By Ryan W. Buell, a professor of business administration in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School.

A traumatic discontinuity like the Covid-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to reconnect — with family, friends, co-workers and even ourselves — on new terms. For businesses, this moment provides a chance to reimagine the role employees play in customer service. Even before the pandemic, technology was increasingly making it possible for employers to automate customer interactions; therefore, many managers will instinctively look for ways to eliminate jobs. The last major global shock — the . . .

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