Chatbot during lockdown: three insider viewpoints

Artificial intelligence and lockdown: in particular chatbot and lockdown. We have been wondering what role these technologies have played in the past few months and will play in the future. We asked three experts who told us their point of view and forecasts.

“The past months have shown how artificial intelligence can help companies to be more resilient – observes Alessandro Vitale, CEO of Conversate – When in the space of just a few days, in addition to shops and companies, call centers were closed, those who had already started the process of chatbots,or were ready to introduce innovations, quickly managed to maintain a channel of communication with their customers and employees for the most urgent issues. As well as these, there were those who used them to manage the peaks resulting from the new behaviors and needs”.

According to Vittorio Banfi, CEO of Botsociety (one of the most used tools in the world to design chatbots), two sectors have distinguished themselves for having moved quickly in adopting these solutions to respond to the peaks of demand that had been generated, without completely affecting “humans”: namely, retail and health. In the first sector, chatbots have been used primarily in the management of curbside pickup orders for large chains, “and it is expected that the curbside pickup will remain, but by its very nature it requires communication between customer and store,” Banfi comments. In the Health sector, chatbots have worked well, both for self-diagnosis for Covid and for providing information (and in the future also making reservations) to do the swab. “A third aspect always in this sector – Banfi foresees – will be the automation of mental health processes to help people in isolation and lockdown”.

It is a prediction that has already been confirmed through the employee’s experience told to us by implemented successfully in a Multinational Company as Prysmian Group. “One year after the launch of the new Intranet and the Chatbot made by Softec with Conversate technology, ‘post lockdown’, it would be interesting, as well as innovative, to be able to attribute to the Chatbot also a sort of ‘emotional intelligence’ to provide – in pull mode – motivational tips and tips / mindfulness and daily pills for a better and more ‘human’ management of everyday life that we will have to build in this Phase 2. The ‘Back Together’ return project has been successfully launched on the Intranet and promoted within the Chatbot which confirms itself as an important engagement tool” as said Serena Pistillo, Prysmian’s Internal Communications & Employer Branding Director.

Prysmian Group is already looking ahead, but without forgetting the strategic role that chatbots in internal communication played during the lockdown to keep the entire community of employees in all functions and countries informed and engaged. “Thanks to the Intranet platform supported by the Chatbot, analyzing people’s research, we have created a section dedicated to the Covid-19 constantly updated with FAQ, breaking news and a series of customized content and updated information on remote working, prevention measures, available tools and the evolution of the Covid-19 emergency. – says Pistillo – Through the Chatbot we have also conveyed the CEO’s video messages and content in different languages to cover all our geographies and to be even more inclusive”.

In the coming months, according to Alessandro Vitale, chatbots will be a fundamental key not only for resilience but also for accessibility. The recent DESI survey showed that Italians are the last in Europe in terms of digital, with 2/3 of the population lacking in basic digital skills. “In order to make digital services accessible, it is therefore necessary to meet people, as the City of Milan did by launching its chatbot on Whatsapp, the messaging app that most Italians know how to use. On Whatsapp the first step will have to be taken by Facebook, opening this channel to more companies – explains Vitale – The other revolution will be to bring chatbots on the phone, the communication channel that everyone knows how to use. For a diffusion of voice chatbots there is still something missing on the part of technology but we are not far away. Being able to offer digital services to 100% of the population instead of 30% will be a victory for all of us, as well as bringing benefits to companies it will help us to create a more inclusive society.

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Author: Tudor Sava

13 Luglio 2020