Nameer Khan, director of growth, Haptik, talks to afaqs! about the conversational AI platform’s integration with ChatGPT, and more.
The days of email spams and randomised SMSes are seemingly coming to an end. While the former have effectively found a place in email trash bins, SMSes are slowly becoming obsolete.
Credit to conversational artificial intelligence (AI). The developments in the space have helped brands manoeuvre a far more efficient way to engage with consumers, before and after their purchase journey.
The platforms have also helped brands leverage sophisticated chatbots, voice assistants and other conversational interfaces to engage with consumers, provide a more contextualised experience and, obviously, drive conversions.
With social media and messaging apps, conversational marketing has galloped past the previously set benchmarks of customer acquisition, with the help of natural language processing (NLP) and AI.
Haptik, Reliance Jio-owned conversational AI platform, was launched 10 years ago. The company caters to enterprises that want to build conversational AI systems that allow consumers to converse with apps and electronic devices in a near-natural manner.
The platform recently announced that it will be integrating OpenAI’s ChatGPT with its products. The goal is to present an AI-powered bot that is capable of analysing user emotion and generating contextualised responses. The beta developments have already been made available to Haptik’s customers.
Nameer Khan, director of growth & go-to-market, Haptik, reveals that the platform has seen conversational AI being employed by all sorts of enterprises.
“Our services have been leveraged by many businesses, such as retail, insurance, adtech and gaming.”
When people buy a product from Amazon, they’re not thinking of the brand, per se. They're just thinking of the problem that they want to solve...Brands, when they reach a certain threshold, need to invest in native orders and drive their native traffic
Conversational AI, while being of utmost utility to brands in upselling, and cross-selling their products, also helps them generate a higher lifetime value (LTV) from existing customers. But beyond this, Haptik provides more use cases for conversational AI, as per Khan.
“Conversational AI isn’t just about marketing anymore. Generally, using conversational mediums helps brands in driving any sort of engagement with consumers. People today prefer to have a chat over placing a call.”
“Conversations, as medium, have become quite popular, not just for marketing, but even for use cases like commerce. Consumers are buying and selling products directly on channels like WhatsApp.”
In terms of making ads more formidable, Khan believes that a conversion at the end of an ad, is always ideal.
“We have a tool, called ‘Campaign Bots’. Through this, a brand that is running a campaign on Facebook or Instagram, can have a call to action provision. That will directly lead the consumers to WhatsApp, where they can further explore their preferences, with AI ready to answer whatever queries they may have.”
Khan also points out other use cases, including prompting users to revisit their abandoned carts, providing information on offers, all with the help of proactive messaging.
But with push notifications and unprovoked WhatsApp chat requests, consumers could perceive the engagements as intrusive or excessive. Khan believes that it could only happen if the conversations are cold, irrelevant and randomised.
“If you’re sending cold, random messages to your customers, they have the ability of blocking you on WhatsApp, or reporting you for spam.”
“Brands need to basically have a proper engagement approach in place, where you don’t want to send the user repetitive messages. If the user has, for example, opted out of receiving communication from you, you have to stop.”
The platform also provides businesses with consultations regarding the best practices of managing multiple campaigns simultaneously.
Most commerce-led conversations that a consumer encounters, come from platforms such as Amazon, Myntra, etc. Except telecom and, maybe, food delivery aggregators, most brands aren’t personally involved in contextualised messaging.
For the most part, it is the retail and the CPG industry that is really taking the lead on conversational marketing.
Khan points out that brands need to invest in native orders to drive native traffic, in the hope of building a loyal base of customers.
“When people buy a product from Amazon, they’re not thinking of the brand, per se. They're just thinking of the problem that they want to solve. So, the brand in itself loses that authority. Brands, when they reach a certain threshold, need to invest in native orders and drive their native traffic.”
But what are the dominant categories of brands that are making the most of conversational AI, as things stand? Khan answers, “For the most part, it is the retail and the CPG industry that is really taking the lead on conversational marketing."
"Other categories include finance, travel and hospitality, among others. We also see a little bit of media and entertainment kind of campaigns, whether for an upcoming TV show, or sports tournaments like IPL, making use of conversational marketing.”
Khan also points out that while AI has always been in the conversation space, but the advent of ChatGPT and its implications on generative AI tech could change spark a shift in conversational marketing.
“AI has always existed in conversation space. Natural language processing (NLP) is not a new concept, or something that has come out recently. The larger point of focus here is the aftermath of ChatGPT. AI has become so accessible to everybody and adds a level of accuracy that was inconceivable before.”
“From a conversational AI standpoint, I really feel like the time to value will reduce by at least 40 percent, because now, by integrating OpenAI’s application programming interface (API), the process of building and training the natural language models, adding intent data and making sure the answers aer getting correctly identified, goes away.”