Chatbot 1×1 – Aakrit Vaish

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1. Haptik has grown and evolved over the years from a Consumer Complaint Forum to a Virtual Assistant and now a Chatbot company. Why the transformation?

A company evolves over a period of time as the market dictates. We started with consumer complaints because that seemed like the lowest hanging fruit. But we soon saw customers wanted a lot more – they wanted us to take care of their day to day requests. Which is where we pivoted to a virtual assistant. And given chatbots were an underlying technology, it made sense to expand horizontally into more areas where chatbots could have an impact.

2. Competition – Some domestic players have shut down, some pivoted, few acquired. Whereas Global players like Google, Microsoft, Facebook are quite bullish on the Chatbot model. Do you think that will be a threat or will help increase the eco-system?

Whenever a big platform is evangelizing a shift in behavior or technology, it has generally always been good for the entire ecosystem. We love the fact that these companies are doing so much in the space, and this will overall benefit Haptik and all others. In fact, I believe that because these companies did not do enough the last few years, you had so many startups shut down.

3. Monetization – How do you see monetization happening in the chatbot space? Will Ads be the answer?

It depends on the service or use case you are building for. But in general, we are seeing native advertising work really well in chatbots. The reason is that it does not feel like an ad. The engagement on branded bots is extremely high because people love chatting. For an insurance chatbot that we had built, we saw a lead conversion of 11% which typically in this industry is not more than 1-2%.

4. How do you see the B2B space for Chatbots considering the Facebook presence there?

This is a massive opportunity, particularly in taking care of the customer support use case. That is one area which every company has always struggled to do a great job and with high costs. Chatbots can automate some of the most basic use cases and provide a good customer experience. Facebook becomes one of the channels, but the same can be used inside Websites, Mobile Apps, Twitter, etc.

5. How is the West market for Chatbots in terms of revenue/transactions?

The entire B2C chatbot market has not played out the way people imagined it. We don’t have many “Chatbot first use cases” that have really taken off. There are two – Poncho and Swell, both try and solve very basic problems and use content to drive engagement. There is not much in terms of revenue yet.

6. Haptik – Future plans!

A LOT 🙂

  • Growing the Haptik consumer app, not only from a usage standpoint but also make it unit economic positive.
  • Having the Haptik SDK distributed in as many other apps to create an ecosystem of omnipresent bots.
  • Building the enterprise product and getting to 20 customers by end of 2017-18, 100 by 2018-19.
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