Everyone knows that local business is the backbone of the economy. It is what makes a community strong and that personalized, caring touch is what is missing from so many communities all across the United States. Here in LaGrange/Troup County, there is a local organization, more like a positive force, that not only pushes for business recruitment but also has an extra personal touch that keeps their members active and engaged. This promoter of business is the La-Grange/Troup County Chamber of Commerce and this is the story of their diplomats and what they do as explained below: “Members are the life blood of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Retaining the more than 850 current Chamber members is a critical success factor for the organization. To help with retention and to provide another connection between the member and Chamber staff, Chamber Diplomats play an important role.
The volunteer committee, chaired by Richard Ennis, Vice Chair for Membership Development, meets monthly to review a list of organizations that have renewed their membership. Each of the diplomats is assigned a number of members to visit to deliver a personal thanks and a small token of appreciation for their renewal.
‘Our Chamber Diplomats play an important role in member relations, ‘says Sheila Rowe, Director of Community Relations and Sales at the Chamber. ‘Diplomats are the personal connection to our members. Their visits make a difference and provide another line of communication between our members and chamber staff.’ Diplomats also serve as mentors to new Chamber members, helping to answer questions about engagement opportunities and other benefits provided through membership.”
It is this personal touch, this face to face interaction with businesses that separates the Chamber from so many other organizations like it from across the state. These diplomats are your friends and your neighbors. These are faces that most see on a regular basis and they are faces that always have smiles and solutions to problems. That is the way that business is not only attracted to a community, but also how business relationships are retained and grown.
A friendly drop by, a box of animal crackers, or a mentor letter are things that are personal not just for the sake of being personal, but a way of letting business owners know how grateful the Chamber is for their continued business and dedication to LaGrange and all of Troup County. Let’s hope the tradition continues for many years to come.