Coronavirus business impact has been swift, affecting all aspects of business operations. The downstream effects of this viral outbreak is sweeping across the globe. In most industries, budgets are tightening, and ways of working are changing fast. Every day thousands of businesses are banning travel and directing employees to work remotely. The right technology solutions can help businesses stay connected during uncertain times.
Outside of travel and restaurants, other verticals hit particularly hard by Coronavirus (COVID-19) include General Corporate, Healthcare, and Government. These verticals are experiencing a tsunami of requests. An unprecedented number of calls and emails are inundating companies.
How business is adapting to limits on physical presence
Businesses are experiencing a significant increase in calls and emails from customers, patients, and citizens. Many businesses aren’t able to respond to incoming requests in a timely fashion. In addition, employees are being directed to work from home.
An intelligent mix of live chat and automation, like the SnapEngage COVID-19 Symptom Checker bot, is helping over-burdened staff address customer and employee concerns, thereby stemming Coronavirus business impact.
Moneypenny, a leading answering service in the UK and US serving over 50,000 businesses, has already seen the impact of Coronavirus on their clients. According to Joanna Swash, its Chief Executive Officer, clients are preparing to close offices and work remotely, and they are turning to Moneypenny for help with remote operations and agents.
“Coronavirus is forcing us to change the way we work at an unprecedented rate. With businesses making preparations to operate remotely, chat offers a flexible, real-time method for high volume communication. In fact, it’s ideal for homeworking because it’s cloud based, multiple team members can manage chats and the chat box can be hidden whenever they’re not available.” ~ Joanna Swash, CEO at Moneypenny
In recent months Moneypenny has experienced a 33% increase in chat volume and Coronavirus is now accelerating this trend. More and more businesses are also approaching Moneypenny for help with business continuity preparations – keeping customers away from telephone switchboards and instead triaging their questions quickly online. Swash believes this trend will continue, even after Coronavirus (COVID-19) stabilizes.
More government agencies are using live chat
Local and national government agencies are rapidly going through contingency planning exercises in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Their strategies are leading to changes in the way they operate. Government agencies are using live chat to handle increased inquiries from the public. Rather than coming into crowded government offices, these agencies are encouraging citizens to ask tax, utility, health, and other questions directly over chat.
“I have today asked our IT department to raise an order for additional live chat technology to allow us to expand our chat offering and flex some of our working arrangements.” ~ UK Public Sector Organization
Healthcare is leaning on tech to slow Coronavirus impact
There is no doubt that the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on healthcare is unprecedented. Hospitals and healthcare clinics are already challenged. The time factor with Coronavirus, especially for vulnerable patients, goes from general concern to life-threatening very quickly. Many healthcare providers are using live chat and bots to assist with rapid response triage, while building patient trust at the same time.
Triage: understand a patient’s situation before making an appointment
Automation and live chat can help providers quickly determine which patients need help right away, and which can wait. With SnapEngage, providers can create automated Pre-Chat and Proactive Chat dialogues that anticipate clients’ needs in this trying time and stretch the customer service ability of business staff.
Deaconess, a leading health system in the Evansville, Indiana, uses the SnapEngage proactive and Chatbot API features to offer a Coronavirus Symptom Checker. The chatbot offers a sequence of questions and answers to help patients understand their options.
“The ability to quickly identify patients in need of urgent medical care is more important than ever. The SnapEngage Guide Bot and other automation features can save healthcare staff significant time by answering common questions up-front.” ~ Sofia Rossato, CEO at SnapEngage
Trust: protect patients with HIPAA compliant chat
There are many live chat solutions on the market. Most are not HIPAA compliant. In a time of crisis, healthcare providers must answer questions quickly. It is frustrating for a patient with symptoms to be told that they cannot share personal information over chat.
SnapEngage was the world’s first HIPAA compliant chat platform. Patients can share personal information and rest assured that their data will be protected. Patients and staff can feel comfortable knowing that the communication channel is safe. Healthcare providers are increasing their use of HIPAA compliant chat to improve the patient journey, patient loyalty, and time to resolution.
“In the current climate, people need reassurance and the quickest way to give them that is by being available – from anywhere, at any time. Live chat is a product of our ‘always on’ world and now it’s facilitating continuous communication to keep people safe and informed. I’d urge any business to assess their current provision and act now.” ~ Joanna Swash, CEO at Moneypenny
How to scale communication during a pandemic
Businesses that can address customers’ needs the quickest in times of uncertainty will secure brand loyalty for years to come. Overloaded customer service staff manning the phones and emails simply won’t be able to scale. Many companies will experience a reduction in staff due to school closures, lack of home support, quarantines, and, unfortunately, illness.
Try these strategies for reducing the Coronavirus business impact. That means lowering time-to-resolution and scaling your support operations quickly.
- Automate important messages with Proactive Chat
- Guide visitors to the right location on your website quickly using Guide Bot
- Outsource live chat agents with trusted partners like Moneypenny
Bonus: a quick way to stretch communications systems
How can you address your potential staff shortages? Here’s a quick change you can make today: include an option to chat in all of your emails for quicker support.