COVID-19 effect: How Mable pivoted to support vulnerable Australians

How the profit-for-purpose tech business is helping people with disability, older Australians find independent support workers to get the help they need

A shop selling protective gear, digital identification, video-based engagement and supportive communications are just some of the ways Mable is helping navigate its employees and community through the COVID-19 crisis.

Mable is an online platform which connects people with a disability as well as older Australians with independent care and support workers, nurses and allied health professionals in their community. It differs from other provider models, as it gives more choice to both users and the independent support workers, so they feel they’re in control – something that can often feel ‘taken away’ in these groups. 

Mable CMO, Emma Howe, who’s been with the business for some time, is passionate about the important job of the organisation and the role of marketing, driven by a mission to be inclusive and empower individuals and their families to connect in unique ways.

The marketing chief explained to CMO how COVID-19 has impacted Mable’s service as well as its marketing approach.

“The large majority of support arranged via Mable is delivered in people's homes, so when COVID-19 hit we really had to work quickly to reassure our community that support continued to be essential and could continue in this new environment,” Howe said. 

“We focused on communicating the changing health advice, clarifying lockdown measures, providing digital ID so workers could easily confirm their work when out of home, and implementing mandatory training for all workers delivering support so that clients and workers could be confident in how to deliver support and stay protected.”

Mable said the team opted to use stories and content from its community through social channels, eDMs and community engagement team to celebrate the great support that was continuing throughout the crisis. 

“We also wanted to show our great appreciation for the people providing this essential support during this time,” she continued.

“When we heard shortages of sanitiser and PPE was creating concerns within the community, we launched our own protective equipment shop exclusive for the Mable community so people could access sanitiser and other items to follow recommended measures.”

The nature of COVID-19 means vulnerable people, many of Mable’s own community, faced heightened risk from the virus and Howe said it accelerated the development of specialised services in the face of the crisis. This included launching video chat within the platform so that people could access paid virtual support. It meant people who may be feeling isolated were able to stay connected.

The tech team also accelerated a new feature ‘Mable Last Minute’ to enable people to connect with new independent support workers in as little as four hours.  

“We had some wonderful stories of people playing battleships, doing cooking lessons and even online exercise classes. We also partnered with Paralympian and Aussie icon, Dylan Alcott, to surprise a few of our customers with virtual support sessions,” she said.

Howe hopes the experience of the pandemic - things like innovation, flexibility, speed - continue when it all abates. But, more importantly, the sense of reaching out and offering help continues across the board in marketing and business.

“We’re hoping to see more of that which we’ve seen during the pandemic – more people offering support to those in need, more companies disrupting their fields to meet category concerns, and continued closeness and connection despite geography and other challenges,” she added.

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