OTT Platforms are now the go-to for seamless customer journeys

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Bhavna Sachar, Director, Product Marketing, Gupshup


  1. With OTT messaging gaining traction globally, how does Gupshup plan to expand its presence and support businesses in various regions? Are there specific markets where you foresee significant growth opportunities?

Many emerging countries skipped the website and browser era and jumped to smartphones, showing great reception to conversational experiences. These mobile first ecosystems rely heavily on messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram etc. and hence ripe for business to consumer engagement through chatbots and other functionalities. Riding this wave, Gupshup has seen good growth in mobile first economies like Brazil, Mexico, UAE, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia by leveraging conversations across the customer lifecycle. Gupshup has been evolving and adding to its channels, industries, and range of use cases – from SMS to rich IP messaging, from one-way communications to 2- way interactive conversational journeys and applications ranging from lead generation to marketing, commerce, onboarding and customer support. We are bullish on international growth and are doubling down on these markets. We have already made a significant impact in several regions across the globe, having witnessed 2X growth in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and are rapidly expanding across both Africa and Europe. Gupshup Conversation Cloud is equipped to deal with varied needs of each vertical and region, be it conversational advertising or consultative selling.


2. As the market shifts towards OTT messaging, what advantages do businesses gain by transitioning from traditional SMS to richer messaging formats, and how does Gupshup assist in this transition for enhanced customer engagement?

We see a big shift in the market with brands now migrating to richer and more interactive new age platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, RCS to connect with their consumers. These OTT messaging platforms offer richer capabilities to enhance customer engagement through two-way interactions. Brands can also personalize experience for their customers based on their attributes, and behavioral history. Gupshup provides a higher level of functionality that drives complete CX, such that entire conversations with customers can be seamlessly orchestrated. This functionality includes Gen AI powered chatbots, rich customer profiles, segmentation capability and rich messaging elements like images, videos, cards and carousels that enable businesses to create engaging interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. Beyond engagement, businesses can also automate previously manual processes at scale – some examples include lead qualification, onboarding, KYC, product discovery, returns management, and resolve common queries, lowering the cost of doing business. Businesses can also improve their reach through failover capabilities in case delivery fails on the primary channel, with fallback, say from Google RCS to WhatsApp to SMS.


3. With RCS Business Messaging gaining popularity, how has it transformed the way brands communicate with their audience? Can you share relevant examples?

Google RCS is the next generation of messaging which works natively in the Messages app of Android phones. It provides a rich, interactive, 2-way conversational interface with rich media, actions and reply buttons. With its relaunch in India back in June 2023, we see many brands jumping onto the RCS bandwagon. With more than 1 billion users globally, Google RCS Business Messaging has witnessed an impressive read rate of 40% boosting audience engagement and brand visibility. Rich features like buttons, carousels, cards and chatbots are integrated into Gupshup’s platform for dynamic and personalized messaging and brands can also get visibility into link tracking.

This shift enables brands to turn messages into interactive dialogues that build stronger bonds with their target audience. With Gupshup, brands can enable full-funnel customer experiences through RCS, including lead generation, chat commerce facilitation, and post-purchase support. Businesses in the banking, financial services, and retail sectors use this to securely communicate during loan approvals, KYC procedures, promotions and for customer support.


4. How does Gupshup’s platform facilitate agility for businesses to adapt and fine-tune their customer experience strategies?

Flawless customer experience requires unifying the various pieces of customer contact. Imagine when a customer reaches out to a business, the service representative has the complete record of past interactions and transactions with the customer in front of them when working with them. After a rough experience, or a poor feedback, based on the customer’s profile, AI recommends just the right offer to send to the customer as an apology based on their history. Similarly, journey analytics can show when customers typically fall off from a conversation, allowing the business to optimize their journey design.

With Gupshup Conversation Cloud, businesses can automate and personalize CX at scale. The range of capabilities offered by Gupshup includes chatbots, our own fine-tuned ACE LLM, ads manager, self-serve journey builder and Agent Assist. Richer messaging formats and interactive elements like cards, carousels, buttons, and Flows further smoothen the user experience, allowing easier navigation. In Juniper Research’s OTT Business Messaging Competitor Leaderboard, Gupshup has been ranked as an Established Leader, demonstrating its strength in customer deployments, experience, range of product offerings, value-added services, and innovation. With capabilities to identify the appropriate time for businesses to target customers and personalize the communications in customer’s preferred language, our Smart CPaaS ensures higher engagement and better returns on messaging spends.


5. How does Gupshup harness the latest advancements in Generative AI to continuously improve and innovate its conversational capabilities?

Gupshup has been at the forefront of leveraging new technologies to continuously refine and innovate its conversational capabilities. As an early adopter of Generative AI, we introduced the Autobot Builder, which was among the first enterprise applications of the technology. The tool enables businesses to develop sophisticated, custom AI chatbots in minutes, by simply ingesting their enterprise knowledge base in unstructured formats, for e.g. website, PDF, policy manuals, product catalogs. setting industry standards.

Recognizing that in addition to the tool, businesses require large language models that can deliver on their accuracy needs. We launched ACE LLM (ACE stands for Autonomous Conversational Engagement) in August 2023, which is a fine-tuned LLM built atop foundation models like OpenAI GPT 3.5 Turbo, Meta’s Llama-2 etc.

ACE LLM is a domain specific model that is trained in functions such as marketing, commerce, support and industries such as banking, insurance and retail. With integrated linguistic capabilities spanning over 100 languages, it prioritizes accuracy of responses, mitigates hallucinations, and ensures compliance to data residency requirements while being cost-effective. We innovate by pioneering new approaches and are infusing Generative AI into our platform, for e.g. as a co-pilot for marketers to create marketing templates, scheduling campaigns at optimum time, or for agents to rephrase their responses.


6. How do you see the conversational AI landscape evolving in the next few years, and what trends do you anticipate in terms of user engagement and technological advancements?

The conversational AI landscape is set to evolve significantly in the next few years, driven by advancements in generative AI, human-machine augmentation, and core AI technologies. The rise of multimodal and multichannel AI which enables conversations through images and videos, will make conversations more dynamic and engaging. Furthermore, hyper personalization is also a significant innovation in the conversational AI landscape that tailors responses to individual preferences.  These Advanced AI technologies will overcome adoption barriers even as user engagement will become more personalized and contextually relevant. The need for domain-specific virtual agents will increase with a majority of advanced virtual assistants expected to be industry-domain-specific by 2030.  As per some reports, by 2025, generative AI will be embedded in 80% of conversational AI offerings. It’s also expected to automate a large percentage of call center agent tasks.

At the same time enterprises will also need to focus on responsible AI and work on mitigating risks such as deep fakes and hallucinations. Providing better controls to users is also essential, as it enhances the usability and trust in conversational AI applications.


7. Can you tell us more about Gupshup’s product strategy? What’s in the pipeline?

Gupshup’s vision is to help businesses automate customer conversations with human-like intuition, accuracy, and empathy.  With Gen AI, autonomous is becoming a big part of Conversations and we recognize that business interactions need to meet a higher standard of accuracy and need to be relevant to the given individual, and therefore we provide built-in guardrails and controls to deliver the desired experience. Unified customer profiles power personalization for businesses to acquire, engage, convert and service their customers with relevance. We provide a goal-seeking approach to experience/ journey creation, that requires the user to define their goals, choose the balance between engagement and factual accuracy and let Generative AI do its job.

We are bringing in intelligence into our platform, including AI explainability to reduce the black box nature of advanced technologies and mitigating hallucinations. Our discussions with clients have led to the discovery of novel applications of Conversations such as in commerce to improve product discovery.

Central to our platform is unification across channels and integrated capabilities across stages of the customer funnel. With ownership of first-party customer data, omnichannel capabilities and conversational automation using DIY tools, we empower businesses to create and orchestrate conversational flows, campaigns, and chatbots with ease.


8.What should enterprises look for when deciding on an OTT Messaging platform?

When choosing an OTT messaging platform, an enterprise must keep in mind crucial factors that align with their needs. The foremost of these considerations is evaluating the platform’s reach and channel support, which will determine its suitability. For instance, a fast fashion brand aiming to engage with a young, trend-conscious audience, leveraging Instagram would be more efficient (assuming the target demographic is active on the channel). Instagram is highly visual and would help the brand showcase its collection through engaging videos or images. With over 2 billion active monthly users and a majority of them being millennials and Gen Z, Instagram offers extensive reach and engagement opportunities.

However, in the case of an eCommerce supermarket, WhatsApp would be the platform of choice for a seamless customer experience. WhatsApp facilitates real-time customer support, order updates and personalized assistance with its instant messaging capabilities and high user engagement rates and also allows it to drive repeat orders.

Therefore, assessing the platform’s user base and functionality vis-a-vis enterprise use cases is key. Another dimension is understanding the basic unit – whether it’s a message or a conversation (for e.g. WhatsApp has a 24-hour conversation window). Businesses should also carefully examine how innovative the platform is and their roadmap, especially for advanced services like forms, location-based messaging, payments and chatbots. These characteristics play a crucial role in customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness. The messaging platform’s integration with other CRM systems is also an important aspect one should not miss. For example- if lead generation is key to the enterprise’s business, for example in the case of a fintech company or a travel agency, verify if the messaging platform can work with your digital ads. Similarly, if upsell and repeat purchases for your existing customers in the CRM is important, assess expertise and past success with these use cases. Businesses that have substantial post purchase and customer service interactions would need a channel that works well for both business initiated conversations and user initiated queries and supports chatbots. Again, look for playbooks to understand how the channel can drive your business.

By weighing these factors, enterprises can effectively navigate the OTT landscape and identify the most apt messaging platform for their business needs.


  1. You recently announced the launch of a new Conversation Cloud Platform. Can you take us through the offering in detail? What makes it stand out in the market?

Gupshup Conversation Cloud brings a transformation in business – customer interactions, reflecting the shift in user interface after the web and app era. It offers a comprehensive suite of SaaS tools, enabling businesses to drive customer acquisition, engagement, commerce, and support across popular conversational channels like WhatsApp, RCS and Instagram, helping businesses to achieve a substantial ROI increase of 6-10X. The Conversation Cloud consists of three key modules, Converse, Advertise, and Communicate, that enable conversational relationship management across the full customer lifecycle. The Gupshup Converse layer acts as the intelligence behind the platform, helping businesses build rich two-way conversational journeys across the customer lifecycle leveraging advanced no-code tools to configure customer journeys, bot flows, and auto-trigger contextual messages.Gupshup Advertise enables marketers to acquire, qualify, and convert customers by leveraging Click to WhatsApp and Click to Instagram Ads. This significantly enhances new customer acquisition, and campaign ROI while empowering brands to build their first-party database. Gupshup Communicate showcases our smart CPaaS capabilities by incorporating Gen-AI powered automatic message translation, optimized scheduling for maximum open rates, and omnichannel message failover capabilities, ensuring messages are delivered across 30+ channels effectively.

What sets the Conversation Cloud Platform apart from existing solutions is its comprehensive, integrated approach making the platform a one stop shop to drive engagement, transactions, and support on messaging channels. In most companies, these essential capabilities are scattered and isolated across different tools and teams, lacking a unified approach. The conversational cloud combines the required capabilities into a single, AI-powered platform solving the fragmentation problem. Moreover, with our Customer 360, the Conversational CDP, brands can create unified customer profiles and ensure better personalization based on customer attributes, historical events, and conversational signals.  With the help of an all-inclusive SaaS solution, businesses can design, execute, and optimize conversational experiences at every stage of the customer lifecycle funnel, from early acquisition campaigns to marketing journeys, all the way through commerce interactions and post-purchase assistance.


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