New Face Of Customer Experience
Sachin Bhatia, Chief Growth Officer, Exotel
Exotel, an India-based IT firm, has forayed into the UAE to offer an integrated platform for its cloud-based customer engagement services
In the UAE, it is not just the private firms that are working to enhance customer experience, but the government, too, is heavily invested in providing improved experiences to end users, which is very refreshing, said Sachin Bhatia, Chief Growth Officer, Exotel, in a chat with Khaleej Times. Exotel is an Indian IT firm providing cloud-based customer engagement services to enterprises. While it has been in the UAE for a few years, providing IT solutions to various companies including Dubai Taxi, Ikea, Damac, Al Ansari Exchange, and others, in February, the firm launched its full stack customer engagement platform in the UAE, integrating all major verticals of customer engagement, which essentially includes SMS, voice, Whatsapp APIs, Omnichannel contact centre, and Conversational AI, under one roof.
“We are an early mover in this category, providing enterprises with the technology that captures a customer’s journey across various touch points.The availability of data on an integrated platform can help companies raise the bar for customer engagement and experience by several notches. While we have been providing our services to various clients in the UAE through singular verticals for a few years, we are excited about the launch of a full stack option that offers a whole gamut of services under one roof. This can change customers’ journeys forever,” said Bhatia. Customer engagement is the means by which a company creates a relationship with its consumer base and fosters brand loyalty and awareness. Customer engagement solutions is a burgeoning industry with the global market size estimated to be over $19 billion in 2022, as per industry report by Allied Market Research. The global industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.2 per cent in the next few years to reach $48.4 billion by 2031. Of the $19 billion, emerging markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia command a market share of about $4 billion. It aims to clock $10 million revenue in this market in 12-18 months. Exotel will be investing more than $2 billion in the UAE over the next few years and employing a team of less than 10 in sales and customer service.
“The UAE is very progressive in terms of ease of doing business. It is is highly focused on the customer experience, and businesses here give it top priority to provide the most smooth and integrated customer journey possible. For CPaaS enterprises, the trend of traditional businesses moving their processes from on-premise to the cloud and the demand for a unified and dependable solution present promising growth opportunities. We are also building a local team that would help us expand to nearby markets. The idea is to get to North Africa, Saudi Arabia and some of the other adjoining markets: Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Our services are for both digital natives as well as traditional companies that care for customer experience, a great tool,” said Bhatia.
Launched in 2011, Exotel has come a long way in its journey. “The last 18 months especially have been phenomenal in terms of transformation. We raised about $100 million of capital, merged with a contact centre company called Ameyo, acquired a conversational AI company, and changed the direction of the company from Cloud communications to customer engagement.”
Talking about prospective end users of this technology, Bhatia explained, “Digital natives are usually the early adopters for us in India as well as the UAE. However, there is a subtle difference between the two countries. The companies in the UAE actually strive to stand out in their experience. And these are not just the digital natives, but also traditional firms such as Damac, because what they are selling is essentially experience. We see a lot of acceptance on serious investment and not just lip service on customer experience in the UAE.”
Exotel offers its services to clients based in 60+ countries, and full-stack options in the UAE and Indonesia. Its cloud-based product suite can drive 70 million conversations every day for more than 6,000 businesses in India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. “Our customers do not have to worry about building or maintaining infrastructure. All they have to do is open their browser and start working. We take care of the rest. There are massive savings in terms of costs for businesses. So much about our daily lives is being changed by digital technologies that speed up or improve how a service is delivered to us and this service by Exotel is yet another step to refine our experience.”
Exotel has teamed with Etisalat for telephony lines and communication servers in the UAE. The company has its central cloud servers in Singapore and Mumbai, India.
“The UAE is extremely sensitive to data privacy and we will be adhering to the local regulations here. We handle about 70 million interactions a day on our platform, of which 21 million are calls. We are an engineering-first company with a majority of our investments being poured into engineering talent. We build our own products, which is our biggest strength,” Bhatia added.
The movement of infrastructure to the cloud has made businesses more responsive and agile, and at the same time significantly reduced capital expenditure. “There is a huge operating cost savings in terms of manpower required and maintenance of infrastructure. This is why, the world over companies are moving to the cloud.”