Remember a mobile network operator’s advertisement from 2008 where mobile phones became means of education in rural areas? Who knew it would turn into reality someday.
Hundreds of millions of Indians call rural and remote India their home. They live and work in distant villages across the nation. They constantly seek services that can improve their lives.
But, it’s the last-mile delivery of customer service that has always been a challenge in India, especially in remote areas. And with COVID-19 changing the very definition of normal, it has become all the more difficult for organisations to reach out to people in these geographies.
So, what is the solution then?
It’s simple—cloud telephony is the way to go! If done correctly, it could even open up another market, connecting businesses with the smallest towns—all with the press of a button.
Wonder how? Let us explain.
More than 70% of the Indian population in rural areas uses smartphones. They may not be well versed with various social networking platforms, but they are familiar with automated phone calls, bulk SMSes, and toll free numbers.
Necessary administrative changes like linking of PAN card to bank accounts, connecting Aadhar Card with personal phone numbers, and more are communicated to people through outbound calls, voice broadcasting, bulk SMSes, and so forth.
Similarly, during the ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, people could connect with the Prime Minister to share their thoughts simply by leaving a missed call, irrespective of geographical and linguistic barriers.
The only service that can manage such a large scale project while maintaining round-the-clock accessibility is cloud telephony. The technology helps businesses and administration reach out to large audiences at once and streamline their communications.
How can you connect with India’s rural heartland?
As businesses attempt to gain ground beyond the suave Hindi and English speakers of the metropolises to connect with the masses in tier-three cities, they’re looking for more and more ways to interact with rural India.
Som cloud communications solutions that can come to the rescue include:
Bulk SMS service
Believe it or not, bulk SMS is one of the easiest and most captivating mediums to reach people in distant areas, even when weak networks forbid regular or Internet calls. You can lure the reader into clicking on links to your resources such as websites, brochures, infographics etc.
Better yet––you can connect with people in local dialects. Disseminate information, promote campaigns, offer coupon codes, and invite feedback and suggestions at the speed of lighting. The added perk? Unlike voice calls, messages let people save this data for future reference.
Toll free numbers
Toll free numbers are bound to increase your reach in rural areas because they don’t cost your callers a penny. People can easily reach out to you without any second thoughts.
You can use them to bridge the gap between rural India and your brand. For instance, it may not be easy or economical for people in remote areas to reach out to you. This can be resolved simply by having people dial an 1800 number. They’re easy to remember and free to call.
You can also initiate ‘Press 1’ campaigns wherein people can call and leave their views using the keypad or voice inputs. Simple and quick yet effective.
A toll free number can be used in a lot more ways––farmers can procure raw materials and track their delivery via an 1800 number. Residents can call to gain advice on healthcare issues, mental health problems, and more. The possibilities are endless.
Given our country’s education discrepancy, voice broadcasting is not just a service but a lifeline. This cloud telephony tool can help you reach them conveniently irrespective of their literacy levels.
Voice broadcasting lets you enhance your messaging with emotions and expressions so your virtual presence can overpower physical unavailability. It is a great and cost-effective way for businesses to connect with various communities.
The education industry is already making the best out of this tool by reaching out to children in remote geographies and helping them learn during these unprecedented times.
You, too, can run grand campaigns in regional languages to relay crucial information to tier-three residents.
Missed call service
With half a billion active phone users, missed calls are an economical and wide-reaching communication tool for remote areas. The beauty of this service is that missed calls are already prevalent. So, you have at your disposal a tool that people are aware of and can use without incurring extra data charges.
Various giants like Twitter, Facebook, and HUL have been using missed call services to help the rural population connect with celebrities, provide weather updates, interact with brands, and spread brand awareness.
NGOs can also use this service to enable people to reach out to them in case of need. For instance, people can give missed calls to seek help from an NGO in the event of a natural disaster.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
This cloud telephony tool is one of the most effective means of communication in non-urban areas—simple and user-friendly. It answers calls automatically and ensures no time is wasted in routing them to the right destination.
One major strength of an IVR system is that it is centred around a feature phone that is readily used in all parts of the country. And when people in small towns receive an automated personalised call from a brand, it makes them feel valued.
Enable IVR to make sure no one is left out of the loop. IVRs recorded in regional languages can help people stay up-to-date with the latest administrative and political developments, keep them abreast with health guidelines, and much more. The touch-tone feature of this tool can ask them to press a key on their phone if they desire any more information.
The road to a great future
What’s more––rural Indians are gearing up. Rather than blindly following brands, these users are mindful of the messaging a brand puts out. To a great extent, they base their purchase decisions on personal relationships and service costs.
Thus, establishing both is a critical first step in penetrating these markets. Savvy engagement via cloud telephony will help you develop a valuable customer base, retain them, and keep them engaged.
Have a look at some of the benefits that come along with the adoption of cloud telephony to reach the masses:
- It is a reliable and timely communication channel
- It delivers the much-required personal touch
- It provides accessibility for uneducated users via voice communications
- It is quick, efficient and cuts through the clutter
- It enables you to showcase your brand even before you physically set up
To sum it up
Go further inland to tap into remote areas and bring them to the ambit of cloud telephony. From providing online education to holding virtual village panchayats, and from daily weather updates to counselling and awareness sessions, cloud telephony solutions can cater to various needs.
Deliver omnichannel solutions to villages, panchayats, schools, hospitals, education centres, etc. and streamline your operations in far-off areas as well.
So what are you waiting for?