How India’s corporates are using chatbots to drive efficiencies

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 25, 2019

AI solutions will help large conglomerates to further streamline operations and reduce human interaction in the coming years according to industry experts


TIA, RICHA and CARA are some of the most efficient employees of the Tata group. TIA has simplified the loan procurement process for Tata Capital's customers to a great extent. RICHA who is working with Tata Steel is exceptional at customer communication. While the employees of Tata Consultancy directly approach CARA to immediately solve their queries.

The three, though, are no ordinary employees. TIA, RICHA and CARA are artificial intelligence (AI) platforms in the form of chatbots and voice assistants, taking over tasks previously handled by human employees at the Tata Group.

An emerging trend, chatbots and voice assistants are on-brand with mega conglomerates across India.

The Tata example

Tata Capital, Tata Group’s financial and investment services subsidiary had introduced TIA, a personal loan assistant on its Tata Capital app to “voice-assist the personal loan customer journey, check loan eligibility and aid the customer through the loan approval process in minutes. “

“TIA brings ease and convenience to the customer by providing a personalised and seamless experience,” said Ms Abonty Banerjee, Chief Digital Officer, Tata Capital. “Data through TIA is also used in a more meaningful manner, thus helping us create a far more delightful customer experience. We have been able to deepen our engagement with our customers as well. Helps to reduce the overall cost to serve in a significant manner and also is a good opportunity to upsell.”

Currently, over 25 per cent of Tata Capital’s customers utilize the bot for loan assistance instead of the traditional approach.

With Cara, a huge chunk of TCS’ direct general HR inquiries have been taken off the hands of human employees, maximizing their productivity by 40 per cent as per reports. Apart from Cara, TCS’s previously launched Ignio had been implemented in Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals to enable faster decision-making. Ignio currently handles 83 per cent of incidents and requests at these subsidiaries.

Traditional industries such as manufacturing are no exception. RICHA, Tata Steel’s voice assistant has helped optimize the procurement process for the company up to a great extent.

“RICHA has helped improve the productivity of ProCare (Procurement Helpdesk) by improving accuracy and speed of response to procedural queries,” the Tata Steel spokesperson told BusinessLine. “The platform allows users and vendors to directly interact with various IT applications of Tata Steel for generic queries relating to ‘procure to pay’ process.”

The Mahindra Group story

Chatbots optimising trivial tasks for human employees has been the trend at the Mahindra Group as well.

Tripper, Club Mahindra’s AI platform interacts with members for holiday bookings and simple transactions via a chat interface. Mahindra’s Automotive team launched a personal voice assistant for customers to assist them during test drives to address model-specific queries in multiple Indian languages. MAG (My Agri Guru) by the Mahindra Agri Team is a convenient assistant for farmers that

Anish Shah, Group President (Strategy), Mahindra Group said, “Customer service is no longer constrained by our staff capacity. Each customer can engage with virtual assistants that provide contextual and personalized responses across our wide array of products and services. Internal bots have resulted in a significant reduction in query resolution times, especially during peak seasons like the filing of income tax returns, salary days etc. “

Adding to its list of AI employees, the Mahindra Group is in works of launching a chatbot for assisting customers of Mahindra Finance within the mutual fund space.

“The chatbot intends to educate investors on mutual funds and service their queries, thus, helping them avoid call centre queues. Additionally, it would be able to onboard as well as complete an entire investment journey for the customer with an integrated payment gateway,” Shah said.

Chatbots in other companies

The Godrej group had also rolled out a custom chatbot of their own under the Godrej Agrovet Subsidiary – Creamline Dairy in early June. The bot was part of the brand’s marketing initiative the ‘Godrej Jersey Scholarship contest.’

“In a logistics heavy category like milk, this consumer initiative has been one of a kind, encouraging consumers to participate in the contest on a daily basis. To manage this contest, the brand is leveraging chatbot to handle all kinds of user conversation and build loyalty among the consumers which is automated in the backend,” explained Raj Kanwar, CEO – Creamline Dairy Products Limited.

Similar to Cara, Mindtree Artificial Conversation Interface (MACI) introduced at Larsen & Toubro acquired Mindtree is a chat assistant that helps manage functions like HR, Finance, Travel, Learning & Development, GDPR, queries like leave management, Not In Office (NIO), Performance Management, Exit Management, Utilization bonus, Payslips, Shift Allowance, IT Proof submission, Expense claims, Travel queries etc. across Mindtree’s global channels.

“As of now, it has already answered about 1,80,000 queries and this has saved manual hours, and in terms of people it has freed up people’s bandwidth by 45-50 per cent. Complex queries need the attention of our people. This automation has resulted in the query handling error rate coming down by more than 70 per cent,” Kumar Visvanathan, Head of People Shared Services, Mindtree told BusinessLine.

“There are a couple of things that we have also planned for the next phase. We want to incorporate machine learning and voice interface. This will help in enhancing and providing more options in the interaction as well as us increase efficiency,” he said.

AI solutions will help large conglomerates to further streamline operations and reduce human interaction in the coming years according to industry experts.

“The future of AI for a country like India is definitely positive, “ said Kavita Reddi, co-founder, Voxta, a start-up that develops voice bots.” Some of the larger conglomerates are talking to us about their internal processes where our automated voice bots can replace human interaction to a large degree. AI is clicking into every domain be it HR, sales, marketing, recruitment, training or B2B information disposal. “

According to a study by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific/ 77 per cent, business leaders believe AI to be instrumental in increasing competitiveness by 2.3 times by 2021. AI is expected to double the innovation and employee productivity within companies over the next three years, the report said.

( The writer is Interning with Business Line's Mumbai Bureau)

Published on July 25, 2019

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