By Beerud Sheth, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer | Gupshup
I’m excited to share that Gupshup raised a $100m funding round, led by Tiger Global Management. Click here to read the press release.
I want to take this opportunity to share below a few personal thoughts about what this means for our vision, mission, customers, partners and employees. In other words, a little gupshup about Gupshup. (“gupshup” means chitchat in hindi).
This funding will greatly accelerate our R&D efforts. Gupshup has a long history of innovation, of always pushing the limits of messaging. While some of the attempts may not have been commercially successful, we certainly uncovered something new every time. Some of our innovations and related activities over the past few years include an sms-based social network (twitter like sms-gupshup), reply-all group-sms, teamchat messaging app, thought-leadership on bots, earliest bot platform, multiple bot builder tools, interbot platform, launch partner with Facebook Messenger and Google Assistant, earliest global partner of WhatsApp, launch partner with Amazon .bot TLD, partnerships with handset OEMs, Gupshup IP (GIP) messaging channel, on-device AI software for message classification and visualization, conversational messaging on feature phone and more. These products include the earliest instance of combining intelligent automation with messaging APIs – what we now call conversational messaging. Some of these products were way ahead of their time, some required ecosystem changes that never happened, but a few have been breakout successes that are propelling our growth today. This spirit of innovation guides us as we continue to bring market leading solutions to our customers.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps, used for both personal and business purposes. Organisations that use WhatsApp for business can leverage more benefits by integrating it with their CRM systems. Let’s start by understanding the basics of WhatsApp Business Accounts.
A WhatsApp Business App Account is most useful for small businesses that comprise 1 to 6 employees, receive a low volume of customer queries, and require only one or two agents.
WhatsApp Business API is ideal for medium and large businesses with more than 11 employees, which frequently receive a high volume of queries from prospects, leads or customers.
The WhatsApp Business App is free and easy to install, which is why many businesses prefer it over the WhatsApp Business API. However, it will not work if a company has more than 11 employees, or has multiple users, or wants to create custom message templates. This is where the WhatsApp Business API has a comparative advantage.
The launch of the WhatsApp Business API was a major turning point in the way the businesses interacted with their consumers. It opened up various avenues through which customers and businesses could converse, and enabled businesses to respond to their customers’ queries in real time. With this API, several businesses have seen a significant uptick in their sales and revenues.
One of the many different ways businesses can interact with prospective customers is via a WhatsApp chatbot.
A WhatsApp chatbot is an automated conversational software. It enables customers to get answers to common essential questions about a business through WhatsApp, by chatting with a virtual assistant. All they need to do is pose their question to the chatbot, as they would to any other real person via WhatsApp’s chat interface. The answers given by the WhatsApp chatbot are typically automated, and usually instantaneous. There are various types and levels of WhatsApp chatbots, and the extent to which they can answer customers’ questions varies with the level to which they have been “trained”.
The ubiquity of the Internet means that users’ demands regarding Internet-enabled services are also on the rise. In response to these demands, companies are coming up with newer technologies, not to deliver these services, but also to enhance user experiences. In every industry and sector, there is an increasing push towards providing better customer experiences (CX), combined with the realisation that this can be made possible by engaging users in a personalised manner. In fact, the personalisation of user experiences for an “audience of one” has become a major theme in the development and growth of Internet-based services.
Earlier engagement formats such as web and app were structured formats consisting of screens, tabs and buttons – they require humans to behave like computers; conversational interfaces are natural and intuitive – forcing computers to behave like humans. In that sense, conversational interfaces enable the most advanced form of customer engagement.
In the modern hyper-digital, hyper-connected world, automation simplifies tasks, streamlines processes, and generally makes life easier for individuals and organisations alike. AI-powered chatbots are becoming more and more prevalent in the customer experience (CX) and customer support lifecycle. From a business perspective, automation provides the following benefits:
More than 80 per cent of customer relationships in an organisation can be maintained with little or no human interaction using tools like WhatApp chatbot and AI-powered chatbots.
Over 50 per cent of the business operations in the U.S. have depicted the potential to be automated and provide extensive benefits
Automation can also increase and enhance productivity up to 1.5 per cent annually at the global level.
A conversational app is one that uses conversational messaging to enable a customer to converse with a business seamlessly, across channels that they are comfortable with. The conversational app workflow takes the customer along an omnichannel journey that may start with a website, leading to an SMS, carry on, on a WhatsApp channel where a Whatsapp chatbot could guide the user to the culmination on a mobile app. The workflow could be a commerce workflow or a marketing workflow or a customer support workflow.
Businesses need to engage with their customers in real-time. Customer engagement drives revenues, customer satisfaction and market share growth. Therefore, businesses are always looking for better and newer ways to engage customers. Earlier engagement formats such as web and app were structured formats consisting of screens, tabs and buttons – they require humans to behave like computers; conversational messaging is natural, intuitive and conversational – it forces computers to behave like humans. In that sense, conversational messaging is the most advanced format for engagement.
A key evolution of the brand messaging strategy is that a consumer should be able to communicate with the brand as they do with their friends. Messaging is the key to that. Messaging apps like WhatsApp are the most widely used smartphone apps. It has over 2 billion monthly users worldwide and approx. 459 million active users in India.
Given the rise in Whatsapp for Business accounts around the world, the platform is enabling the creation of conversational experiences delivered via Whatsapp Chatbots. Whatsapp Chatbots allow conversations between brands and consumers through a familiar experience and allow the creation of meaningful experiences. As compared to chatbots on websites, WhatsApp chatbots can aid you in reaching consumers with significantly more flexibility and frequency. This is primarily due to the way most users operate on WhatsApp – they are perpetually active and available to reply most of the time. Continue Reading
COVID-19 has accelerated the movement of restaurants going online. There are many aspects of taking a restaurant online – ordering, payment, delivery and marketing. One of the key aspects of an online restaurant experience is a digital food menu. A digital food menu is not just a digital copy of a physical menu that a customer can access. It is an interactive interface that makes it easy for a customer to scan, identify and choose dishes that they like and order and pay seamlessly, either in-person or online. Continue Reading