Customer Engagement- COVID-19 as a catalyst for change



Working as a data scientist in a busy customer engagement centre, if this pandemic has taught me one lesson it is about the freedom which we have always taken for granted. Why did we need a global pandemic to make us appreciate what we already have? In less than one business quarter of working from home we have become proficient at video calling and social media, enabling us to develop more meaningful communications and relationships.  It doesn’t really matter that we were forced into doing it – the real question is whether we will ever go back?

As a technology enthusiast (full-time) and data officer (day-job!) I have been observing this situation unfold and considering how it can ultimately have a positive impact on the sales industry. Let’s consider how consumer product businesses have suffered a drastic demand drop around the world, driven by their dependence on the correlation between supply chain management and technology manufacturing. One solution which seemed like science fiction in the past is the use of delivery drones and yet here in Ireland the health authorities have used Bobby Healy’s Manna Drone company to deliver medicines to vulnerable people. Will drones now enter the supply chains for everyday consumer products? Another medical example, this time from India, saw a group of scientists coming together to build an AI model which helps to detect COVID19 with 99.69% accuracy without any human to human involvement. What can we learn from this cross-discipline example?

Naturally I have been looking through a technology lens. Demand for both products and services depends on external factors and customer perceptions. While I firmly believe that Sales will always be about human interaction, be it D2D, Contact Centre or Social Selling, the future opportunity for Sales is to introduce better-executed technology strategies to support these vital people-based interactions. At SalesSense we are accelerating development of these technologies to be better placed for these kinds of scenarios in future. After this pandemic, AI chatbots will be high in demand because they can help to diversify the sales channels and protect business. When it comes to Field Sales, we are changing how we capture customer preferences with new portals for digital signature, which will maintain physical distance. Our Customer Engagement Centre agents will be more flexible in their working styles, virtually able to provide the full centre experience though their own mobile phones. Our partners for Cybersecurity, VPN and Mobile-working have made great progress ensuring our new technology platforms remain as secure as the “old normal”.

I see my responsibility as enabling people and technology to combine to deliver the best results for our customer campaigns. It’s part of My SalesSense Way to be ready to accelerate a return to profitable business for my customers as we evolve through our new normal, by utilizing the right technology at the right time.