Airtel, India’s second-largest telco, and Reliance Jio Infocomm are now increasingly using artificial intelligence technology to offer better and more cost-efficient customer experience to increase stickiness on their networks as they battle for subscribers.
“With smartphones fast becoming the norm for every Indian, this will make digital selfcare much more interactive and step up the customer experience,” Sarang Kanade, director of customer experience and retail at Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.
The company, facing severe revenue and margin pressures amid competition, said it will roll out the new service in regional languages to its almost 350 million subscribers and encourage them to get online. Airtel will continue to track questions that customers ask and enable responses to them via Google Assistant. “It makes a lot of sense to adopt AI technology to automate, given the cost of human interaction has increased 20-30%,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder of Greyhound Research.
Jio has introduced voice commands on its MyJio application to ease the customer service process. Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a recent report that voice AI is a focus area for the Mukesh Ambani-led telco and the AI-based voice command feature is working well for the telco.
“Indian telcos need to make their subscribers use these features. Airtel’s app for selfservice is well received. Jio’s user base is different and they may not use such a feature as aggressively,” Gogia said. Airtel is already using AI and machine learning to enhance customer experience through its MyAirtel app and airtel.in. It has introduced the technology in its call centre operations to help its agents resolve problems.
The telco said recently it was acquiring the core team of Bengaluru-based startup Authme and the intellectual proprietary rights of its two flagship solutions – Callup AI and Fintech OCR – to fortify its AI-based products and services.