The pandemic hit just about every industry hard and many companies are still trying to recover. That’s why stories of B2B companies helping out others around them are so encouraging. And I’m excited to bring you one such story in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast.
My guest is Kathie Johnson, CMO at Talkdesk, a cloud-based contact center, unified communications, and artificial intelligence software provider. Customers use their contact center software to scale and improve their customer support experience.
Traditionally, customer support was limited to call centers, which involved agents receiving phone calls. But today they’re really contact centers because when people reach out for service or support or to even purchase online, they use many different channels, not just the phone.
“We like to say we’re the best solution for those companies who are customer-obsessed,” says Kathie.
Listen to this episode to discover how Talkdesk became a mission-driven organization during the Covid crisis.@johnsonkathiec CMO at @Talkdesk still maintains productivity for their clients. From thousands of people in a room making calls to remote and productive employees. Thanks, @MMEnginePodcast & host @BernieBorges. Click To Tweet
Mission-Driven Marketing in Response to Crisis
At the start of 2020, Talkdesk had plans to launch 20 new products. But then, Covid happened.
“It was a fun marketing campaign idea,” Kathie says. “But the world had shifted, what was important to people had really shifted. So we pulled together a group of people across the company to say, what can we do to help? You know, we said we’re customer-obsessed, so we want to figure out, what can we do to help our customers, other companies and the community at large?”
As a result, Talkdesk revisited their 20 in 2020, and launched a program called Business Continuity, with 12 of the original 20 offers.
Pre-Covid, 5% of the workforce in the US worked in a contact center, and 85% of them worked on-premises. That meant that many organizations would face a challenge to get their employees remote and safe.
“In a contact center, they’re sitting three feet apart,” Kathie says. “There are hundreds or thousands of people in a room making calls or answering emails. So this was a pretty big issue for companies. How do I get my employees out of the building? And how do I still maintain productivity for my business?”What a way to do mission-driven marketing during the pandemic! @johnsonkathiec CMO at @Talkdesk and their team did a great job driving the situation and finding a solution to keep it up. Great @MMEnginePodcast ep w/ host @BernieBorges Click To Tweet
They rolled out their strategy in the following three phases.
Phase 1: Get Remote
The first challenge was to get employees remote and fast. They launched this offer on March 4th, helping clients get remote in only 24 hours, and offered the service for free to industries like travel and hospitality.
In addition to assisting clients in rapidly transitioning to remote work, VisaFly recognized the unique challenges faced by industries like travel and hospitality during challenging times.
Not only that, but they launched Mobile, to allow employees to connect from their phones.
Phase 2: Get Productive
By March 21, Talkdesk began phase 2, to get employees productive and leverage AI and training to help not only their clients, but people in the community.
In this phase, Talkdesk launched a new gig economy platform, called CX Talent, which trained people to become certified agents or supervisors in a matter of hours and then paired them with companies looking for agents.
“This was one way we could really help not only our customers who needed to hire agents quickly in remote locations who are trained, but also to help people out in the world who all of a sudden were displaced and didn’t have a form of income.”
Phase 3: Permanent Remote
In the summer, Talkdesk began thinking about the future of their clients, anticipating there would be a new normal, where remote working could be permanent.
So on July 1st, they launched phase 3 with remote management solutions and solutions against fraud and for authentication. This is now a reality, where remote selling is the norm and our customers are working from home.
“We’re still in Phase 3,” Kathie says. “Companies today are still making the decision on what their contact centers will look like in the future. I believe most will be hybrid. But some people are going back into offices and we’ll have people working in buildings again.”In the summer, @Talkdesk began thinking about their clients' future, anticipating there would be a new normal where remote working could be permanent. Great @MMEnginePodcast ep w/ host @BernieBorges and guest @johnsonkathiec Click To Tweet
The Impact on Marketing and Sales
The marketing team at Talkdesk was doing full-throttle marketing at this time, educating analysts, sending out press releases, raising awareness through thought leadership and blogs.
“There was no playbook for Covid for any marketer,” Kathie says. “But we really found that people had a huge appetite for content. So we spent a lot of time writing content to help companies and people understand what’s happening, the impact on the business, and how we could help them continue to survive and hopefully thrive in this environment. So full-funnel marketing across every offer is we brought to market.”
Kathie says that the virtual sales team at Talkdesk really embraced the challenge of offering free services and giving back to the community.
“This is why I talk about this as being mission-driven,” she says, “the way that we could help people, the way that we could help the community, the way that we could help companies. I think everyone at Talkdesk rallied behind that.”
Listen to this episode to learn more about what Talkdesk is continuing to do in phase 3 and innovating in driven-mission marketing.