How Chatbots Are Helping The Fight Against Covid 19 Crisis

As the impacts of the pandemic deepen and governments continue to enforce social quarantine to “flatten the curve”, it is innovative technologies like chatbots that are coming to the rescue. Their diverse range of applications, cost-effectiveness, and ease of implementation, is resulting in more and more organizations readily adopting them. From customer support, crisis management, internal communications to remote work support, organizations are using these conversational interfaces in different ways to fight this pandemic.

Let’s look into this in detail. 

Functions Where Chatbots Are Making  A Difference

1. Crisis Management

Chatbots are essential not only because they answer FAQs of employees, but also for their ability to conduct human-like conversations – something very desirable when people are isolated and going through difficult times. 

In regards to crisis management, chatbots can help in

  • Sending public health information to employees from sources like WHO and CDC

  • Performing employee health checks

  • Keeping employees informed about the company’s latest advisories, and news

  • Sending work from home tips for remote workers 

In fact, Global Telecom, a Filipino telecommunications company, has implemented a chatbot named Digital Usher for Disasters and Emergencies (DUDE) to keep the management updated on its employee’s health and well-being. The chatbot does daily health status checks for its 8000+ employees.

Read More: Essential Apps For Enterprises To Fight The COVID-19 Disruption 

2. Human Resources (HR)

The lockdown has put a huge burden on HR. The economic downturn has piled up their inboxes with emails from employees concerned about their work status, paycheck, and lack of procedural clarity. Moreover, managing the hiring and onboarding process has become incredibly difficult in the remote environment, resulting in offers being rescinded and talent choosing to join competitors. In such a scenario, chatbots can play a major role in streamlining the HR workflows. 

Not only can chatbots answer FAQ, provide policy-related information to the workforce but also automate the hiring process and run virtual training programs and assessments. For instance, in industries which are aggressively hiring, chatbots can screen applications, conduct background checks on thousands of people, collect candidate data and help the HR team to focus more on productive tasks. Moreover, chatbots can make the training and onboarding processes interactive and interesting by ensuring active participation. 

Learn More: HR Bots, Chatbots for Employees, 

3. IT Services Management (ITSM)

In the past few weeks, we have seen IT help desks in several companies struggling to manage the sudden unprecedented surge in incidents, issues and requests. Needless to say this is largely due to the sudden shift to remote working.

A huge volume of these requests are usually ‘basic’ or ‘simple’ questions that take a lot of time to answer. A chatbot is a powerful solution to address repetitive and low-value requests. They’re available 24*7 and can handle multiple requests simultaneously. If the chatbot is unable to handle a particular query, it can always hand over the conversation to a human agent.

This will allow your IT staff to focus on productive and proactive tasks.

Learn More: IT Helpdesk Bot 

How Different Industries Are Leveraging Chatbots Amid COVID-19

1. Government

Chatbots can enable governments to relay critical and accurate information to the public as and when they require it, providing much-needed clarity on some FAQs related to lockdowns, COVID-19 symptoms, testing locations, and the affected areas.

Interestingly, the British Government has launched a WhatsApp-powered chatbot, to prevent misinformation and spread reliable health information by sharing the latest news updates and health guidance, as per the chosen option, reducing the burden on the National Health Services (NHS). Additionally, WHO has also started to utilize chatbots in its app to prevent misinformation and spread reliable health information. The chatbot also conducts interactive quizzes in multiple languages.

2. Healthcare

In these testing times, with people facing a global recession, financial uncertainty, and increased health anxiety, their mental health is taking a beating. In such a scenario, AI-powered chatbots can not only help relay vital information but also help to cope with the increased stress 24×7. As the health industry continues to champion our fight against the pandemic, chatbots can also ease the burden on it by directly helping people through guided meditations, diet, and fitness programs. 

Chatbots also help in communicating with digitally disconnected front line workers and sending the latest information right to their mobile messaging apps. Another popular use case amid this pandemic is remote patient screening. 

Jefferson Health, a leading academic health system in the USA, has deployed a conversational chatbot to remotely screen patients and prioritize cases without the risk of exposure. The chatbot also digitized the patient intake process to streamline appointment scheduling for COVID-19 testing.

3. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)

With a drastic fall in physical store traffic, much of the demand for CPG has shifted online, with many executives publicly stating that they are zeroing in on digital commerce to target their customer base. With convenience and accessibility as the driving factors, they realize that implementing chatbots can be a vital step in this direction.

Not only can chatbots be used internally to manage restocks, track orders, and research promotions but also for online customer support to enhance the customer experience.

Britannia Industries, a leader in the CPG space, has launched a GPS-powered WhatsApp-based chatbot in light of the current social quarantine and rising demand. The chatbot is helping consumers locate grocery stores which have the organization’s products. In fact, the chatbot also sends notifications to the customers automatically whenever the store’s stock is refilled.

Learn More: CPG bots, Chatbots for CPG 

4. Retail

With physical stores being open only for a few hours and supply chains hampered, retailers are changing their policies related to shippings, products among many others. A chatbot can be used to inform customers about these changing policies and keep them updated.

Learn More: Retail Bots, Chatbots for Retail industry, 

5. Restaurants

With restaurants transitioning into takeouts only, their menus, service offerings, pricing, and timings have changed. Letting people know about these changes is important. Moreover, with them operating with limited staff, order taking and tracking can become a handful. Chatbots can be used to relay any changes and updates to customers, as well as collect orders from them.

Conclusion

Any doubts that businesses may have had about chatbots prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been put to rest. With the market dynamics changing in face of the social quarantine, chatbots are growing in popularity. Their use case is no longer limited to customer service, they are becoming an integral component of an organization’s operations, both internally and externally. A chatbot’s range of applications, scalability, and ease of implementation are some key drivers for its adoption amid this crisis.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our chatbot consultants for a personalized consultation.

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