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ISSUE: Chamber of Commerce membership survey
OUR VIEW: Indicates satisfaction with unification
There’s no better way to understand how well a business’ products and services are viewed and valued in the marketplace than to ask those customers who are directly receiving them. This is just what the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce did through a questionnaire distributed among its full membership late in the summer.
Chamber leadership has reviewed and made public some of the findings through the recently tabulated survey results.
Of the 750 businesses invited to participate, 109 chose to respond to the 17-question evaluation with most reflecting the opinion of member businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Businesses which have had experience with such satisfaction surveys would quickly point to the chamber’s 14.5 percent return of completed surveys as a very healthy response. In itself, this response alone could be viewed to be an indication of a voiced vested interest among members to assist the chamber in making continued service and activity improvement.
Most of the findings weren’t necessarily surprising. The majority of respondents say they joined and renewed their affiliation with the chamber to network with other businesses. Others do so to take advantage of the public relations and marketing opportunities the chamber provides. A call to increase these opportunities was expressed by about one-quarter of respondents.
The most compelling result made public, however, would have to be that among those businesses who responded, 91 percent said they would recommend chamber membership to another business or individual in the community.
When a person feels good enough about the experience they have with a business or service provider to recommend it to another, that’s the strongest endorsement any organization can receive. This is a metric the chamber should be proud of and should defend and grow as it works to continue to develop expanded and new services.
This baseline survey reflects the majority of chamber members like what they’ve been getting since last year’s vote to unify four independent chamber organizations into a merged Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. Brad Richardson, executive director of the chamber, said other such surveys will follow and will be used to continue to guide the organizations effort to better serve its members.
A thriving chamber of commerce is important to the viability of community’s marketplace. These favorable results are good to see and show the chamber is making good on intentions to transition itself from an organization that manages events and festivals to one whose priority mission is business support and development.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.