Why Covid-19 Accelerates the Need for Digital Transformation

Manuela
Marques

Product Marketing Director

4 min read

Chat apps like WhatsApp Business and AI will help companies decrease calls to the contact center, provide support to anxious customers, and enable crisis communication

We all know how COVID-19 has impacted our lives. We’re working from home. Children are not going to school. Countries are in lockdown. Unsurprisingly, companies’ digital initiatives have come to halt as they are dealing with the massive effects of travel restrictions, business closures, and emergency operations.

At the same time, companies in various sectors, especially travel and tourism, are seeing a tremendous spike in incoming calls to their contact centers. Customers are anxious and cannot get their issues solved due to a capacity problem. In most cases, it’s not even possible to wait for an available agent, and the call just drops automatically.

In a perfect world, businesses would be prepared to deal with the chaos created by a pandemic. The digital transformation projects that have been initiated in the past would be able to help. However, in our world most companies have yet to  focus on digital transformation as they should. These are the companies that are still wary of home office and massively rely on voice calls to process their customer inquiries.

The result? Flooded contact centers, anxious and unhappy customers - and loads of pressure.

For most companies focusing on digital projects, such as the WhatsApp Business solution in their customer communications, it might not seem like the right time. We get it. But for companies that have had their communications massively impacted, and are still struggling to get back on their feet, the use of WhatsApp with chatbots for simple automations could relieve some of the pressure from customer agents.

How WhatsApp helps you relieve contact center pressure

When dealing with many inquiries at the same time, using a chat app like WhatsApp can help provide quick answers to common questions via a chatbot. For example, an airline has cancelled a flight and gets a lot of calls to refund/reschedule flights. A lot of answers could be automated to start processing the inquiries without having a human agent involved. Chatbots can collect initial information (name, booking number, etc.) and then engage the agent at a more complex stage.

Also, even if you run out of capacity, a simple automated message like “we will come back to you in 48 hours” already helps to relieve anxiety by your customers.

    Chatbot

    The use of WhatsApp can be promoted in different ways:

    • Create a landing page to show customers how you are handling the Covid-19 situation and how to get in touch. In there, promote WhatsApp as a channel for your customers. (Then, you can promote this channel as a VIP channel, e.g. first class passengers, or for all customers.)
    • Divert incoming calls to WhatsApp via IVR deflection. Add WhatsApp option as part of your IVR tree, giving this option to your customers.
    • Once the customer gets to WhatsApp, you can collect questions via a simple chatbot. At this stage, it doesn’t have to be a sophisticated chatbot, especially if it is the first time you work with automated conversation. A basic chatbot helps you to organize customer inquiries and solve requests faster. It’s important to note, with WhatsApp you’ll always need a possibility to build an escalation point from chatbot to an agent.

    Reassure customers that your company won’t leave them hanging

    A lot of companies have taken proactive communications as way to let customers know the impact of Covid-19. Whether your operations are ongoing or are temporarily suspended, customers need to know. They also will appreciate any information to help them navigate open orders, cancellations, service reschedule, and more.

    A personal communication tool like WhatsApp provides this level of personalized interaction that is desperately needed right now. Get in touch, be transparent, let them know you’re there for them and guide them on how to get help.

    Get started immediately with minimum effort: Support Inbox

    While digital initiatives like WhatsApp would theoretically help companies in these difficult times, we’re all aware that in practice it’s not that easy. There’s integration and AI that have to be thought through while you try to get critical operations going. To make this easier, our Support Inbox is a great option to get started now.

    This platform requires zero development. You can get access right away to manage WhatsApp chats and add automation in there. It’s the easiest way to get started, with literary no friction, to help you handle the sea of incoming calls and relieve pressure to your agents.

    CX in a Crisis

    Unfortunately, the rise of Covid-19 is more serious than we thought. It brings uncertainty and anxiety for everyone. The need to get prepared and agile is more urgent than ever.

    While digital transformation may seem the last thing that crosses our minds, it can be a great answer to alleviate the stress on your company, workers, and customers.

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