As we continue to navigate our way through this COVID19 environment, necessary precautions must be made – resulting in canceled meetings, new schedules, and different habits. As we attempt to imagine the near future, the changes in practices and routines, along with the volatile economy, have placed businesses, clients, employees, and customers in an unprecedented situation.
Experts note that the progression to online retail operations and the movement away from brick and mortar stores is being accelerated by behaviors made necessary by the quarantine and shelter in place directives. Even the use of grocery shopping apps such as Instacart is picking up at a rapid pace as folks become more familiar and comfortable with the process.
Working remotely grows exponentially
Similarly, many businesses are choosing to implement remote work in hopes of maintaining as much regularity as possible. However, in-person meetings and face-to- face experiences are a key part of business, both within the organization, as well as with guests and customers. Now more than ever, clear communication is vital to ensure information is being accurately conveyed and concerns are being properly addressed.
Facebook Live and Zoom may be great low investment options for smaller, more informal organizations and entertainment, but they lack the ability to control the conversation effectively and can feel chaotic or pointless at times. This can cause catastrophic damage to a brand’s value, integrity, and customer retention.
Enter The Contact Group (TCG) and its Founder/CEO David Costenbader who says “Our teleconferencing solution is a perfect remote engagement strategy during these times. Associations, Resort Developers, HOAs– all can benefit from our engagement marketing savvy and one-to-many phone technology that is accessible by any device. Our clients also choose us because of our large capacity and ability to produce a return on their objectives of effective communication and genuine conversations with their audience. They know that getting out in front of a crisis situation and presenting themselves as a trusted source benefits them as well as their stakeholders.”
Solutions for internal and external communications
TCG’s unique solution is perfect for both internal and external communications, no matter the size, with both audio and audiovisual session options. With their technology partner, Broadnet, they also offer the ability to host multiple speakers (no matter their location) and hold a moderated Q&A during the session, seamlessly. This way both the host and the audience are hearing the most pertinent questions and staying abreast of information that matters most. For audiences less than 1,000 participants, TCG offers an on- demand teleconferencing solution for use by department leaders to update their employees. The on-demand solution offers all of the functionality of the larger solution such as the ability to present a slide show.
The Contact Group’s solution has a patented dial-out function to invite people to a telephone conference, like a quarterly earnings call. They were one of the first to do virtual telephone town halls. For many years TCG hosted events for campaigns and nonprofits; and TCG was very influential in President Obama’s campaigns as a teleconferencing solution. They have also expanded into other areas. 31 out of 32 NFL teams use the product. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters with over a million members, a long-term client of TCG, scheduled an all hands-on deck “Total Teleconference” the first week in April. The platform will dial out to more than 150,000 UPS members and will have close to 20,000 dialing inbound.
Expanding to Travel and Hospitality Sector
While The Contact Group has seen major success in the political and non-profit sectors, it is strategically entering the travel and hospitality sector with initial projects for C.A.R.E. and VSA Resorts.
VSA’s first event is to their employee base, prior to a major renovation done to their property, using visual content and audio to discuss the renovation, so that before owners come to the property, staff can speak intelligently and answer questions. For another event, VSA Resorts selected to use streaming video to invite all of their owners. The live streaming event will have an interior design representative, chairman of board, and the president walk them through the renovation and answer questions in a controlled, moderated environment.
In the case of C.A.R.E., The Contact Group supported the organization with the unique “Total Teleconference.” C.A.R.E. was one of many organizations forced to cancel its upcoming annual conference and its president, Linda Mayhugh, wanted to ensure that members could still connect with each other at its “Meet the Members” session. During this popular roll call, members share resort inventory availability and requirements amongst each other. TCG, with support from a CustomerCount® sponsorship, as well as a contribution of services from itself, offered its help. The event was a resounding success with over 25% of their membership participating. TCG’s Total Teleconference includes instant polling of attendees. The C.A.R.E. poll showed 91% would participate in another one. Linda stated, “The Contact Group facilitated the event so all C.A.R .E. had to do was have our hosts dial in. Very easy!”
TCG’s “Total Teleconference” enables a two-way conversation between a host and audience on various devices, allowing both presenters and participants to communicate with each other no matter the size of the audience. The platform is particularly engaging and effective because it dials out to every member registered for the event. These features create a stronger participation rate and accurate conveyance of information.
With the TCG platform, hosts are able to invite people to the table to get their controlled and moderated feedback, while delivering vital information and programming to participants. It allows a company to communicate effectively to their stakeholders, whether they are investors, employees, or owners. No matter the situation, people want to be invited to the table to hear about others’ experiences and questions. They can participate by electronically raising their hands. They then enter a queue to have their question screened and transcribed so only vital questions are taken live and answered by the client’s trusted source of subject matter experts. In addition to moderator/attendee interaction, TCG can incorporate polls to gain valuable feedback instantly. Finally, PowerPoint presentations and streaming video are integrated onto the client’s website and can be simulcast onto their Facebook page.
Not only are the meetings interactive and value driven, TCG’s services include integration of a thorough audience engagement plan. Promotions are handled in myriad ways. Drawing on years marketing expertise, TCG creates promotional materials for social media campaigns as well as embedding registration directly though the client website. Promotional materials geared to be distributed through social and digital channels are also available. Beyond that, they are also able to dial out to a pre-made list or create one using a wide array of metrics.
During this evolving business environment, Costenbader says TCG is taking the pro-active steps of adding resources, waiving Set Up fees and offering new clients 20% off their first event. He says, “We want to be part of the solution, allowing affected businesses to weather this storm and get back up sooner than later.”
For more information and/or a demonstration reach out to David Costenbader, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-725-8608.
Georgi Bohrod, RRP is Principal of GBG & Associates, Inc., a Marcomm company located in San Diego, California.