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Enterprises driving growth in telcos’ voice channel revenue

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In Short:

The use of voice calling for enterprise services is increasing in India despite the decline in personal voice calls due to bundled packs. Startups and digital companies are utilizing IVR, outbound calling, and other services for customer support. Voice calls offer better margins compared to SMS, with 3-4 billion enterprise voice calls made monthly. Contact centres are adapting to provide support through various communication channels including voice calls, chat, and SMS to cater to a mobile-first customer base.

Voice Channel Still a Major Revenue Contributor for Enterprises in India

Despite telecom operators facing challenges in monetizing personal voice calling, the voice channel remains a significant revenue source for enterprises in India, according to experts.

Importance of Voice Channel for Enterprises

As startups and digital-native services expand in the country, companies are increasingly utilizing IVR, outbound calling, missed call authentication, payment reminders, and other customer services via contact centers in the voice call segment.

Angira Agrawal, business head for India & Saarc at Exotel, a leader in virtual call routing, highlighted the growing demand for customer support services through various communication channels including SMS, WhatsApp, chatbots, and voice calls.

Nitin Singhal, managing director of Sinch, a cloud communications company, emphasized the continued relevance and growth of traditional telecom channels like SMS and voice for critical geographies such as Jammu & Kashmir.

Key Data and Insights

Industry estimates indicate that there are 3-4 billion voice calls made through enterprise channels per month, generating higher revenue compared to SMS.

In terms of pricing, voice calls are valued at 60 paise per minute, offering better operating margins of 30-50% as opposed to SMS with margins of 8-10%.

Aniketh Jain, founder of customer communications startup Fyno, pointed out the challenges of telemarketing calls in terms of low success rates and added costs to enterprises.

Industry Perspectives and Trends

Harsha Solanki, vice president and general manager-Asia at marketing platform Infobip, highlighted the evolution of contact centers towards providing real-time support via chat apps, RCS, SMS, email, and voice to meet the needs of a mobile-first customer base.

Overall, enterprises still rely on the voice channel for reaching customers, with a growing emphasis on services like call masking for D2C platforms such as Uber, Zepto, and Swiggy.

Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea did not respond to ET’s emailed queries regarding this trend.

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