Everyone was caught scrambling when the pandemic hit last March, including those in the medical field, with many forced to pivot from in-person to virtual care and marketing in a hurry.
Marwick Marketing caught up with client Graham Williamson, chief executive officer at CVM Medical, to discuss the challenges he and his team encountered, and the pivotal role digital marketing has played during the pandemic.
How has the current pandemic affected the day-to-day operations of your organization?
“The largest hurdle that our organization had to overcome was learning to work from home as a team. Not unlike all of our major corporate customers who suddenly found themselves in an out-of-office environment, the first few months took some adjusting for our team. Now everyone is settled in quite nicely, as are the majority of our clients and customers. CVM Medical now runs a major call centre operation, assisting our COVID-19 testing for travel, and corporate clients, from home offices located throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Toronto. It’s been quite the remarkable transition, while still maintaining high levels of customer service.”
Have your business goals changed since COVID-19? And if they have, has digital marketing and media enabled your organization to adapt to the ever-evolving needs of this pandemic?
“The need for our services is even more real and enhanced during the pandemic. People are in a real crisis. Resources are restricted and it’s difficult for customers to wrap their minds around who is who, and what is what. Digital marketing has provided us with a trusted platform to deliver key messages to our clients, to reassure them during their time of need, to deliver critical information, and to let them know that they are not alone. We can also remind them that we are here, resources are available, and that the information and services which we provide are trustworthy and credible.”
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20; looking back on pre-COVID-19 times, is there anything that you could/would implement to make your organization more prepared to handle the crisis?
“We have always maintained emergency response plans. In fact, our pandemic plan has been on file since the H1N1 crisis. Clearly nobody could predict the size and scope of this pandemic. Would we have built a new, custom office building and moved in a year before the pandemic? No. But our staff, being healthcare professionals—Registered Nurses, Physicians, Paramedics—adapted very quickly. Their training, experience, and patient-focused care quickly rose to the forefront.”
How do you feel that your business will look in one year? Two years, five years? Are you optimistic that your organization and customers will be able to return to pre-COVID-19 operations within one, two or five years?
“We are anticipating a two to three-year timeline for our business. Thankfully, it appears that a vaccine, although there are roll out challenges, will be having an impact soon. But while this important development will start to drive down infection rates once distribution becomes widely available, COVID-19 will be with us for a significant time to come. Our business will be there to support each and every customer who needs COVID-19 testing, whether PCR based testing, rapid testing, or testing from home. We will be a key part of driving confidence for our customers and ensuring that international travel safely returns. That customer and clients can work, travel and play with added confidence and security.”
Are there any key takeaways you feel were critical to your organization in achieving stability or success during COVID-19 that you would like to share?
“The drive, ambition, and adaptability of our staff were, and are, absolutely key to our success. Launching a new product—COVID-19 testing for travelers and businesses during a pandemic—is no easy task. Not only that, but our staff also still needed to attend to the day to day running of our organization. We still have teams around the country who require support while we develop new services and add an entirely new layer to the operation. Without their drive and determination, we would not be successful. CVM Medical recently underwent accreditation for COVID-19 sample collection by the College of Physicians. Since taking a COVID-19 test is a regulated healthcare activity, special permission and strict accreditation is required.
Our years of work as a highly regarded and internationally accredited air ambulance company in the global environment, prepared CVM to quickly undertake accreditation by the College of Physicians for COVID-19 sample collection. This was a major milestone for our organization, ensuring that we are operating legally within the regulations. Lots of clinics are popping up here and there offering COVID-19 testing without accreditation, which should be concerning to the consumer. They might not be aware of the rules and implications regarding COVID-19 testing without proper licensure. Again, thankfully our previous experience in healthcare accreditation and quality assurance led to a quick and seamless process with the regulators here in British Columbia who gave CVM Medical high marks during our accreditation site inspection.”
If you are looking to pivot your business or improve your digital presence, the team at Marwick Marketing can help. Contact us today.