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Conversational AI solutions can tackle the ‘Personalization at Scale’ challenge

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Delivering personalized omnichannel conversational experiences to millions of consumers in real-time is not easy. Gupshup excels at helping businesses tackle this very challenge, using AI and advanced automation. The company closely collaborates with brands to design a holistic, omnichannel conversational AI strategy to future-proof conversational user experiences for brands. Gaurav Kachhawa, Chief Product Officer, Gupshup in an Exclusive Interview shares how its top customers such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Reliance Jio, Infosys, Flipkart, Ola, Oyo, Zomato and Paytm have scaled their business better and faster with Gupshup

How has the pandemic disrupted consumer preferences? How can Conversational AI help businesses keep pace?

In the aftermath of the pandemic, consumers expect brands to demonstrate more empathy, enhance personalization and improve transparency. They are demanding smooth and personalized engagement at every stage of their brand connect. However, for brands, delivering customized experiences to millions of consumers is a huge challenge. This is where conversational AI solutions can help businesses tackle this challenge – of personalization at scale.

How is Gupshup helping brands rewrite their customer experience playbook?

Gupshup is building the most advanced conversational engagement platform for businesses. We are enabling enterprises to align faster and better to new (and continuously evolving) consumer dynamics, by aiding richer and more impactful brand-consumer conversations. Businesses rely on our omnichannel conversational engagement platform to reach and engage with their consumers anytime, anywhere. Using Gupshup’s AI-enabled conversational marketing, commerce and support solutions, these enterprises are improving the degree of personalization and interactivity in their consumer engagement, sales and support functions – dialing up customer delight, as a result.

How is the market for Conversational AI/AI chatbots growing in India? What are some of the trends in this space?

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen a huge rise in the adoption of Conversational AI by enterprises. Chatbots are the simplest form of conversational AI at play. Businesses typically use a conversational AI platform like Gupshup to develop chatbots that can help connect and engage with consumers in real-time on frequently used messaging, video and voice channels. Consumers can ask questions, purchase products/services, or access service/support using popular channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. The number of bots we are building for our enterprise customers has risen by 4x. Pre-pandemic, enterprises were using chatbots primarily for after-sales support/service. But now, there has been a significant uptick in chatbots being built for the pre-purchase (marketing) and purchase (commerce) phases as well.

According to industry experts and analysts, the Conversational AI market will grow to USD 18.4 billion by 2026, and USD 29.9 billion by the end of 2028. With our proven product-led growth strategy, we want to become the conversational engagement platform of choice for businesses worldwide.

Which segments are the fast movers in adopting Conversational AI, and why?

BFSI and Retail/e-commerce are two sectors where we are seeing rapid adoption of Conversational AI solutions. Healthcare and EdTech are two other sectors where we see rising adoption. In general, businesses in these sectors have a greater appetite for new technology adoption and are willing to experiment with innovative solutions – hence the faster adoption.

That said, businesses across sectors are looking to identify newer ways to boost consumer engagement and brand loyalty. So we see many businesses adopting a bunch of technologies to make their consumer communication and engagement more effective – and enhance customer experience. For example, given the amount of time consumers spend on their mobile phones – using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, SMS etc, businesses across sectors are reaching out their consumers on these very channels, using AI-powered conversational engagement solutions.

Why do businesses need a holistic Conversational AI strategy to improve customer experience?

Consumers are finding brand experiences more fragmented, more inconsistent than ever. While conversational AI solutions can help businesses streamline the omnichannel customer experience, doing this at scale is a huge challenge. Delivering personalized omnichannel conversational experiences to millions of consumers in real-time is not easy. Gupshup excels at helping businesses tackle this very challenge, using AI and advanced automation. We closely collaborate with brands to design a holistic, omnichannel conversational AI strategy to future-proof conversational user experiences for brands. These experiences are delivered via voice, video and text – or a combination of these – on 30+ channels using our single API. So brands can just build once and deploy anywhere with bare minimum retooling.

How are voice communication solutions reshaping business dynamics across industries?

Brands are turning to voice communication solutions to make their consumer communication as seamless, human-like and channel-agnostic as possible. Using AI-enabled voice communication solutions, many of our enterprise customers are automating high volume voice communication – like call centers for example – with our smart communication technology. As a result, these enterprises are able to better streamline consumer interactions via an integrated, multi-channel business communication platform.

Take click-to-call, for example, a real-time-based calling solution, which can be configured on a website or a mobile app. Using this, consumers can reach a business and get connected instantly. Consumers can access sales and support just by submitting their contact number, and get a call back within seconds.

How will the Gupshup + Knowlarity combination help enterprises?

Gupshup has been the market leader in conversational messaging for years. To expand our voice capabilities, we acquired Knowlarity, the market leader in AI-powered voice assistants, speech analytics, cloud telephony and contact center automation solutions. We now have the industry’s broadest and deepest voice + messaging capabilities. For our enterprise customers, we are enabling seamless conversational experiences across both messaging and voice channels. This allows brands to drive more advanced conversational experiences for their consumers consistently. So enterprises are seeing improved lead generation, far more accurate speech analytics and sentiment analysis, quicker issue resolution as well as superior customer satisfaction.

Let me explain our integrated capabilities with a real-life scenario. Let’s say you have a query about a transaction on an e-commerce website, and you need immediate redressal. You dial the brand’s customer care, and are put on hold for many minutes, because all customer care representatives are busy attending to other customers. Imagine if the e-commerce brand connected you with a smart voicebot, which could ask you to instantly select the next available slot for a 1:1 conversation with a human agent, and schedule a call back. Or, what if you could get an SMS or a WhatsApp message to instantly record a voice message describing your issue, and a live agent helps resolve the same over chat itself in just a few minutes. This seamless transition between voice and messaging interfaces has the potential to upend existing customer service models.

Many of our enterprise customers, including a leading food delivery aggregator, have already started using our combined offerings of voice + messaging solutions. They have reduced customer acquisition and support costs, while increasing profitability.

Can you share a couple of customer examples on the ROI from Conversational AI/AI chatbots?

NoBroker is a good example. Previously, as part of the property listing process, customers were facing problems uploading photos on the NoBroker site and mobile app. As a result, the NoBroker team had to manually reach out to customers, collect the photos and upload them from their end – a tedious, resource-intensive and inefficient process that resulted in cost overheads. We collaborated with NoBroker to develop a WhatsApp chatbot, which allowed property owners to interact and upload photos directly via WhatsApp. The overall time taken to upload photos for the property listing came down from 3 days, to just 6 minutes. As a result, NoBroker saw 20x annualized ROI and 2.8x increase in property let-outs/sales.

Another example is Doubtnut, a subscription-based EdTech platform that helps students clarify doubts related to STEM subjects. Earlier, students needed to click pictures of questions and upload them to Doubtnut’s website or mobile app. However, the EdTech company soon realized that students had limited access to high-speed mobile internet connectivity in rural India, which impacted the service. To address this challenge, we developed a smart WhatsApp chatbot. Today, students just send questions via WhatsApp and get back links to videos with answers, in a language of their choice, in under 10 seconds. Using the chatbot, Doubtnut saw a 95% user satisfaction rate, and the number of daily users shot up by 224%. In effect, Doubtnut’s tutor-student engagement rate increased by 260%.

Can you tell us about the operations and scale of Gupshup – globally as well as India?

We work with over 45000 businesses, in 40+ countries and have around 1300 employees – most of whom are based in India. Our platform powers over 9 billion messages every month. Our customer base includes some of the world’s biggest and most successful companies: including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Cisco, Citibank, Kellogs, Unilever and Wrigley.

We work with almost all leading enterprises across industry sectors in India. Our top customers include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Reliance Jio, Infosys, Flipkart, Ola, Oyo, Zomato and Paytm. 80 of India’s 100+ unicorns have scaled their business better and faster with Gupshup. While we continue our growth and consolidate our market leadership in India, we are aggressively expanding in other emerging markets like the Middle East and Africa, South East Asia and Latin America.

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