Cloud Telephony has moved from good-to-have to a must-have

by February 8, 2018 0 comments

Exotel is a B2B platform which provides virtual phone numbers and telephony applications to help businesses manage their business phone system via a virtual phone system. In talks with PC Quest, Shivakumar Ganesan, Co-founder & CEO of Exotel discusses how his company has impacted the growth of various businesses at a very cost effective manner. 

Shivakumar Ganesan, Co-founder & CEO, Exotel

How Exotel is impacting the growth graph of businesses in the Indian Market?

Exotel is a six-year old tech company based in Bangalore. We are the largest cloud telephony platforms in Southeast Asia. We facilitate 4 million calls a day now, which is 3 times the number of calls the company did in the first year. We have touched the lives of 85 million people in India. To give you examples of business impact, I would like to highlight how Exotel and Ola Cabs collaborated. The cab aggregator kept expanding its operations all over India using Exotel’s solutions without any glitch. To also elaborate how Exotel is impacting the growth graph of businesses in the Indian Market, I am citing the sectors we see maximum demand:

Cab Aggregators: Exotel works with some of the largest cab aggregators in Asia including Ola, Uber and GoJek, to enable number masking also known as number anonymisation. What this means is that people who hail cabs and the drivers can talk to each other without knowing or accessing each other’s numbers.

Given the importance of this solution in increasing customer trust, this played an important role in their growth story as well. Last year, we helped cab aggregators safeguard the privacy of 30 million people in the country.

E commerce – AgroStar – a mobile-commerce platform is using Exotel through which farmers can procure raw material by giving a simple missed call. Given the massive penetration of mobile phones in these regions, more than 7 lakh farmers across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan benefitted from their services since 2012.

Logistics- One of the largest courier companies in India was incurring losses due to a poor first time delivery rate, especially for cash on delivery (COD) orders. This was due to a variety of reasons including the non-availability of the customer, the delivery person not showing up, etc. And there was no way to verify what really happened.

The solution to this was a standard operating procedure they put in place. The delivery person had to make a call to the customer when they show up for delivery. And this call could be tracked because it was routed via Exotel.

In addition to this, here are a few ways in which we help growing businesses that work with Exotel.

Easy to implement solutions that can scale at will: 

We enable over conversations between businesses and their customers on a daily basis. What this means is that growing organisations use Exotel’s APIs to help manage customer communication over calls and SMS thereby making it possible for them to focus on their core business offering without having to worry about the communication infrastructure.

Improved customer experience:

Exotel ensures number anonymity and safety of the caller as well. Using Exotel, it is possible to connect end users to the businesses without having to reveal either party’s phone number.

Creating a single source of truth: 

It is also possible to automate and integrate with pre-existing systems like CRM, Helpdesk etc.

In your opinion, what are the verticals or areas that are most adoptive and deploying the solutions?

The current ecosystem is seeing an increase in the emergence of new age technology companies in various areas such as e-commerce, travel, healthcare etc. There has been a significant shift in the way businesses look at cloud telephony. It has moved from good-to-have to a must-have. The understanding of cloud telephony has gone up notches and businesses are seeing extreme value add in the use of this technology. While Exotel is present in almost all verticals and areas of businesses that require active voice communication with their clients, cab aggregators, third-party logistics, banks & financial services and e-commerce sectors especially see the highest adoption of Exotel’s services. Other sectors include, but are not limited to logistics, education, healthcare, etc.

How Exotel is latched on to ideas of Chatbot and AI into telephony and communication?

The idea of chatbots and using AI to streamline processes has been around for a while now, but its implementation is also seeping into the cloud telephony sector. One of the biggest hurdles of building a cloud telephony platform is to make it reliable. With our internet and telephony infrastructure being less than ideally reliable, how do we make cloud telephony robust? Exotel has an uptime of 99.9966%. This is possible due to the close monitoring of 1000s of signals in our infrastructure. We are building a system that is able to identify and understand normal signals from the aberrant ones. In the aberrant signals, our team gets alerts. And the system continues to learn.

One of our clients in Malaysia, a real estate listing company integrated cloud telephony and a chatbot to bring about a higher customer engagement rate. How this worked is, when a customer sees a listing that they were interested in, they could chat with a bot to get more information. When they express interest, they would be directly connected to the right agent. This way, no time is wasted in making sure the right customers and agents are connected.

What are your expectations from upcoming National telecom policy 2018?

The upcoming National Telecom policy will be a landmark one. This will pave the way for India to leapfrog into the top 50 nations in terms of network readiness, communication technology and services.

Right now, there is very limited scope for small and mid size companies and startups to experiment and work with telecom based business ideas. Some reasons for this being long processing time for licenses, high cost of the licenses involved and lack of policy based incentives for investment into network quality and speed.

One of the key visions that will help catapult innovation will be the liberalisation of policies and reduction or removal of licenses over the next five years. Our current Govt understands this. We just need to watch how this translates to policy.

What are the focus areas in terms of business and revenue for FY 18?

India has been and will continue to be a primary market for Exotel. But we have seen a great response from markets similar to India (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, etc.). We already work with some of the biggest companies there like Go Jek, Lazada, Tokopedia, etc. We will continue to concentrate to exploring markets outside of India while scaling our Indian business.

Where you see Exotel 10 years down the line?

Enterprise communication is moving to the cloud. This is a huge shift in behavior for large organisations. Exotel is already playing a big role in making this happen. We are building Exotel to be the lego of customer communication. We look at making communication free for enterprise. Free here denotes freedom. Companies can build their own communication channels using our APIs without having to bother about any of the underlying complexities.

We are building Exotel to be the Lego of Customer Communication. We look at making communication free for enterprises; free as in freedom, where companies can build their communication channels using our APIs without having to bother about anyway of the under lying complexities. Ten years down the lane, we see ourselves continuing to do the same but at a much larger scale and on probably different mediums too.

Exotel will be the backbone of enterprise communication in all of Southeast Asia.

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