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What Technology Can Help Businesses Adjust During a Pandemic?
In recent months, the role of technology has grown across industries, helping businesses stay open in the wake of the pandemic. Automation is becoming more widespread for small businesses, as saving resources and manpower can lead to a welcome boost in profits. App integration and SMS automation can speed up response time, improving the quality of customer service.
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, more and more professionals are pursuing tech-related careers. Growing numbers of online computer science degree graduates end up becoming expert software developers and data analysts.
Gaining knowledge in trending specialties like artificial intelligence, software development, data science, cybersecurity, and user experience will provide businesses with that much-needed edge over their competitors.
1. Digital Payment Systems
Social distancing measures and quarantine guidelines have led to rising online sales, deliveries, and an increase in non-cash payments. Because of this, businesses should make the transition to an online retail space if they haven’t already. The pandemic has led to an acceleration in the adoption of digital payment systems, including mobile. Optimizing the checkout process and accepting a variety of payment types can expand the target market for your goods and services. The ability to order ahead or book services in advance is also a valuable asset for every business. Providing special promotions and detailed how-to guides can help customers adjust to these new systems.
2. Contactless Delivery Systems
More than ever, taking protective measures in the food and service industry is vital to prevent the spread of the virus. Contactless deliveries enable businesses to leave a delivery at a person’s doorstep and conduct interactions electronically when possible. This prevents the need for close human contact between the delivery person and the recipient. To streamline the process, investing in an app notification system with scheduled booking times as well as electronic receipts will benefit all parties involved. Proof of delivery and cross-platform integration are also useful features to have. Training employees to maximize the potential of this technology will help businesses maintain their high level of service.
3. AI-Powered Chatbots
The quality of customer service can make or break a business’s entire reputation. If a customer’s questions and concerns aren’t addressed in a reasonable amount of time, they can get frustrated and go off and find an alternative. In-demand services like government, healthcare, and financial institutions would benefit from adopting a chatbot service to respond to basic questions during this time. However, organizations need to have a clear understanding of what is involved in this process, including what can realistically be achieved in terms of cost savings and resolution time. For instance, overly detailed concerns would still need to be coursed through a customer service representative.
4. Virtual Mobile Health Services
As consumers grow more concerned about their health during this worrying time, healthcare companies need to find new and creative ways to serve the needs of their patients and customers. Telehealth has seen a surge in popularity, with virtual mobile health services becoming more widespread. Non-urgent consultations can take place online through video calls and online questionnaires, with the option to obtain in-person care if needed. It also enables medical providers to prescribe medicine, monitor those with chronic conditions, and provide digital coaching in addition to virtual visits. After-hours consultations and self-service options can also be provided.
5. Video Conferencing Tools
No matter the industry, video conferencing tools have a significant part to play in improving the quality of communication across teams. Platforms like Zoom and Skype have seen a boost in popularity, as the rise of remote work has lead to the need for virtual meetings. However, many of these tools have varying degrees of privacy features and security in place. As a result, making use of complex passwords, using waiting rooms, and moderating channels will help ensure that meetings are limited to the intended guests. In addition, using a neutral wall or a blurred background can help users protect the privacy of their home environment.
6. Cybersecurity Tools
The advent of virtual tools is accompanied by increasing numbers of data breaches that can threaten the entire structure of a business. Examining your system for vulnerabilities can prevent hackers or unauthorized personnel from gaining access to your private records. Some of the major trends that businesses should watch out for include the return of remote desktop protocol to take control of systems. This is a consequence of having weak identity and access management and lacking two-factor authentication. Increasing adoption of the cloud will also impact the development of security models, so consulting a professional will help ensure that your remote workforce remains secure during this time.
Learn more: 7 Cybersecurity Statistics for Remote Workers
While technology does have its place in supporting businesses during the events of a pandemic, it can also function as a double-edged sword if not used correctly. Ensuring that employees familiarize themselves with these tools and services will keep everything running as smoothly as possible as we make adjustments during this period. As organizations around the world acknowledge the impact of digital transformation in driving business growth, taking advantage of these solutions can ensure continuity in the face of the new normal.
Article by Danielle Sanders
Danielle Sanders is a Wyoming-based fin tech consultant and writer. She dedicates her time to helping businesses understand and adopt emerging technologies. When she’s not in a meeting, you’ll likely find her hiking on her favorite trail with her Boxer, Molly.