Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report - August 19, 2016

My daughter won't ride in my car anymore. There's a reason for this and it all stems back to her recent birthday. For her birthday this year she received the monumental gift of a cell phone. I would've been against this, but there have been times (with her sporting events and other activities) that we needed to reach her and we were unable.
When I purchased her phone, I was offered an iPad mini at a wonderfully discounted price. So wonderful, in fact, that I was unable to resist. I quickly configured my iPad to be able to reach my work computer, receive all of my emails and do the important things. In my spare time, I downloaded a few games. One of these was a car racing game. This last week, when I was on vacation, I had long periods of down time. and I found myself alone with my iPad. I very quickly became a fan of this game. There were all sorts of different tracks to race on, and different types of cars to drive. I learned the secrets of burst acceleration, cutting the inside corner, and drafting behind the pack on a speedway.
After about a week of this new obsession it was time to go home and back to reality. With my daughter next to me, we fired up the truck and off we went. Somewhere on the back roads I was mentally transported back to my racing game. I found myself accelerating into the turn or looking for the best way to pass the next car. My daughter instantly knew what was happening. She quickly let me know she had no interest in riding in a simulated race in my truck. Rest assured, I was not actually speeding or passing cars without the utmost caution. Nevertheless, she still joked that she needed to put on her helmet before we went any further.
As silly as this may sound, the truth is that the driving game did in fact simulate some driving scenarios that could happen in the real world. The simulation actually gave me some experience in things that I may not ever experience otherwise. Computerized training is becoming very popular for many organizations. The military specifically, uses flight simulator training to teach their pilots of unmanned aircraft. Our own UMA flight program uses a high tech simulator, allowing students to simulate different flight conditions. You may not be training pilots in your business but there are countless training programs online that you can access to help you and your employees improve their skills. These could include sales techniques, proper utilization of different software programs, or online training in a variety of other courses.
One training that I recently became aware of is a FREE customer service training sponsored by several organizations including The Maine Office of Tourism and the University of Maine. This program is called "Welcome ME Online Hospitality Program". Our region tends to have a significant number of visitors and it is increasingly seen as an attractive region for tourists. Therefore, our employees and staff should be prepared with industry leading customer service skills and the tools to help us all succeed. I completed this training in a relatively short time and found it very beneficial. The program not only outlined best practices but illustrated poor customer service as well. I have suggested that my entire staff complete this training and I recommend you take a look at it as well.
It may not be as exciting as driving in the Daytona 500, and you don't need a helmet, but it may very well improve your customers experience, increase your bottom line, and grow your business. Click here for more information on the program. (Welcome ME)
As always, if we can help, please let me know.
Recent Events
Governor Paul LePage recently spoke at our Business Insider Breakfast and shared his views on the coming budget and the November referendum questions.
If you haven't heard, the Lithgow Library has reopened for business following a marvelous expansion project. Stop in today!
Small Business Resource Team
Let us know if you want to be a part of this team dedicated to seeing the growth of small businesses in our region! This program is made possible by the generous support of Camden National Bank!
Upcoming Events
Business After Hours
August 24th, 5:00-7:00 pm
at Viles Arboretum
co-host  Skowhegan Savings Bank
Business After Hours are sponsored by Capitol Dental Care.
Women's Network Luncheon
September 14, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
at The Senator Inn
Featuring Sue Grenier
Women's Network Luncheons are sponsored by Anthem and Bangor Savings Bank.
Final Thoughts     
Take time, if you haven't yet, to check out the amazing performances that have highlighted the Summer Olympic Games. There are some truly amazing stories of success against countless odds. Our congratulations to the athletes of the world.
Ross H. Cunningham
President & CEO
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce 
269 Western Avenue, Augusta ME 04330