Solutions to the unprecedented challenges your business is experiencing as you quickly pivot to new ways of working and serving customers because of COVID-19 may lie in the technologies you’ve already implemented or planned.
For example, a chatbot on your company website or intranet that you designed to relieve call volumes may end up serving an enhanced purpose in these new, uncharted waters that frees up resources to address more crucial business needs.
Now is the time to:
• Evaluate your technology capabilities and initiatives and how they can help you with your current needs;
• Assess any opportunities and potential gaps; and
• Ensure that you have a clear roadmap for where you need to be short-term and long-term.
Because the need isn’t just about right now — it’s about how you’ll come through the other side of the current situation and be leaner, stronger, and positioned to thrive.
This is absolutely possible with the right planning and the right partners.
How we’re doing this right now
A prime example of this is a regional bank we partnered with at g2o. We helped them design and develop a chatbot for their employees that initially was planned to serve a relatively simple function to update their passwords. The chatbot was integrated with internal messaging systems using Jabber.
But we saw the potential for additional uses for the chatbot and collaborated on even more functionality and improved user experience, such as adding a voice channel so that users could call a phone number and be routed to the chatbot, reducing call volumes.
The reduction in call volumes for lost passwords became crucial when the spread of coronavirus sent the bank’s employees home to work remotely. Employees are working in multiple systems, with multiple logins.
Suddenly, thousands of people who were used to sitting at their desks in corporate offices or at bank branches —with IT just steps away — were in their home offices or at desks in their bedrooms feeling frustrated as they had to work in a new and unfamiliar way. They started flooding the system with calls to get technology help when the bank’s IT staff needed to stay focused on keeping key systems up and running.
An added wrinkle in this scenario is that the bank’s call centers are in India and other locations, places already affected by COVID-19 and currently understaffed to handle a spike in calls. Big challenges with offshore staffing is another current hurdle presented by the pandemic.
But by adding the voice channel to route these users to the chatbot, we were able to reduce those call volumes by 50% in the first few weeks.
And reducing call volumes means that the bank’s IT resources can be spent maintaining important services rather than on the routine task of password resets.
Now we’re designing for a chatbot to help with call volumes from customers who need help with options such as delaying bill payments because of COVID-19 financial hardships or applying for accounts. Similar to the internal system described, this would direct calls to a chatbot that can capture customers’ information until an agent can return their call.
Plan for Today, Succeed for Tomorrow
But the bank’s example isn’t just about meeting today’s need. By putting these structures in place now, the bank will benefit in the long term.
According to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions will be managed by chatbots by 2021 and it is estimated that chatbots can cut the operating costs associated with customer service requests by up to 30%.
There will always be a need for tech support for employees, and now the bank has a way to effectively route tech support to the chatbot and always use its resources efficiently, which means when the pandemic is over, the bank will be stronger.
Providing solutions to help our customers get from goals to outcomes is what we do every day. The current situation just means we’ve gotten more creative, more inspired, and more diligent in making sure we all come through this more resilient than we started.