After Elon Musk made watching a rocket launch exciting for us,we all started to either find a rocket to or make one which would take us to a stable financial orbit. This is the story of one such rocket ship that I am hopping on to, verloop.io.
Before the internet when things were more analog, we used to adjust our tone and mannerism based on the people we interacted with be it - family, friends, colleagues, & acquaintances; these were a finite number of people. However, with the advent of social media, we had something called a context collapse as the audience could be anyone in the world & therefore we started treating everyone equally. To the point that FB even proclaimed this phenomenon as the next wave of social interaction as people will just be themselves. But with time the tech giants realized that people still inherently want to maintain their real-life context with people on social media as well, which gave birth to various control measures like the ability to present yourself differently to different people by forming groups, channels, editing privacy settings, etc.
Today, you don't just use a social product for what it is but for its ability to maintain that social context between people you know, now during COVID this was ever more important.
Email lists were the first attempt of the internet's ability to maintain your context with your peers, friends, etc. & for a large part of the time, email was your fundamental way to participate in anything happening on the internet as there had to be a system to convey information to you electronically via email. In recent years with cell phone's explosive penetration and ever falling data prices, a human being today has two fundamental e-identities i.e. your email & your phone number aka Phone for engaging in consumerism. Today 45% of the world population has a phone number.
In the wake of this shift in one’s fundamental identity, we saw a lot of focus on chat-based apps and the ability to convert 'this call could have been a chat' moments into chats. Our dependence on P2P chats & phones is so strong today that if you aren't reachable on chat or call, people don't even think of emailing you, & start assuming the worst. While we were quick to embrace chat, the first wave of business used chat only as an interface to serve the customers with human intelligence sitting behind a dashboard somewhere (imagine Zomato or Swiggy chats in the earlier days with 5mins wait time for the agents to reply).
While businesses are trying to be on SuperApps (a lot of those started as chat) they aren't focusing on the most important part of this whole ecosystem, which is larger than the transaction, the ability to talk to your customer. Instant messaging has increased the bar really high in terms of response time for a lot of us & it's how you decide which one of your friends to reach quickly on (for me I respond the fastest on iMessages & then WhatsApp). Because of this mental make-up, we have started to expect the same kind of nimbleness and quick response from the businesses that we interact with. People always pick a chat over an email, an email over a phone call, a phone call over a meeting, you get the gist, right?
This is where Verloop comes in; it helps B2C businesses automate their conversations with customers and make them highly personalized. I first met Gaurav (CEO & Co-founder, Verloop) in 2016 at a beer meet-up in Bangalore and that’s about it. Fast forward to April 2019, we met again in Dubai via an acquaintance when Gaurav was leading Verloop’s expansion in the Middle East; we have been in constant touch ever since. I saw him grow in ME pretty quickly as the product was pretty solid & I know this as I was the POC for Cleartrip’s account from Aug’19 till May’20. The growth that Verloop saw in the Middle East and continues to see is pretty intense, having used the product, & then Gaurav being the kind of soft talking & hard-hitting person convinced me to join Verloop as the Global Head of Sales for Travel & OTA vertical.
We share the same vision about creating deeper solves for the travel industry via chatbots. As we do for our e-commerce partners, we hope to achieve a 90%+ automation for our current and future travel partners in handling CX & further explore various other opportunities as our customers demand.
I am looking forward to enabling Verloop to create an impact on the travel industry & work harder for & with our partners on their paths to recovery. In case you want to reach me, I am available at email@example.com
Thanks Disha for helping in editing this post.
PS: Please don't mind the incomplete website, it's a WIP.