With the most punishing phase of Europe’s lockdown ostensibly behind us, people across the continent are settling into what is being referred to as ‘the new normal’.
Without question, some of life’s new features post-lockdown seem to be significant improvements upon the old order; non-urgent medical consultations are now widely taking place remotely, freeing up more time for medical professionals; companies are embracing a more flexible, distributed working model, freeing up more time for their employees to fulfil personal as well as professional obligations; and in most countries citizens have proven that they are willing to sacrifice personal liberty in favour of the greater good, with lockdown measures largely being observed without protest.
That being said, even the most charitable interpretation of the current situation would admit that the challenge ahead is great. After three months of near total economic paralysis, and after 10’s of millions of job losses around the globe, how do we begin to drag the world’s economy back to its feet?
As is often the case, the answer is simple but the execution is more complex; prioritisation. In an economic reality where resources are scarce and revenues have flatlined, the challenge of how best to determine and implement one’s business priorities asserts itself more strongly than ever… Let us imagine an electronics retailer which has suffered a 50% drop in revenue due to the forced closure of its stores across the country. Even thinking optimistically about the post-lockdown future, profits are unlikely to reach the same levels as Before Covid due to social distancing measures and consumer uncertainty.
This situation calls for an unprecedented shift in prioritisation to the online part of the business. Retailers have been slowly moving business online for well over a decade, but never has the need been more urgent.
Artificial Intelligence can assist with this transition to digital. With human talent exclusively allocated to business critical and revenue-generation tasks for the foreseeable future, we must turn to our automated colleagues for a much needed assist. Whilst it must be said that the AI’s are unlikely to be able to solve complex problems anytime soon, where they can be relied upon to provide enormous benefit is the automation of simple tasks such as the delivery of information, or the automation of processes.
Chatbots, Intelligent Search, Multi-channel messaging… The potential for prioritisation and improvement is huge, all the while maintaining an optimum user experience for your customers and allowing your human colleagues to focus their attention where it is needed most. Imagine the reduced pressure on your contact centre teams the day that a 90% successful WISMO system is put into place. Imagine how relieved your agents will be the day you tell them that they’ll never have to reset another password.
This is the level of self service and automation that is on the table right now, and it’s an opportunity to be seized with both (freshly sanitised) hands.