Airtel, Vi Partnerships on the Back of Impressive A2P Performance: Sandesh Sarang

Mr Sandesh Sarang, Enterprise Director, Infobip - India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal, shared with TelecomTalk about the partnership that the company has formed with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for offering A2P services.

Highlights

  • Infobip entered the Indian marketplace in 2014
  • In 2020, Infobip acquired the top position in A2P vendor performance for the fourth year running
  • Infobip registered a 37% year-on-year growth since January 2020

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The need for the application to person (A2P) texting has surged in the last two years. More and more people connected to the 4G networks in India want their internet and smart applications experience to be automated as much as possible. Mr Sandesh Sarang, Enterprise Director, Infobip - India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal, shared with TelecomTalk about the partnership that the company has formed with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for offering A2P services. Here’s all that you should know.

Q1. What are your current business services?

All brands face challenges when it comes to reaching out to their customers and holding contextualised conversations. On top of that, the digital revolution – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – has diversified the playing field faster than anyone could have imagined. Modern-day customers have access to a massive and growing selection of channels, which means that traditional strategies are no longer adequate. This is where Infobip comes into play. We are a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey.

Our services are employed by over 10,000 unique clients, and we processed 107 billion messages last year working with businesses in traditional sectors, such as retail and banking, as well as new-age domains, including on-demand services and e-commerce. Our strong enterprise client base includes names such as UNICEF, Milaap, Muthoot FinCorp, Wurth, Angel Broking, Emaar, Oracle, Goodera, and Costco. Our omnichannel communication approach covers three major areas: channels, customer engagement, and platforms & connectivity.

The primary objective is to lay the foundation for the perfect customer experience. Besides conventional channels such as voice, SMS and email, our omnichannel solutions include popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger. This allows businesses to engage with more customers through a preferred channel while automating frequent and repetitive interactions through self-service and chatbots. We also offer enhanced identification and user authentication tools that protect consumers and brands alike from fraud.

Customer engagement strategies feature three of our premier SaaS-based solutions: Moments, Conversations, and Answers. Moments is an omnichannel customer engagement platform that gives businesses visibility of their customers’ engagement with the brand, their activities, and interests. Leveraging automation and analytics, Moments empower businesses to create personalised, contextual, and automated journey flows for each user, allowing the right message to be transmitted at the right time through the right platform, boosting customer trust and engagement.

Extending the breadth of our services to CCaaS operations, Conversations empowers businesses to offer fast and contextualised support to their customers over their preferred channels through a full-stack customer experience centre. By consolidating customer data, providing useful operational insights and utilising omnichannel engagement strategies, the tool helps businesses to offer improved customer service while reducing operational costs. Finally, Answers is a plug-and-play self-service chatbot solution that allows enterprises to deploy conversational campaigns to bolster engagement and information dissemination. Businesses can thus offer more time and resource-efficient customer feedback and support strategies, leaving human agents freed up to grapple with more intensive tasks.

Our platform and connectivity operations include IoT-based services, which offer cross-device connectivity orchestration, remote management of IoT services and communications across countries. We have also recently launched our Mobile Identity solution, which enables the process of verifying a user’s identity through their mobile device, using session data securely held by a person’s mobile phone service provider. It verifies users’ identities through different means, including Silent Mobile Verification (SMV), Know Your Customer (KYC), SIM Swap Detection, and Instant Form Filling. All of these capabilities are automatic, run in the background and checked against the information of unquestionable quality.

Q2. Do You Have Any New Telco Offerings in the Process for the Indian Market?

Infobip entered the Indian marketplace in 2014. Three years later, we became the carriers of one-third of all A2P SMS traffic across the subcontinent, responsible for the delivery of 4 billion messages. Since then, our operations have continued to go from strength to strength. In 2020 we acquired the top position in A2P vendor performance for the fourth year running. Building on that momentum, we have announced our recent collaboration with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to provide our Mobile Identity solution to business and tech enterprises. This allows businesses to carry out reliable identity checks on their customers securely and unobtrusively. It also helps in KYC authentication and corroborating customer details with the latest public data to ensure up-to-date and error-free information across records. An additional benefit is that it helps telemarketers to identify if a phone number has been swapped, thus preventing SIM Swap fraud.

We are also developing Business-as-a-Service operations in collaboration with various operators through the deployment of our SMSCs. Enterprises must make bolder moves in the digital landscape to make the most of the fast-growing digital economy. Mobile-based login operations are a step in that direction.

Q3. What New Categories Do You Plan to Target in 2021?

Infobip serves clients across a wide range of segments, from fintech, automotive, fast food, and retail to communications and on-demand service operators. Our solutions can be used by any brand looking to develop and maintain fruitful customer interactions over a long period by optimising their engagement strategies. At the core, our strategies are informed by a focus on delivering empathetic, engaging, and personalised experiences to end customers. We are, therefore, always looking for opportunities to expand our remit into new areas by staying on top of the latest trends and technologies. Building on our expertise as market leaders in the business communication space, we plan to integrate with a variety of service providers across sectors to develop partnerships that benefit all stakeholders.

Aligned with this goal, we are aiming to serve more digital-first organisations that have seen a growth surge in the wake of the pandemic. According to Nasscom, India’s IT industry has grown by USD 4 billion since March 2020. We believe that using our solutions; digital natives will be better equipped to tap into both existing and emerging opportunities as part of the next phase of the digital revolution.

Q4. What Percentage of Clients Use WhatsApp API and How Many of Them Use Instagram Messaging? Which of These Is Being Preferred More for Communication?

The roster of clients using our WhatsApp business API currently across the Indian subcontinent accounts for 54% of our clientele. We have recently launched communication services across Instagram messenger, attracting favourable responses from clients and users. Instagram is one of the top social networks with one of the most active user bases and is becoming a preferred channel for discovering new products or services and shopping online. What really excites me here is, many organisations are now evaluating the Instagram messaging platforms for a specific set of audience they might have. To add, by using Conversations as our CCaaS solution, businesses can reach out to their customers over their favourite social media channel with the right visual messages at scale. As evidenced by our growth and the current scale of our operations on these messaging platforms, we are confident of a scalable partnership and positive outcome.

Q5. What Are Infobip's Business Plans for the Future?

We have registered a 37% year-on-year growth since January 2020. Going forward, we’ll continue to establish ourselves as market leaders in CCaaS and CPaaS markets by strengthening our internal and external operations and sustaining our focus on innovation.

We are committed to enriching our CPaaS platform to empower our clients to deliver the best omnichannel experience possible to their customers. Our aim is to bolster the communication and engagement strategies of our clients by breaking the silos between customer service, marketing, decision-making, and other departments. The idea is to help our clients get a deeper understanding of not only what their customers need but also when they need it and how best to meet these requirements. Through our latest solution, Answers, for instance, we are providing a conversational user interface to brands, enabling them to deploy chatbots to provide the necessary and timely support to their customers on the platform of their choice.

Q6. How Easy Is It to Get Your Solutions to Operate? Do You Offer Technical Help to Your Clients?

From enabling omnichannel reach and helping deliver personalised, contextual information to driving optimal customer re-engagement, retention, and care, Infobip is committed to providing intuitive end-to-end business communication solutions.

Deployed on the cloud, without the need for additional infrastructure, our solutions offer unified customer data to enable holistic visibility into a brand’s target demographics all over a single platform. Our omnichannel engagement hub is powered by AI and allied technologies, providing businesses with relevant insights to categorize their customer bases into persona segments. Each of these segments can then be targeted with personalised, event-triggered messages to maximise engagement and click-through rates.

The best part is that the engagement framework is capable of automatically creating optimal journey flows for each customer segment, which means that brands can achieve more with minimal manual intervention. For the end-users, sign-up processes, procedural requests, and communications during onboarding are automated. We have local teams to help with integration and onboarding. Reviews from clients with regards to customer satisfaction, ease of use and maintenance, documentation and clarity of communication have been overwhelmingly positive.

We know consumers are more connected today than ever before. And in an age where brand loyalty is declining, it’s about offering an experience that people want to come back to – a challenge that Infobip is equipped to empower new-age businesses to navigate.

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