IRCTC’s chat-bot chugs suc­cess­fully on rev­enue fast-track

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - MAMUNI DAS

CoRover, a two-year-old start-up run­ning the chat-bot ser­vices on the IRCTC web­site, is turn­ing the con­ven­tional com­pany-client re­la­tion­ship by not only pro­vid­ing it free, but ac­tu­ally pay­ing the rail­way PSU to of­fer its ser­vices.

It has rea­sons to do so. Be­ing part of the In­dia’s largest rail­ways book­ing plat­form that books 7-8 lakh tick­ets per day has helped the start-up rake in more ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue than its Founder and CEO Ankush Sab­har­wal ex­pected ini­tially.

CoRover has ac­quired rights to place ad­ver­tise­ments in the chat­box “AskDisha” that pops up on the IRCTC web­site and the space right be­low the box. This ad­ver­tis­ing space has been booked by the start-up in all ede­vices used to book on­line tick­ets. “To pro­vide the chat-bot ser­vice, the start-up had made a min­i­mum com­mit­ment of a cer­tain amount to pay IRCTC, on which it al­ready earned multi-folds, (and) will pay a part of earn­ings with IRCTC,” Sab­har­wal said.

He claims there have al­ready been 10,000 queries to ad­ver­tise with ChatBot (AskDISHA) which in­clude play­ers such as Ama­zon, RedBus, ICICI, Google.

“Un­like in other plat­forms, say Face­book, there is no pos­si­bil­ity of chang­ing the con­tent in AskDisha where users can’t post their com­ments, so ad­ver­tis­ers are as­sured of brand safety,” he added. Brand safety ba­si­cally means pro­tect­ing ad­ver­tis­ers against in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tent. For in­stance, in so­cial me­dia, there could be car ad­ver­tise­ments ap­pear­ing next to a dis­cus­sion on ac­ci­dent-and it is pub­licly vis­i­ble to all.

On top, all IRCTC users can pay on­line, which means ad­ver­tis­ers can tar­get on­line pay­ing users, apart from get­ting to know them bet­ter.

In case of AskDisha, the chatbot en­ables con­sumers to ask ques­tions, give feed­backs and ideas to IRCTC. It had started with around 250 re­sponses three months ago (Oc­to­ber 2018) and has been adding 1030 ques­tions to its bank ev­ery­day based on the new ques­tions asked by IRCTC users. To­day, CoRover has over 1,000 re­sponses for var­i­ous queries. Also, AskDisha han­dles 10,000 ques­tions con­cur­rently, and 1.6 lakh ques­tions a day.

Most of these con­cern re­funds, can­cel­la­tion of par­tial tick­ets, lo­gin to web­site and Tatkal book­ing. When Disha doesn’t have an­swers, it redi­rects ques­tions to the right place in IRCTC, and en­sures that the re­sponse is added to its ev­er­grow­ing ques­tion bank. After a text-based of­fer­ing, the start-up wants to make Disha voice-en­abled and mul­ti­lin­gual.

After IRCTC, CoRover has bagged Kar­nataka State Road Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion as client. PwC, Gart­ner, Kochi Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion are in dif­fer­ent stages of talk to be the startup’s client. Also, Ama­zon is giv­ing CoRover more cred­its to pay for us­ing its cloud —Ama­zon Web Ser­vice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.