitude, Communication, Empowerment.

Attitude:  A customer service representative needs to be predisposed to wanting to help. Their job is one of concierge, docent, problem solver, sounding board and an amalgamation of several other traits. This person cannot take anything personal, but must personalize the customer and care for them as a person. This is a hard balance to strike and not all of us are capable of it. 

Communication:  There is such a thing as too much information. There is no such thing as too much communication. Return calls, return e-mails – answer the phone when it rings. Sounds simple, because it is. Never wait to deliver bad news. Tell the customer you still don’t have the complete answer, let them know what you do know. Never avoid a chance to talk to someone.

Empowerment:  The customer service representative needs to be able to institute solutions. There cannot be any hiding behind policy. Policies are guiding lights, not the path. All customers are unique. Their situations are unique. Your staff must be able to respond accordingly and quickly. 

There you have it, for free. The true price lies in the implementation.

Average Chamber Member Savings: $20,565

It seems the price of everything is going up and up.  The Chamber offers a variety of ways to stem this rising tide.  Take advantage of the special discounts available as a member of the Indiana Chamber.  Anthem, Enterprise, Office Max, and TruPay are consistently recognized as leaders in their areas of service.  With Indiana Chamber membership, you can save up to:

* 5% on health care insurance with Anthem, a national leader in the insurance industry.

* 10% on car rentals with Enterprise, the largest rental car company in North America. 

* 20% on paycheck services with TruPay, an Indiana-based company is located in Mishawaka.

* 60% on office supplies and printing with Office Max, a leader in both business-to-business office solutions and products.

With no enrollment fees or purchasing quotas, you can save big when you choose to use Indiana Chamber discount programs.  Just visit our web site for more information.

Utilizing the discounts offered with your Indiana Chamber membership, the average member has realized savings of $20,565.

Economic Club Welcomes Speakers with Wide Range of Views

The Economic Club of Indiana is about to close out the 2007-2008 season with Walter Williams on May 9. Our last speaker, Steven Hayward, generated more comments, prior to his talk, than any previous speaker in recent memory. I appreciate all views and remarks forwarded on. While putting differing view points on specific points and arguments may not be possible, the Club does present a general balance of opinions, ideas and theories. 

For this season about to end, we have brought in a member of the Clinton administration, two university presidents, a superintendent of a major school system, president of one of the nation’s largest not-for-profits and an advocate of tougher emission standards. As the 2008-2009 season takes shape, we will continue to promote an interest in, and enlighten to attendees on, important governmental, economic and social issues. We do so across a broad spectrum with speakers we both agree and disagree with. 

The Economic Club is highly regarded nationally for its role in bringing local, national and international speakers to our state since 1974.