Companies adapting to COVID-19 are employing a number of strategies, including contactless delivery, contact tracing, remote contact centers, notifications, telehealth, distance learning, and self-service. 

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As the effects of COVID-19 continue to reverberate through our markets and the world, it’s becoming increasingly clear we’ll all be dealing with the pandemic’s impact for a long time.

In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has been a driver of innovation and change, as organizations sort through ways to maintain and improve customer engagement despite the challenges they’re facing.

COVID-19 will promote people-driven healthcare, from Twilio's Global Head of Healthcare Services, Susan Lucas Collins.

New use cases are cropping up. Customers are changing their preferred communications channels—and they want to hear from you. Organizations that can react quickly to this changing demand are building deeper relationships that will stand the test of time.

We’ve identified seven ways businesses can tailor their communications and customer engagement to meet their customers’ needs better throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Scroll to find examples of how leading organizations are doing just that.

Self-service—addressing common needs, at scale

Empowering guests and hoteliers with AI and text messaging
Smartconcierge service Ivy, from Go Moment, helps hotels to better serve their guests and empowers hotel staff by automating routine inquiries, providing smart suggestions, and offering instant service to guests.

Go Moment needed a programmable messaging provider that could scale as the company grew, ensuring Ivy’s messages were sent promptly and received on any and all devices. They also needed a way to help guests and hoteliers communicate while adhering to social distancing best practices. Learn more.

Watch the on-demand webinar all about creating self-service experiences with IVRs and chatbots.

Distance learning—connecting students and educators

Making the grade with virtual learning and Air Tutors
Air Tutors provides tutoring, test prep, and other educational support via a remote platform designed specifically to engage and captivate learners and empower educators.

They needed a video conferencing solution that could scale to its growing needs, integrate seamlessly with a variety of communication options, and provide advanced customization to cater to educators and learners. And, it needed to grow as the company experiences increased demand due to COVID-19. Keep reading.

Watch the on-demand webinar all about building your own video solution to facilitate distance learning.

Telehealth—a new era of patient engagement

Zocdoc launches new telehealth option
The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping healthcare as we know it, right in front of our eyes. More providers than ever are going remote, and are encouraging consumers to warm up to virtual care.

In a matter of weeks, Zocdoc enabled a brand new telehealth option that connects healthcare providers and patients remotely for secure appointments. Learn more.

Epic responds to coronavirus restrictions with new telehealth options
Epic, one of the nation's largest electronic health record companies, quickly created an embedded telehealth solution that allows providers to launch a video visit with a patient, review relevant patient history and update clinical documentation directly within Epic.

Epic built and scaled its telehealth video client at unprecedented speed to meet provider and patient demand as healthcare systems not only struggled to curb the spread of the virus but continued to deliver necessary care through the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading.

Patient engagement in a time of crisis with CipherHealth
CipherHealth is an end-to-end patient engagement platform that lets healthcare providers communicate with patients in a more seamless, efficient way. Due to COVID-19, the company needed a way to quickly provide healthcare providers with a screening and outreach system to better allocate limited resources. Learn more.

Reaching patients via chat at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai is the largest health system in New York City, with more and 7,200 physicians spanning multiple campuses across the metropolis. When COVID-19 hit the city hard, Mount Sinai responded rapidly to growing and changing demands, including by building a chat service that allowed patients to chat live with doctors for better service. Read on.

Calls, video, and messaging for patient engagement with MDLIVE
MDLIVE offers convenient and affordable virtual health care services to more than 40 million members nationwide. Its network of board-certified physicians, dermatologists, psychiatrists and licensed therapists are specially trained in virtual care and are committed to the highest quality treatment and the best possible patient experience. They needed a telephony, video, and messaging provider that could scale with them as the company experiences rapid growth. Keep reading.

Nye Health goes remote, and live, in a few weeks
Nye Health, a free remote communications platform that connects patients and doctors via smartphones and video, connects over 10m UK patients with their physicians.

Compatible with any device, clinicians can make video and phone calls from wherever they are. With added pressure due to COVID-19, the platform is growing 200 percent a week. Learn more.

Notifications—stay in touch with customers, on their terms

Noggin embeds email, SMS, and voice into their apps to keep companies in contact with customers
Australian company Noggin helps companies and organizations worldwide better handle challenging situations with an integrated, all-hazards approach to safety and security management They needed a way to provide best-in-class communications solutions to its customer organizations and agencies as part of its all-encompassing platform. Read on.

Engineers at Tufts go low-tech to support the elderly during coronavirus
The Social Temperature Observation and Monitoring Project, or STOMP-Covid, at Tufts, has taken a low-tech approach to tracking the disease specifically among the elderly. The service uses automated text messages and phone calls to recruit those 65-and-up to report their temperature twice a day. If their temperature goes up, they receive an automated follow-up call to discuss next steps. Learn more.

A new app that keeps subscribers up-to-date on COVID-19 news
The COVID Helpline is a non-profit, open source initiative designed to raise awareness around COVID-19 and improve communication about the pandemic. Users text +1 (914) 268-4399 and get advice about how to stay healthy, based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and latest data from John Hopkins University. See how.

Lending a helping paw to pet parents and their veterinarians
PetDesk helps thousands of pet care providers in the US and Canada stay connected with 5+ million pet parents by giving providers a streamlined way of communicating health service reminders, appointment requests, and confirmations.They needed a way to quickly enable two-way messaging between veterinary care providers and pet parents. Read on.

Fighting hunger one text at a time
City Harvest, United Way for New York City, and their tech partner Plentiful work with a large network of local food pantries to distribute healthy food to local residents experiencing food insecurity.

The City Harvest and United Way for New York City teams needed to reduce wait times at pantries, scale up to meet demand during COVID, and provide reliable information about pantry hours. Keep reading.

Car sales and COVID-19: Schomp Automotive’s innovative solution
Schomp Automotive Group is one of the Rocky Mountain region’s longest-standing and largest independently owned automobile businesses. They are a local, fourth-generation family-owned organization that’s been in business for more than 75 years.

The organization adapted to COVID-19 by enabling virtual car buying and selling, and by making the service process even more seamless. See how.

Watch the on-demand webinar all about how to scale reliably reaching people via mass alerts and notifications.

Remote contact center—empowering employees

Agility in government: How Pittsburgh’s 311 service went remote in less than a week

The city of Pittsburgh provides critical 311 service to its 300k+ residents, sharing important city information and responding to a variety of requests and reports from residents.

The team tasked with ensuring 311 continuity needed a way to enable 311 operators to continue to perform their critical work without going to their legacy, on-premise call center, rendered unsafe by COVID-19. Read more.

Shopping at home during COVID-19 with QVC Italia

QVC Italia is a home shopping and entertainment channel showcasing beauty, fashion, home and kitchen products, jewelry, electronics, and more. During the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the company needed to find a way to quickly transition more than 100 agents to a fully remote contact center while also managing rapidly scaling inbound support traffic. See how.

United Way Worldwide expands 211 reach during coronavirus pandemic

United Way Worldwide’s 211 program supports communities across the United States, handling calls and providing key information about social services, emergency support, and more. United Way Worldwide supports the nationwide network of more than two hundred 211 agencies.

The 211 team at United Way Worldwide needed a way to help route inbound calls and load-balance across counties and states during times of crisis and high volume. Keep reading.

Moneypenny adapts to work from home while supporting customers

Moneypenny, a fast growing digital comms provider for customers in the UK and US, has been central to many of its customers during the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, as companies have to respond to their customers queries about continuing operations.

Luckily, because Moneypenny's systems are cloud-based and make use of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, or VoIP, the company easily implemented its business continuity plan and work from home policies. Learn more.

Contact tracing – ongoing management and monitoring

New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications prepares for re-openings

New York City’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) is deploying a cloud-based contact center as part of the City’s COVID-19 tracing program. The platform sends messaging-based alerts, emails, and WhatsApp messages that prompt city residents to fill out secure surveys on their symptoms.

The University of California San Diego expands the boundaries of clinical research studies

Over the last decade, the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS), a research organization at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has studied how two-way text interactions can be used to promote health and prevent disease and disability. CWPHS has conducted sixteen SMS studies. It has sent over 889,000 text messages to nearly 1,800 study participants, and received over 238,000 responses. CWPHS’ messaging engine enables highly personalized interactions with users in multiple languages, across all providers and devices with two-way communications. So far, they’ve built five behavioral and clinical text messaging applications.

The University of Arizona launches local effort to trace virus spread The University of Arizona Data Science Institute is screening quarantined medical staff and Arizona residents to map the spread of COVID-19 and deliver resources to those who need them. Its SMS-based contact tracing system, AZCOVIDTXT scales self-reporting. Residents of Pima County can simply text “JOIN” to the system’s phone number. After they reply to a confirmation text with their zip code, they receive the survey in either Spanish, English, or Chinese. Read more.

Contactless delivery – ensuring consumer safety with satisfaction

Instacart’s Leave at My Door policy

Prior to COVID-19 on-demand grocery delivery app Instacart had already launched its Leave at My Door Delivery option. Instacart relies on SMS notifications to manage their order confirmations, delivery ETA's, customer satisfaction surveys, and employee shift alerts. Most critical to the business is the speed in which alerts reach their personal shoppers, so they can begin to process the order and deliver on their hour-or-less promise. Deliveroo food delivery for stay-at-home diners

With Deliveroo, hungry customers can enjoy restaurant meals while they safely shelter-in-place. Customers open an app or web browser, find a restaurant, pick a few food items, submit their order, track the order’s progress through the app, get a notification that their food has been left for them at their door –– all in thirty or fewer minutes. 

Watch the on-demand webinar about best practices for contactless delivery
Explore the guide

See more in our COVID-19 Communications Field Guide.

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