News & Views
It’s all about collaboration. Transparency and accountability. Teamwork. Combined skills, imagination, and creativity. And even working with Artificial Intelligence.
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success -Henry Ford
Collaboration with AI...
AI is all the buzz these days, and it’s the object of both excitement and fear. McKinley Advisors just released a report that reveals AI to be a top concern for association execs looking ahead to the next decade. At BrightKey, we have a task force in place to stay on top of the advances and determine what are the opportunities (and challenges) for our own operations and those of our clients.
Generative AI is the easy entry point for those of us who want to get a sense of its transformative power. We went right to the source to pose the question: how do you achieve the right collaborative balance with AI?
Before you could take a sip of coffee, ChatGPT offered a compelling 12-point response, leading off with this intro: “Preserving the human element in the face of advancing AI technologies is essential for maintaining empathy, ethics, and the unique qualities that make us human.” That statement offers a good guidepost for exploring the possibilities
Collaboration with outsourced partners . . .
In the face of AI, one thing still rings true: nothing replaces the power of the human voice. A recent report from McKinsey & Company had this to say, “In a digital age, live voice contacts matter even more in providing a high-quality customer experience.”
It’s a welcome relief to members and customers that they can reach a real person at the BrightKey call center. We’re dedicated to enabling our clients to provide their members and customers with that VIP service. Delivering the personal touch is one of the eight success factors outlined in our new whitepaper on choosing the right outsourcing partner (and managing the relationship).
Collaboration with peers . . .
First, a shout out to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) for another great Annual Conference. We came away from this summer’s conference with two important observations. First, nothing replaces the opportunity to see colleagues, customers, and partners face to face. The second one took me by surprise: the importance of the presenter’s role in sparking insights from the audience. The conversations with the session’s attendees took the learning to the next level.
This experience shines a new light on continuing education: we grow together by creating an environment that makes the subject matter relevant. While the basic topics may remain the same from year to year, there are always new influences: new people, new ideas, new technology, and shifts in the business and political environment.
With more than 200 clients in the association and corporate worlds, BrightKey has the ability to gather insights from a full spectrum of disciplines, along with lessons that can benefit all clients. We’re taking steps now to find ways to take fuller advantage of that position for you. That means if you’re wondering what are others doing about a specific issue? Just ask us!
Collaboration with your customers . . .
There’s a long-standing maxim in sales: your best prospect is your current client. It’s much less expensive to keep a customer than get a new one. And customer service satisfaction is of paramount importance, especially since a membership-based organization serves a discrete market of peers. And they talk to each other.
BrightKey is in business to help you retain your members and customers through exceptional service. Our customer service representatives take great care to be responsive problem solvers. And our managers focus on letting you know what the issues are…what we’re seeing as trends.
Enhanced collaboration in warehousing and shipping . . .
Since our start in 1988, BrightKey’s warehouse has been at the heart of the services we provide. Clients have long relied on our proprietary Warehouse Management System (WMS) to manage their inventory and gain visibility into orders and returns. Now, we’re keeping that heart beating strong with a completely updated and revamped system.
Our new cloud-based WMS will enhance the user experience for both our internal teams and clients through real-time data sharing and updates. Customer Service Representatives will have faster answers, and clients will be able to navigate data easily to see trends and inventory status. No matter what channel customers use to order, we will be better positioned to provide consistent buyer experiences. And, our new system will capture images of inventory items to increase accuracy and save time. Stay tuned!
And…collaboration with YOU!
Got a question … a suggestion … an idea? Our open door policy means you are welcome to come on over and we’ll put our heads together. With AI, for example, we’ve had clients ask for a general introduction or an update on the latest AI opportunities. Others are asking about applications that can work with an association management system to automate specific tasks and provide better data.
Want to stay in the know? Join our newsletter!
All the best,
Rita Hope Counts
President and CEO
P.S. And speaking of collaborations, if AI could help the Beatles “come together” for one last song … I’m all for it!
What's Trending (At a Glance)
Our broad client base provides a great view of what’s going on in many different areas. Each month, we send out a news brief with a quick read on hot topics, emerging trends, and action steps. Here’s just a taste of What’s Trending…
The 2024 outlook for global meetings and events foresees a significant rise in attendance, with internal meetings expected to experience the largest growth in attendees. This resurgence aligns with a 70% prediction of attendance returning to pre-2019 levels. The year is marked by a strong emphasis on AI and sustainable practices, aiming to streamline and environmentally optimize meetings. The year promises a blend of heightened engagement and innovative solutions as the industry leans towards more efficient, strategic meetings. Ensure your team is prepared to capitalize on this opportunity and avoid getting bogged down by administrative minutiae.
Shipping Alert: USPS New Rates for 2024
Starting January 21, 2024, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is set to implement price adjustments across a range of services. Notably, the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp will increase from 66 cents to 68 cents. Additionally, USPS Shipping Services will experience a broad rate increase, with USPS Ground Advantage prices rising by 5.4%, Priority Mail services by 5.7%, and Priority Mail Express services by 5.9%.
According to Accenture's 2024 Life Trends Report, the 'Great Interface Shift' marks a significant move towards personalized digital experiences driven by generative AI. This trend is predicted to be pivotal in 2024, signaling a shift from transactional to intuitive, user-centric online interactions. Understanding and integrating this technology will be vital for organizations to create deeply resonant digital experiences. For those planning digital strategies, this means anticipating user needs with a blend of AI-driven insights and empathetic design. Embracing this shift now is essential to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Shipping Alert: UPS Rate Hike in December 2023
Starting December 26, 2023, UPS will implement a 5.9% General Rate Increase (GRI), a departure from the usual 3.9%-4.9% increases of the past decade. This change comes in response to rising labor costs following extensive labor negotiations. Shippers should note that this increase will also affect minimum charges and surcharges, potentially impacting overall shipping expenses.
As we pivot our strategies to embrace the upcoming year, let’s embed the CARE philosophy into our membership retention efforts. By Communicating early, Anticipating needs, Reinforcing value, and Engaging personally, we set a standard of excellence and show genuine dedication to our members. It’s this forward-thinking, CARE-driven mindset that transforms the challenge of membership churn into an opportunity for growth and community strengthening. Remember, foresight is the foundation of member loyalty—CARE to plan ahead and watch your membership thrive. And if you're looking for a partner to help execute your CARE plan with precision and passion, turn to BrightKey—where nurturing membership is not just a service, it's our promise.
Mail Alert: Prepare for the Next USPS Stamp Price Hike in January 2024
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has unveiled a proposal for another stamp price increase—the fourth in just two years. Starting January 21, 2024, the cost of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp may jump to 68 cents, a 2-cent uptick aimed at offsetting inflationary pressures and remedying past pricing models. Here’s a quick breakdown of the expected changes:
• Metered 1-ounce letters could cost 64 cents, a 1-cent rise.
• Domestic postcards are projected to reach 53 cents, up 2 cents.
• International mail rates are slated to climb by 5 cents to $1.55.
Despite these adjustments, USPS has decided not to add extra holiday surcharges this year, a relief for seasonal shippers. Need assistance navigating these updates? Contact BrightKey for expert advice on optimizing your mailing strategy in this shifting postal landscape.
For businesses gearing up for the peak shipping season, it's crucial to be aware of the surcharge adjustments introduced by major carriers:
UPS: Demand surcharges will be in effect from October 29, 2023, to January 13, 2024. Additionally, surcharges for packages requiring special handling or those oversized will be applicable from October 1, 2023, to January 13, 2024.
FedEx: Peak season surcharges vary based on the shipment date. The surcharges will be $1.60 per package from October 30 to November 26, 2023, and December 11, 2023, to January 14, 2024. However, from November 27 to December 10, 2023, the surcharge will increase to $2.60 per package. Additionally, businesses shipping over 20,000 residential packages in a week will be subject to a residential delivery surcharge from October 30, 2023, to January 14, 2024.
Valuing Top-Tier Members with Holiday Appreciation Kits
The holiday season is an ideal time to recognize the invaluable support of your top-tier and highest revenue-generating members. Personalized appreciation kits not only express gratitude but also reinforce their significance to the association. This tailored approach is a strategic investment in deepening member loyalty. If you're contemplating such a gesture, BrightKey is poised to assist with both innovative ideas and seamless fulfillment.
Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the modern workforce isn't just a trend—it's a transformative shift reshaping industries and redefining operational efficiencies. However, the rapid evolution of AI can be daunting for many organizations. The recent release of ChatGPT Enterprise underscores the potential of AI-driven solutions to streamline processes and enhance customer interactions. At BrightKey, we're at the forefront of this AI revolution. If you're curious about the capabilities and implications of AI for your organization, don't hesitate to reach out. From a brief crash course to an in-depth lecture, we're here to demystify AI.
Don't Let IT Delays Define Your Year-End
The absence of adequate internal IT services in many organizations isn't just an operational hiccup; it's a significant impediment that can have cascading negative effects on efficiency, innovation, and growth. Such deficiencies often lead to project delays, misaligned priorities, and missed market opportunities. BrightKey recognizes these profound challenges and is poised to offer end-to-end IT solutions tailored to your needs. As the year-end looms, don't let resource constraints hold you back. Partner with BrightKey and ensure your projects conclude successfully and on time.
Manager, Membership Sales
Senior Facilities Manager
Coordinator for Fulfillment
Vice President, Member Support
BrightKey Delivers Results
Aligning with the Times
SKILL: BrightKey’s experts in mailroom operations and document scanning workflow, completed an onsite assessment of current operations and presented recommendations to enhance the essential mailroom operations. BrightKey assisted with procuring and installing state of the art mail processing and accountable mail tracking equipment in addition to deploying standard operating processes and procedures, and volume and performance tracking dashboards.
RESULTS: BrightKey continues to work with our customer to identify additional document workflows and expects to maximize the existing capacity to meet the demands of their growth. In addition, the implementation of new technology and the development of standard operating procedures and reporting provided the corporate operation with a well-oiled mailroom which turns around inbound mail the same day it is received.
Reducing Cost While Creating Efficiencies
SKILL: BrightKey’s Project Team researched costs for printer and coil machine replacements, designed supply workrooms for standardization, and identified a new approach to shipping and mailing.
RESULTS: By replacing a printer that allowed for in-house services rather than outsourcing, Brightkey helped save money and organize production within. In addition, Brightkey helped standardize the workroom for efficiency and supply management which allowed for ensuring standardization of both supplies and industrial equipment. Our team standardized supplies for tracking and reordering as needed which improved productivity. Brightkey advised using FedEx ground home delivery services vs FedEx express for employees working from home, reducing delivery costs for shipping.
Following COVID Protocols While Remaining Engaged
SKILL: BrightKey worked closely with our client to outline their requirements. This resulted in timelines for completion and definitive performance standards for delivery and security. BrightKey also consulted with the client to develop a customized migration to their preferred file sharing application and implemented the solution within five weeks of initial request.
RESULTS: BrightKey developed a customized mail digitization program that allowed employees to work seamlessly from home or any location with internet access. Employees received their digitized mail by 1:00 pm on the same day received. All mail images were migrated via an encrypted network. Additionally, all hard copies were indexed, filed, and stored in a secure location, making hard copy retrieval fast and efficient.
Enhanced Reporting for Mail Services
SKILL: BrightKey implemented an online, customized Reporting Dashboard. No client resources were required to implement this solution. Our solution provided a customized dashboard and tabular reports along with drill down capability into report data, daily refreshing of reporting data, and export functionality. These capabilities allowed for improvements in real time data reports, accompanied by secure usernames and passwords for staff to access data when needed.
RESULTS: The dashboard provides daily data on both inbound and outbound mail volumes. The dashboard tracks items such as total shipments, mass mailing, and mail screening. With the help of BrightKey, the company was able to digitize some of the current flow of mail, facilitating the clients current flow of mail and mail tracking.
Last Chance Fellow Recovery
SKILL: BrightKey’s Strategic Outreach team collaborated with the medical nonprofit to develop an outbound calling campaign to transition the lapsed members. Campaign design strategy included calling Fellows near benefit expiration to create a sense of urgency, a compelling script that highlighted powerful member benefits, clear rebuttals that combined a discount on renewing membership, and strategic collection of member feedback to tailor strategy throughout the current and future campaigns.
RESULTS: The three-week, two attempt, outreach campaign approach ensured that every member received a form of communication, which included direct conversation, voicemail, and email follow up. The campaign success was measured by payments received over the phone, members who pledged to pay, and payments made after the first call. With a final campaign ROI of $34.73 for every dollar spent, the customized approach to the outreach campaign proved to be a successful win back effort.