India’s WhatsApp Coronavirus Chatbot Reaches 30M Users
More than 30 million people have used the Indian government’s MyGov Corona Helpdesk WhatsApp chatbot since it debuted a year ago, according to Haptik, the conversational AI platform which developed the chatbot for the government’s health ministry. That makes the COVID-19 info provider the most-used WhatsApp chatbot ever.
The health ministry and MyGov worked with Haptik to build the Hindi and English chatbot in the early days of the pandemic as a channel for sharing information to Indian citizens about COVID-19 and the health measures undertaken to stop its spread. The other goal was to push back against the swirl of rumors and misinformation that could worsen conditions in the country. The Whatsapp chatbot answers questions about the coronavirus, how it spreads, and what steps to take if you notice symptoms. Concern about such rumors also prompted the government’s electronics and IT ministry to ask social media platforms to post advisories telling users not to post any false information about COVID-19. Haptik’s AI uses the health ministry as a database for its answers to ensure they are as accurate as possible and can counter any false stories told about the disease. The chatbot conducted more than 5 million conversations in just two days, a number that has grown to more than 45 million conversations and 67 million messages.
“We decided to implement the MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp as it is the world’s largest messaging platform, with 400 million users in India alone. This ensures that the chatbot has a wide reach and is accessible to as many citizens as possible,” Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish explained in a blog post about the chatbot. “The MyGov Corona Helpdesk has only gone from strength to strength since going live, beyond our wildest expectations.”
The pandemic prompted rapid adoption of healthcare-focused chatbots, with COVID-19-specific ones unsurprisingly at the top of interest. Chatbots for sharing accurate coronavirus information and coordinating appointments are integrated into healthcare provider websites and social media accounts using tools like Orbita’s interactive AI, Microsoft’s customized templates, dental software developer Awrel’s chatbot, and plenty of others. The British government even created its own WhatsApp chatbot to share information about the coronavirus not long after India. Nuance eventually decided to create a whole omnichannel virtual assistant platform for healthcare providers due to the demand. Reaching 30 million users is also a solid win for Haptik, whose conversational AI is in demand for both voice and text. In February, Haptik launched a new voice assistant for online shopping named Buzzo to simulate an in-store helper on mobile apps and websites.