When you log in to a jewellery or property website, a chat box pops up to the right corner, with a cheery, ‘Hello, what are you looking for?’. Don’t settle down for a lengthy, soulful conversation, the message is not from a person but from a bot — one of the many chatbots that seem to be everywhere. The man behind them, Beerud Sheth, CEO and co-founder of Gupshup, expects India to be a chatbot-heavy country as soon as SMS messaging and WhatsApp opens up to the potential of chatbots. Incidentally, WhatsApp allowed Gupshup, the messaging and chatbot integration platform, to integrate its APIs with WhatsApp Business to gain enterprise customers this August.
“Enterprises like to go where customers are. Banks moved from branches to ATMs, and now to mobile phones. Similarly, when consumers moved to WhatsApp from other messaging platforms, enterprises have to follow. We offer one API to reach out to any channel — be it SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter or WhatsApp. Our single solution can be used by messaging services across the world, be it Wechat or WhatsApp,” says Ravi Sundararajan, chief operating officer, Gupshup.
WhatsApp has selected five players from across the globe including Gupshup, which sends around 4.5 billion messages every month for its enterprise clients. Sundararajan feels that WhatsApp will continue to be choosy about who they work with. “WhatsApp, too, does not want its users to wake up and have 500 messages in the morning. That will spoil the user experience. They will hence tread carefully, and go only with certain brands. It will be a huge opportunity for us because we offer messaging through multiple channels,” he says.
Chatbots, which work like virtual assistants on instant messaging platforms, are already present in India through customer service agents and companies. Gradually, consumers are getting used to chatting with bots, aski