Lunchtime Links: Beef Up Your Customer Service

A new study reveals the promise of real-time response to customer concerns. Also: Bill Gates' annual letter offers some important leadership insights.

Customer service is hard to get right but really easy to get wrong.

A negative experience can damage a person’s opinion of a brand or company quickly, but a prompt response can help you stay in a customer’s good graces. Problem is, that requires your association to be ready at the drop of a hat.

How one might do that, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Service on demand: Is your association’s customer support always on? If not, a new study might make you reconsider your approach. According to the report from LivePerson, 93 percent of all consumers consider live customer service to be an important tool — and 48 percent would drop a purchase based on a lack of customer support. “The expansion of digital channels and an increasingly crowded online marketplace are changing consumer spending habits and online behavior. And the more consumers spend online, both in time and money, the more demanding they become of the online customer experience,” said the company’s Erin Kang. Does this sound like one of your needs? (ht BizReport)

Take some pointers from Bill Gates: While the company he founded is still going strong, Bill Gates’ energy is focused on numerous things besides Microsoft at the moment. He made this clear in his recent annual letter, released Tuesday by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has long focused on charitable endeavors—and what can be done to improve the world at large. “Though I am an optimist, I am not blind to the problems we face,” he explains. “There are challenges we must overcome to speed up progress in the next 15 years. Two that worry me the most are the possibility that we won’t be able to raise the funds needed to pay for health and development projects, and that we won’t align around clear goals to help the poorest.” NTEN’s Annaliese Hoehling has some smart takeaways from Gates’ letter that leaders would benefit from learning.

Sink or swim: Think your association has a hard time staying relevant as tastes change? Think of how hard it might be for a brand that has a football player as a sponsor — with one victory separating its star from Super Bowl glory or another season on the sidelines. It’s not as easy as just stepping away, according to Forbes‘ Alex Konrad, who points out that many companies have to change their brand approach based on how the NFL season goes. Both sides of the coin create challenges, but one advantage for marketers of NFL stars missing the big game is that they suddenly have a lot of time on their hands. “If your marquee football player has just missed the Super Bowl—well that’s where the fun begins for marketers who like a challenge,” Konrad writes. If you had Peyton Manning as your sponsor instead of Ray Lewis, how would you correct course?

What type of cool stuff are you reading online today? Tell us all about it in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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