After launching a WhatsApp chatbot for coronavirus questions, Reliance Industries is launching a similar tool for shareholders to get answers to any questions about the company’s rights issue. The company floated an INR 53,125 Cr rights issue on May 20 and the WhatsApp chatbot will address any query investors may have on the issue.
Usually, a rights issue of this size would require a vast infrastructure of call centre executives to answer such queries. But due to the lockdown, Reliance has come up with a cost-effective alternative that also requires less planning and allocation of human resources. it would have been difficult to manage sufficient call centre service. But in addition to the chatbot, the company has also engaged the services of some call centres to address inquiries.
The WhatsApp chatbot offers shareholders an exhaustive list of queries ranging from important dates, FAQs on how many rights entitlement a shareholder is eligible for, how they can trade the rights entitlement and other details around physical shares and sample forms.
It also offers shareholders links to a few video tutorials. RIL has over 2.6 Mn shareholders and so the system can expect plenty of queries every day. The rights offering subscription will end on June 3.
WhatsApp bots have become a hot trend in the coronavirus pandemic. WhatsApp, in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNDP, launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub, to provide simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate.
Further, in India, IT ministry and the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) also started a special helpline, MyGov Corona Helpdesk, on WhatsApp to answer people’s queries. This was set up by Reliance-acquired deeptech startup Haptik.
The chatbot market is expected to grow from $703.3 Mn in 2016 to a whopping $3,172.0 Mn by 2021, according to research by MarketsandMarkets.
With rising chatbot trends, coupled with the growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), it has become crucial for businesses to adopt newer technologies, thereby opting for solutions that enhance customer engagement. According to a report by CNBC, using chatbots will help businesses save costs by more than $8 Bn per year by 2022.