Marketing with Integrity During National Crises: The Role of Business Phone Solutions

The Role of Business Phone Solutions

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, business leaders across the world are having to make difficult decisions about the future of their companies. Social distancing – along with the large number of shelter-in-place orders – have stymied non-essential services, causing a major downturn in U.S. markets. Consumer spending is on the decline, with brick-and-mortar retailers among the hardest hit. According to the most recent data published by Amperity COVID-19 Retail Monitor, overall retail demand is down 74%. 

Adapting to the new normal, however temporary, is forcing businesses to rethink their approach to customer outreach, marketing and sales-lead generation. This shift in strategy is not only about preserving the profitability of companies during the crisis, it’s also crucial for maintaining their customer bases in the long term. And while COVID-19 may represent a valuable opportunity to upsell certain products or services, businesses should avoid capitalizing on the pandemic at all costs.

What is newsjacking?

The practice of newsjacking has become a valuable marketing tool in the era of instant communication and social media, as it allows companies to leverage the popularity of breaking news stories to amplify their sales and advertising efforts, according to HubSpot. Under normal circumstances, newsjacking is a useful and proactive method for increasing brand awareness and expanding a company’s online audience. For example, a travel company could capitalize on Mardi Gras by putting out target ads that encourage consumers to visit the festival, which in turn could help them sell more plane tickets or hotel reservations. When the new story is negative, however, using this technique can border on the unethical. 

In these uncertain times, customer communications have become a top priority for B2C businesses, especially those that have had their brick-and-mortar operations interrupted. Now more than ever, marketers must ensure their messaging is clear, consistent and mindful of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people, not shoppers. While selling products or services on the back of the outbreak may help boost short-term revenue, it could also cause irreparable harm to a company’s reputation. 

As noted in a recent article from MarTech Series, businesses should avoid “attaching any self-serving or salesy angles” to customer-facing updates about their ongoing COVID-19 responses. The outbreak is in a constant state of flux, making it difficult to accurately predict what the next few months have in store. Even if a company has valuable insights to share, this information should be presented in a sincere and supportive manner, not as a sales pitch. Conveying the wrong message at the wrong time can have severe consequences for a business’ public image, especially if consumers voice their frustrations on social media or other public forums. But considering the high stakes, what can companies do to keep their marketing campaigns on track without relying on questionable practices?

Building a Proactive Customer Support Framework

In times of crisis, a company’s customer support framework can either make or break their response. According to research from American Express, roughly 70% of U.S. consumers are willing to spend more to do business with companies that offer high-quality service. With retailers struggling to meet their sales targets, it’s crucial to provide a direct line of communication to trained support agents and sales representatives. Of course, optimizing these communication channels is also important, as businesses will likely receive a massive influx of calls related to COVID-19. Setting up temporary hotlines and self-service features through existing IVR systems can help organizations direct callers to the appropriate recipients, helping reduce call abandons and missed business opportunities. 

When optimizing business phone solutions, organizations should pay close attention to existing call routing rules and make use of intelligent reporting features to help benchmark their performance. Advanced call tracking tools can provide a wealth of insight into where calls are coming from, where callers are being sent and how long it takes representatives to resolve an inquiry. Using this information, business leaders can reorganize their inbound call infrastructure to better serve the evolving needs of customers. Keep in mind, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can result in 25% to 95% more profit for businesses, according to Bain & Company, which is why it’s crucial to offer callers a streamlined experience, whether or not they plan on making an immediate purchase.

Empowering Marketing Campaigns With Accurate Call Data

While it’s important to avoid unethical marketing practices during national (and global) crises, marketers can still fine-tune their advertising strategies by learning more about their target customers. Call tracking and data analytics can help advertising professionals create more accurate and actionable personas – realistic representations of key audience segments – which can add a layer of real-world consideration to their marketing efforts, according to When used as a reference, personas can provide a more reliable picture of the wants, needs and preferences of customers. This, in turn, can breath new life into an underperforming ad campaign or set a course for future projects.

Before companies can capitalize on consumer profiles, they first need to ensure their business phone solutions can support real-time data tracking and analysis. While these features are quickly becoming the standard, some providers may only offer limited functionality, if at all. To truly take advantage of data-driven marketing, companies must be able to consolidate their massive data stores into a single report. This can not only make comparative analysis more efficient, it may also help improve close rates and sales numbers. 

There’s no telling how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will impact the business world moving forward, but it seems clear that companies need to get creative to cut through the noise. To ensure your organization is set up for long-term success, consider reevaluating your call solutions and integrating new technologies to make your marketing projects more productive, agile and profitable.