Chatbots For Social Distancing

Why Chatbots May Be The Cure For Social Distancing Protocols

Chatbots for social distancing

COVID-19 hit the world like a Megaton bomb, leaving in its’ wake a path of pervasive uncertainty that reached virtually every corner of human life. While the full medical effects of the virus will be understood in time, what is certain is that the way many businesses interact with their customers has changed forever. Whether you are running a small dental practice or a large telecom company, now more than ever, you will need a new game plan of creativity and ingenuity. Using chatbots for social distancing is a great way to leverage automation as a central part of your playbook.

In this article, we will discuss why using chatbots for social distancing can be a useful tool to help protect both your customers and employees from the potential spread of viruses and bacteria. Here are the ways to enhance your social distancing protocols with chatbots:

  1. Use chatbots for customer triage
  2. Allow chatbots to make real-time decisions
  3. Integrate chatbots into your sales force
  4. Leverage chatbots at conferences

When Crisis Gives Birth To Innovation

The 2008 financial crisis was, without a doubt, one of the most significant economic events in American history, causing a seismic shift in how products and services are delivered today. However, after every major crisis, we have witnessed an explosion of innovation, with startups emerging to become some of the world’s most successful companies. Here are just a few of the names of companies that are household brands today, that didn’t exist before 2008:

  • Uber
  • Venmo
  • Airbnb
  • Slack
  • Square
  • Groupon

Seismic events in society can give innovative organizations and scrappy upstarts new opportunities to meet the evolving needs of consumers, while also taking their business to new levels. Customers are now looking for organizations to be innovative in how they prioritize health and personal safety, while also providing valuable products and services. Let’s take a look at some creative ways chatbots can both help with social distancing, as well as grow your bottom-line.

1) Use chatbots for customer triage

Digital marketing for beginners

With more customers looking to enhance their personal space while in public areas, companies will need to better manage in-store lines and customer service queues. One way to accomplish this will be to allow customers to receive the same level of triage outside of the store, as they normally would inside. Chatbots can be used to check-in customers while they wait in their vehicle or set appointment times, thus, reducing crowd sizes and creating a more personalized buying experience.

In the future, retail parking lots will likely become the areas in which many customers feel the safest, and companies will need to be creative in how to meet them within their comfort zone. By effectively using chatbots to extend services beyond the front door, organizations have to opportunity to use technology to increase efficiencies and collect more operational data points.

2) Allow chatbots to make real-time decisions

Automation processes flow chart diagram

Many organizations have become top-heavy, requiring multiple levels of authorizations and approvals for relatively trivial customer service-related matters. In fact, many of these decisions could be put in the hands of a chatbot, allowing artificial intelligence to make the call on whether or not to issue a refund, or provide an incentive to help close a deal.

For example, what if a customer was able to get a credit to their account without having to come into the store to speak to a Manager, or process a return without needing to drop off the product physically? Advanced A.I. chatbots are able to: integrate into back-end systems, locate a customer’s purchase receipt, determine if the product is still within a warranty window, ask for photos of the damage, and send packaging for the return. Once the return is received, the refund can be issued back to the original credit card.

These are only a few examples of the countless opportunities that exist to put decisions in the hands of automation and create another means of reducing the amount of physical interaction.

3) integrate chatbots into your sales force

Picture of a large digital help sign and people

Having a footprint in a physical store location is no longer necessary, which is why e-commerce giants like Amazon have dominated the online retail space for the last decade. As more businesses shift to an “online-first” model to grow during the social distancing reformation, there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage chatbots directly into their sales force.

Most businesses will not be able to compete in terms of price across every product line with the giants of online retail. However, by using A.I. chatbots to sell, upsell, and negotiate prices with customers, you can have a ground-game of automated sellers that can successfully compete to win the company new business on a per product or service basis. If you have excess inventory of a product, why not allow a chatbot to offer to add the product into a customer’s cart? If they say no, have the bot ask them how much they would be willing to pay.

Leveraging chatbots for sales doesn’t stop with the retail industry, in fact, all industries are primed to leverage a degree of automation to enable business growth, while making customers feel safe and valued. There are thousands of possibilities, and companies with a strong mix of creativity and smart-technology will separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

4) Leverage Chatbots At Conferences

Young man with VR glasses playing virtual reality with blue glow

In 2020, some of the biggest conferences such as SXSW and Facebook’s F8 were canceled due to COVID-19. As event producers look towards the future, the question remains on how to engage large groups while maintaining a safe degree of social distancing. One obvious answer will be to double down on technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and chatbots.

In late 2019, Facebook announced the launch of Horizon, a massive-multiplayer virtual game world that allowed users to build their own digital spaces and interact with friends. While the innovation was mostly targeted at the gaming community, the practical application of the technology would be perfectly suited to meet required social distancing measures. Companies could build virtual worlds to replicate the experience of a real conference and deploy chatbots or other A.I. that can socialize and answer the questions of attendees.

Is USing Chatbots For Social Distancing A Viable solution?

The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to fundamentally disrupting how businesses have engaged with their customers for the last twenty years. Meaningful change doesn’t happen overnight and always comes with a set of logistical challenges.

There will be bumps in the road as companies scramble to meet the safety and business needs of their customers during times of uncertainty. However, when leveraged strategically, chatbots could be one part of a business’s comprehensive social distancing game plan.


The good news is that you don’t need an agency to get started today implementing digital marketing techniques like the ones mentioned in this article. See our complete list of Third-Party digital marketing tools and services.

DISCLOSURE: New London Media International LLC participates in various affiliate advertising programs. We earn compensation by referring you to Third-Party products and services.

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