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first_img Twitter Google+ Previous PostSmall Town Closes Out Holiday Weekend With Parade Home NewsWatch Featured HIV Cases Rising In West Virginia Next PostMilitary Family Prepares to Send Their Son to Basic Training Linkedin HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A cluster of HIV cases in Cabell County reflects a shift in how the disease is being transmitted, West Virginia health officials say.The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Cabell County’s cluster — the only one currently known in West Virginia — is up to 49 confirmed cases, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.All the cases were contracted by intravenous drug use through sharing of contaminated syringes.The cluster, tracked since January 2018, represents a sharp uptick from the baseline average of eight cases annually over the past five years.In 2017, West Virginia had one of the nation’s lowest rates of HIV diagnoses (4.3 cases per 100,000 residents), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neighboring Kentucky (7.9 per 100,000) fared similarly.The HIV cases could potentially be devastating for Appalachian communities already ravaged by opioid addictionThe rise in HIV cases is particularly troubling considering Cabell County has an estimated 1,800 active IV drug users, creating an ample at-risk population for the virus to spread.HIV is difficult to track and impossible to predict, but introducing the virus in the region’s drug-using population is an obvious cause for concern for state health officials.“We expect the case count to increase just because we know there’s people out there that have not yet been tested,” said Shannon McBee, senior epidemiologist at DHHR, in a joint interview alongside Dr. Cathy Slemp, State Health Officer, at the state office in Charleston.“Until we can get a handle on how many people have been tested in Cabell County, it’s likely we’ll continue to see cases,” McBee said.HIV cases are still comparatively sparse in West Virginia. The dynamics for addressing it have changed, however, as the chief at-risk population shifts, and it’s created new challenges for those in public health.Unlike typically close-knit and stable LGBTQ communities, reaching intravenous drug users can feel like chasing shadows. More than half of those in the current Cabell County outbreak are homeless; they’re typically transient and often from out of town, and aren’t likely to seek assistance on their own.That means meeting them where they’re being housed, where they get their meals and where they encounter the medical system, McBee said — and that’s been the new challenge from a public health perspective.While the diseases themselves aren’t comparable, much of the lessons and community partnerships built during last year’s hepatitis A outbreak can be applied to HIV outreach. As in HIV, hepatitis A spread primarily among the homeless and transient.“This is not something that public health can just step in and fix,” Slemp said. “This is about how we work together as a community to come together. We can guide, support and lead in public health, but it really is about how a community and providers come together to help diagnose and link people to care for HIV.”Cabell County is well equipped to handle its own HIV cluster, Slemp and McBee agreed, both through the services it provides and the partnerships built in response to the opioid epidemic, which can easily adapt to HIV prevention. Yazmin Rodriguez Yazmin Rodriguez is currently the morning and noon anchor for WOAY. She was born in Newark, New Jersey then later headed down to the Jersey shore where she received her bachelor’s degree in television and radio from Monmouth University. Pinterest Mail FeaturedHealthNewsWatch HIV Cases Rising In West Virginia By Yazmin RodriguezMay 27, 2019, 09:24 am 1479 0 Facebook Tumblrlast_img read more

How Modern Companies Have Redefined Customer SupportHow Modern Companies Have Redefined Customer Support

first_imgHow Modern Companies Have Redefined Customer SupportJune 5, 2019 by Martin Zwilling 221SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategic Too many business owners still think of “customer support” as an after-sale process to rectify customer problems with completed transactions. The world has changed. With the advent of instant communication and social media, customer service starts at the first hint of interest by you, and never ends for repeat customers. One bad customer experience will kill not only one customer but many future ones, who hear the message via social media and friends.For example, the days are gone when simply replacing a purchase or giving your money back was considered premium service. Now, if your web site is not clear and clean, or you don’t have a chat robot for a product question online, you may be abandoned as providing poor customer service, just as certainly as having to wait in a long product exchange line after the holidays.Now customer support is called the “customer experience,” and everyone is expecting you to actually anticipate their personal needs, and totally delight them with all aspects of the shopping experience, price versus value, as well as help with any follow-on questions or problems. Big companies and small, from Amazon to Zappos, have set the bar high along the following lines:Business must be available when and where you are. Even small businesses can now easily be global in scope, and available 24×7 online. Customers expect you to provide access via their mobile devices, as well as being responsive to sales and support questions on social media and multiple Internet channels and partners at their whim.Company amazingly finds you based on your interests. No one likes to be blasted by TV and online ads for products you have no interest in, but we all love to be pleasantly surprised by memorable deals nearby on favorite clothing styles or food tastes. The best companies do their homework first to find the customers who will appreciate their service.Technology enhances experience, not impedes it. We have all been annoyed by the airline agent who seems to type forever into a slow computer, or repeatedly asks for information already known. Amazon introduced the one-click order button and overnight delivery, which has reset the bar for all other businesses in processing transactions.Customers sees you as a relationship, not a brand. The days of loyalty to a name brand are over, so every company has the same potential to reach out and build relationships with customers. Customers expect to be in control, remembered, and treated uniquely, every time they need support or come back for additional business.The marketing metrics cover support as part of experience. If your marketing metrics and budget ignore the fact that you have call center queues thirty minutes long, or no coverage of online reviews or social media, your customer service is not keeping up with competitors. Zappos, for example, counts the number of new customer relationships established, not minutes on the site.Customer experience starts with user-centric product design. The standard today for new products is that if it requires a user manual, that is considered a failure. Product usage by your target audience should be intuitive, and the elegance of the packaging, such as that provided by Apple, which always reflects the sleek, user-friendly experience of the product inside, is as important as the product itself.Show empathy and empowerment in handling customers. Every person in your organization needs to be committed and able to make decisions for enhancing customer relationships. Ritz-Carlton, for example, encourages employees, once they’re fully trained, to spend up to $2,000 per guest to solve a guest issue or improve a guest’s stay.Make it easy for customers to help themselves and each other. Customers today want to be in control and help themselves. They also like to hear from other customers, and even help others. That means facilitating customer online forums, special events, and contacts, where they can share experiences, and answer questions for each other.Ultimately, your experience is your brand and it’s no longer possible to separate customer support from the overall customer experience. Both are part of the relationship that you build with your customers, and these can be the key to amazing advocacy or the tag of poor customer service. It up to you to meet customers on their own terms, and they will reward you for doing it.Reprinted by permission.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img read more