How Chatbots can help manage COVID

Aug 7, 2020

Chatbots have been key to share information during COVID-19 and businesses have a lot to learn from the response.



Chatbots are a special breed of computer programs that have the ability to have conversations with humans. They come in many shapes and sizes and are mostly used on messaging apps like WeChat, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp.

Their greatest strength is their ability to provide personalized responses to large numbers of users. Unlike websites, they can provide information immediately, without the need to navigate menus and read articles to obtain it, providing an experience much more similar to natural human communications.

They are, from a communication perspective, the next best thing to direct human interaction and, unlike humans, can hold conversations with thousands of people at the same time, never needing rest, food, or breaks.

How chatbots are helping to fight COVID-19

A chatbot’s ability to scale-up and handle large communication volumes makes them perfect for disseminating information during a crisis. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first organizations to start using them was the World Health Organization that launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help fight misinformation.

Similar initiatives have been created by a wide range of organizations and governments around the world who recognize that chatbots are the only tool that can handle the volume of conversations required. Some of these chatbots are even programmed to access pre-vetted websites and databases in order to extract updated information and provide better answers.

From a communication perspective, this crisis has confirmed that human-based response systems cannot handle the large surges in demand that come in times of crisis and that chatbots can be a good alternative to traditional systems.

What businesses can learn

Businesses can learn a lot from this crisis and may also find that chatbots can be a key tool to reduce costs and re-start operations after the pandemic. In this blog, we have covered numerous examples of how this could be done.

In April 2019, for example, we discussed how businesses that have high-stakes customer service interactions can use bots to help their human agents answer questions, and in May we discussed how travel companies can use chatbots to help manage crises. As part of our “what-if” series we also discussed how chatbots can help manage events and imagined what would happen if the annual Woodstock festival used them.

If you’d like to find out how your business could prepare for future crises, improve customer retention and reduce costs, reach out to our team of experts by using the link below.