Gulbrandsen’s factory used to follow a manual appointment scheduling method for its factory visitors. However, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it called for streamlining appointments and limiting entry permits. Before the pandemic, the security personnel didn’t have the authority to deny access, and the process of getting permission from the authorized person took more than a week due to delays in getting approval, thereby increasing the turn-around time. The appointments were scheduled via call or by booking the same at the security desk.
Due to the rising cases of the novel coronavirus in the state, Gulbrandsen’s top goal was to ensure workers’ and staff’s safety inside the factory, where repeated outbreaks are a persistent threat. Apart from enabling other COVID-19 solutions like physical distancing and deploying health regulations and guidelines inside the factory, they needed to minimize the risk of covid spreading through people visiting the factory. It was essential to ensure that whoever’s visiting doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms and is entering after an appointment with the authorized person.
The company needed a long-term solution that aligned with what we now call a ‘new normal.’ It wanted to integrate a tech system that smoothly scheduled the appointments in advance so that the security team has the data and authority to allow visitors into the factory every day.
With the intent to counter this issue using an effective digitized appointment system, Gulbrandsen approached WotNot to provide a solution. WotNot proposed a WhatsApp bot that interacts with the visitors before they make the visit. Considering the nature of the problem, our team developed a specific COVID-19 chatbot that asked the user for a series of questions revolving around COVID-19 symptoms so that the approval authority could take a better decision. The comfort of chatting on WhatsApp also has its own set of benefits. WhatsApp is massively used amongst the masses in India, with more than 340 million active users. A prospective visitor would be more comfortable answering these questions on an instant messaging platform that he/she regularly uses than on a call.
Since the bot is ruling out all the possibilities of a prospect having COVID-19, it decreases the chances of spreading the virus on the factory premises. The bot’s goal was to automate appointments while ensuring the visitors were safe to enter.
Asking the right questions
WotNot made a multilingual bot with both Hindi and English as language options. The rest of the conversational flow included asking the user:
From where they will be visiting
Their company name
Their purpose of visit
Name of the employee they’re willing to meet
The conversation would then shift to asking COVID-19 related questions. It includes all the prime questions that helped the company understand if there was even a minor risk from the person visiting.
The bot would first ask if they are experiencing any cold, cough, fever, difficulty breathing, sore throat, sneezing, followed by the following questions.
If their society has been in a contaminated zone currently
If they have travelled to any covid-19 affected area in the past 14 days
If they came into contact with any person affected with Covid-19 in the past 14 days
If they came in contact with anyone who has travelled to a covid-19 affected area
If they came in contact with anyone who has come in contact with a person infected with covid
The bot simplified the process of assessing risk from COVID-affected or even prospective COVID patients in the factory through self-evaluation. Could the same process be done via a call? Yes. Would that have consumed more time and resources? Also yes. Gulbrandsen was able to streamline all its appointments automatically compared to its previous process. One of the prime reasons why bots are a success is because of their chat-based input system. Ultimately, it all comes down to getting accurate data and monitoring what people are saying to practice a safe entry system.
Google Sheets Integration
The user is allowed entry only if they fulfill the parameters set by the company. If they say yes to any one of these questions, their access is restricted. The data of the conversation is stored in Google sheets which WotNot integrated with the WhatsApp bot. Getting approval for entry previously was a hierarchical process. WotNot suggested integration with Google sheet because, with any new appointment request received via the bot, it could be added in real-time, facilitating a smoother and quicker collaboration.
The company professional can get quick data of the people allowed to enter. The sheet is shared with the security personnel at the gate. The visitors entering the factory don’t have to wait at the gate for the security to confirm from the employees. The security now has the autonomy to restrict entry to premises based on the data. WotNot also made the Google Sheet integration such that only the approved appointments are included in the sheet. Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms or touchpoints was not included in the sheet, eliminating the addition of rejected requests.
Ever since Gulbrandsen deployed the WhatsApp bot amongst its stakeholders, it has saved considerable time in scheduling appointments manually. Their decision to choose WhatsApp to book appointments also worked wonders for them since it was a platform that all their prospective visitors were using. Within just three months, the WhatsApp bot solution brought about commendable results.
400+ Returning Users
220+ Appointments Scheduled
2500+ Minutes saved
Gulbrandsen automated their appointment scheduling because the times called for it, but they opened new avenues of digital transformation with this solution. Exhilarated with the outcome of the WhatsApp bot, Gulbrandsen decided to continue with the bot for scheduling appointments even after things return to normalcy and also plans to incorporate it into some other key areas of its business.