The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a grinding halt to global industry and businesses as we collectively undergo quarantine and self-isolation. The effects on the global financial markets are already starting to show, with the UN’s trade and development agency estimating global losses due to Coronavirus reaching up to at least $1 trillion. At this stage, there is no clear end in sight, but there is no doubt it will end eventually. In light of this, it is important to plan for the future, post-COVID-19 when the viral dust settles.
In order to deal with the immediate influx of people requiring products and services they have been unable to acquire due to the pandemic, businesses should already begin searching for ways in which smart digital technology can help deal with the backlog. Post-COVID-19 will be an unprecedented time in history, and businesses will need to be quick on their feet if they hope to get back on track and recoup financial losses. The soil is fertile for businesses to adopt digital transformation and utilise automation capabilities to ease the transition, especially in terms of recovering from the vast job losses caused by the virus.
Chatbots and Digital Assistants
Businesses big and small in the service industry should be the first to take advantage of AI’s capabilities in general, and chatbots specifically. This includes dentists, doctors and various health practitioners, hairdressers, and any businesses which operate on an appointment basis. These businesses will feel the weight of an influx of people hoping to schedule appointments at the earliest convenience, which will, of course, mean a lot of work will come in virtually overnight. So how could solutions like chatbots and virtual assistants help especially during peak moments?
Now: Chatbots can assist now with helping to answer people’s frequently asked questions pertaining to a business’s services and general administrative queries. This will alleviate staff workload and allow them to focus on handling important situations. People will be directed to a chatbot who will answer all pertinent queries regarding a business’s services, and if the chatbot is unable to answer the questions correctly, then they will be referred to a human.
Post-COVID-19: Chatbot technology allows businesses to set up a virtual booking system, where people engage directly with the chatbot to schedule, reschedule and confirm appointments. It is a simple and easy way to stay on top of the appointment-booking influx that will hit when the world gets a firm grip on the pandemic. Chatbots are able to engage with customers, answer any queries, and book appointments — freeing up more time for administrative staff to focus on more complex issues.
AI & Automation
When the pandemic is finally neutralised and life slowly begins to return to a new normal, you can be certain that many people all over the world are going to want to get out of the house and travel. However, people will naturally take more time to warm up to the idea of getting into an aeroplane anytime soon (stigmas last longer than what caused them in the first place). There may still be fears surrounding contracting the virus while in a foreign country and then being prohibited from returning home. So we believe people will return to local travelling and exploration of places which can be visited by way of car transport. This means there will be an influx of people looking to stay locally in rented homes, resorts and hotels. The local hospitality industry will likely boom.
What will this look like? Well, an influx of bookings and appointments for a start. So the hospitality industry will need to quickly transform into the digital realm to handle bookings in its droves. AI automation will be crucial in the hospitality industry’s response to the increased demand with a reduced workforce. The only way to handle this is through automation.
Another way AI can assist in this regard is by completely automating billing for businesses. When billing processes are automated it frees up time for staff to focus on other things rather than drafting billing requests for each client and following up with receipts. It’s a lengthy process which can be made more efficient and time-sensitive thanks to AI’s automation capabilities.
Self-sufficient and automated online booking and billing systems will hold businesses in good stead in staying on top of the impending influx of business coming when the pandemic is over.
Having said all this, it is important to remember that many people will have limited funds due to the financial effects of COVID-19. So consider creating discounted rates and specials for locals, to ensure that people are able to afford travel locally.
The way in which the world will be forever changed by this pandemic is uncertain and will only become evident in the coming months. But one thing is certain — digital has proven to be versatile and adaptable to the changes of market volatility. E-commerce is now leading global trade during this time of lockdown, and the world’s appetite for it and adoption is going to level-up in unprecedented ways.
Now and in the post-pandemic future, having a website is simply not enough anymore. Being able to sell online and engage with customers across all channels in a seamless way will become the new norm in the digital landscape of tomorrow, and so all businesses need to get on board or face the freeze of irrelevance.
Businesses need to start addressing the needs and requirements of e-commerce adoption and scaling to prepare for our post-pandemic future where online trade will grow exponentially. Business leaders need to be able to answer the following questions:
- How do you create the perfect customer experience?
- How will digital trends and technologies change our customer expectations in the future?
- How should our business models change to suit these new expectations?
- How do you implement digital transformation into your business so that you guarantee continued success?
Looking to digitally transform your business?
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to change the way in which the world operates on a business level. In these unprecedented times, it is more necessary than ever for businesses to anticipate and adapt to these changes, and respond by converting administrative aspects into the online realm.
Don’t wait to be the last to know — find out how your business can transform digitally to meet the global business needs of the post-pandemic future. Get in touch with us today to be the first to digitally pivot your business.