How is COVID-19 transforming the customer service industry

Since the world started going into lockdown early 2020, many businesses noticed sharp declines in their revenues, due to either no, or decreased number of walk-in customers. At the beginning, in February and March, it was not possible to make accurate predictions of how long the situation will last for, many businesses hoped that things will get back to normal soon, while others started changing their business processes to adapt with the changing lifestyle of their customers.

As the months past, it became clear that the situation is unlikely to end anytime soon, and is leading to a long-term, possibly permanent change in people's habits, people are opting for online shopping whenever possible, using contact-less payment method in physical stores. In the retails industry, the solution was simple, investing in e-commerce, however, for banks, insurance companies, governments and other sectors where customer service cannot be completed online, it was harder to adapt to the new normal, due to some of their services requiring physical presence, signatures and KYC (know your customer) verification process. While at the same time being urged to allow their employees to work from home for their own safety.

basma.ai enables businesses to setup virtual branches, that mimic the traditional physical branches, enabling the customers to sign during the video call, fill forms, and exchange documents with the agent. Enabling businesses to continue serving their customers the same way they used to, without changing their business process.

The transformation taking place into those sectors is likely to last even after the pandemic is over, as businesses are finding the new methods much more cost effective, employees appear to prefer the flexibility of working from home, while customers get a much better experience when they cant get all their work done from anywhere, by visiting a virtual branch rather than having to make a physical trip to a branch location.

To compare, here is a before and after comparison of how the customers' journeys look like before and after.

Customer journey, before creating a virtual branch using basma.ai
start → 20 minute trip to a branch location → 10 minutes waiting in queue → 10 minutes being served → 20 minutes back from the branch location → end

The customer in the example above wasted:

  • 40 minutes commuting
  • 10 minutes in queue

After the business launched its virtual branch, the new journey became:

Customer journey, after creating a virtual branch using basma.ai
start → 2 minutes Googling the business, clicking on the virtual branch → 10 minutes in queue → end

We notice a 40 minutes time-saving for the customer, and during the 10 minutes spent in queue, the customer could have switched to another tab or app and continued any other work.

Beside the time-saving, virtual branches are better for the environment, since customers will not be required to commute to the branch, thus, reducing the pollution generated by the different commuting methods.

The time savings, and flexibility virtual branches offer to the customers, is likely to result in it becoming the new normal, due to the benefits it brings to both the businesses and customers, having a virtual branch is providing companies with an  advantage over their competitors, and is likely to have a very positive impact on the customer satisfaction rate and overall customer experience, thus, even after the pandemic is over, both parties, businesses and customers are expected to prefer virtual branches over physical ones. The availability of virtual branches may as well have an impact on the customers decision making.

At basma.ai, we have been working with government agencies, banks, and businesses in other sectors to help them launch their virtual branches, we launched our SaaS platform, enabling businesses to setup their virtual branch in record time, with very minimal effort and in a cost efficient way, to learn more visit our website basma.ai