My team at Expedia (APAC Commercial Sales & Strategy) created this wonderful video of my 8 years long journey at Expedia. What a way to send-off…
Every time I look at the video, I get emotional. #lifeatexpedia
Everyone across the globe – Indian, NRI and Foreigner is aware of PM Modi drive of demonetisation so I’m not going to explain what he did and how he did it. I’m a Non-Resident Indian and have a very little to No impact on my day-to-day life due to living outside. The only impact I have is my phone is full of Demonetisation humor, courtesy Whatsapp!
Being Indian, living in Singapore, it gives me an opportunity to think, compare and reason out how demonetisation drive will help the Indian economy when I compare it with Singapore.
Some facts to begin with –
* Working population here includes both businessmen and Salary professionals.
I understand Singapore is a small city state with population equals to or less than Delhi alone, so comparison might not be justified. My goal here is not to compare and show India in a bad light, but it is more to focus on how moving to “Banked” economy will help the economy. I’m not using word cashless as there will be people who will transact in cash still and cash will stay in the economy, but important to note with demonetisation drive, transactions will move into issuing & collecting bills, receipts that will lead to GST/Income Tax payments and govt. source of revenue will go up.
I’m sure almost all of you are aware and appreciate the great infrastructure in Singapore, that is because everyone pays their tax honestly, which is apparently not the case in India.
India is ranked at number 4 globally in GDP ranking while Singapore is ranked at 15. Considering the size of India in terms of working population and young nation, we should be number 1 if we start paying taxes honestly.
In Singapore, even when we buy grocery item worth SGD1 (INR 50), we get receipt and this is exactly what we need to do in India. As responsible citizens we need to ensure every transaction we do, we take the receipt. This will do two things:
I remember when I was living in India, my friend a businessman and I were earning almost same but I ended up paying 40% taxes and he paid tax of Rs.400-500. This was made possible by showing fake expenses and manipulating the system. This theft by numerous such people have caused a dent in the economy and I believe with this move, govt. will be able to bring all these people, businesses into the ambit of tax and increase the scope of their earnings.
Because govt. will be able to earn more, I believe all that money will come back to us in various forms, some of such benefits are:
I’m also of the opinion that Demonetisation could have handled better in the sense making sure adequate supply of smaller currency notes be available, no exchange of notes and only deposit with withdrawals from ATM or bank counters (to avoid black money hoarders converting their cash) and giving adequate thought on supporting the farming sector. However, rebooting such a large economy is not an easy thing to do and we must support and congratulate the government in taking a bold step. It is also our duty to educate people who are not privileged to understand the benefits of such a move.
I wouldn’t be surprised if countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, China also follow the same path, taking learnings from India’s experience.
Demonetisation step has brought forward a digitization of financial economy and financial inclusion, which will go a long way in building Nation and is for sure going to put India on a growth path. Government is now required to keep taking innovative steps to not lose out on the momentum demonetisation has created. How about targeting Real Estate & Gold/Silver market next – doing a complete audit of assets people own versus the declared income so far and so is Gold/Silver.
If you have read till here, would you be ok to take the pledge that you will take receipt of all your purchases from here on? Sign the petition here.
Few days back, a friend after reading my article on Artificial Intelligence and Travel asked a question – What do you think of ChatBots and how can they impact the Travel & Tourism Industry. Here are my thoughts on ChatBots and their impact on Travel, Aviation and Hospitality industry as a whole.
Let’s first understand what are ChatBots – A ChatBot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Slack, Text Messages etc).
Why ChatBots are so Important?
We spend majority of our time communicating on Mobile than on desktop. 90% of our mobile time is spent on email and messaging platforms. As per BI Intelligence report, about 20% of all online transactions are happening on Mobile currently and by 2020 mobile commerce will make up 45% of total e-commerce. Another BI Intelligence report says that Big 4 messaging Apps have already overtaken Big 4 social networking sites last year. People are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks.
It’s a big opportunity for industry to be available for customers on these messaging platforms, where customers are already present and that is only possible using ChatBots.
ChatBots in Aviation, Travel and Hospitality Industry –
If we look at Travel Industry as a whole, the numbers are much higher. Reading from earnings report of listed companies in Aviation, Travel and Hospitality segment, mobile commerce brings over 60% transactions, which is 3x of total mobile commerce penetration today and it’s growing.
ChatBots has the potential to bring lot of efficiencies, of time and money for the industry. Most importantly for companies where they have large customer service teams.
On a high level, if we look at the volume of calls handled by customer service agents, majority of these calls are simple, plain vanilla calls for basic issues, queries etc. There is a huge potential to automate these calls using machine learning in a chat interface, where customers will no longer be required to call, but has to send a chat message. From other side, there will be a chat robotic who will answer these queries and help the customer resolve the issue without having the need to call and speak to an agent.
For customers, all this will bring efficiencies on time and money (if using international numbers to call). Customer will get a faster resolution of their query and most importantly will retain the transcript of their entire conversation within the messaging app.
For Companies, they can automate up to 60% of their call volume, reducing their dependencies on people. Companies have to spend lot of money on creating physical infrastructure (office space, Intelligent Phone Systems, Toll Free lines, IVR’s and other office infrastructure) and on People (hiring, training, attrition, salaries and well being among other things). Imagine, if 60% of the volume gets automated, how much cost savings will be realized by the companies deploying such technologies.
Road Ahead –
With so much goodness in ChatBots, the road ahead is not as smooth as it looks like. So much work needs to be done in understanding how your customer is interacting with your brand today, what are the queries/issues the customers are calling your contact centers for and then build logics, integrations, flow optimization and analytics accordingly.
With ever changing market trends, needs and platforms, the bot also need to keep up the pace. Also, for deeper integrations and bringing commerce in the ChatBots, there should be continuous error checking, API integrations, understanding NLP, routing and an escalation process to live human support among other things should be working in sync to each other.
Before a company decides to launch their ChatBot, it is important for them to understand what their Bot is going to do for them, what problem you are going to solve for your customers and then go from there.
The most successful Bots will be the one’s where users want to come back to regularly and that provide consistent value.