That next-door-boy character who gives a missed call to the police to report his stolen car — as popularised by primetime spots — is no more the epitome of miserliness.
For, the Great Indian Missed Call — the weapon of choice for perpetually broke pre-paid users like students and migrant labourers — is turning out to be a Rs500-crore business opportunity for banks, FMCG majors, even political parties.
While individual consumers, especially of the pre-paid variety — 96% of India's 900 million mobile user base — give a missed call to pass on mundane information like 'Have reached destination', or 'Call me back,' companies use this as a kind of Morse Code for customer feedback, saving millions of rupees in call-centre charges and telephone bills.
For instance, banks have adopted the missed call to find solutions to most common query of their customers — account balance. ICICI Bank customers can give missed call to a particular number and get their account balance status as a text message, instantly. Dial another number, you'll get mini-statements delivered to your inbox.
"Dialing is the simplest action that can be executed on the mobile. It is device-agnostic — one does not need a smartphone for dialing a number," points out Sanjay Swamy, who cofounded ZipDial mobile solutions in 2010, the largest player in the missed call business. The company has grown by 600% in last year, charging Rs10 lakh to Rs1,000 to customers such as Procter & Gamble, Forever Diamonds, Gilletteand others, for surveys or sales leads. And all that cash has come in from some very personal experience.
At AaramShop, we implemented the missed call solution for Glade. Customers could give a missed call to get a list of retailers who stock glade products in area.
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