Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), one of India’s leading housing finance providers, creates a first-of-its-kind conversational assistant over Instagram Direct that helps customers determine home loan eligibility and engages them in more consultative conversations that increase leads for home loan applications.
better lead conversion rates for Instagram Direct compared to other social media channels
customer questions addressed in just over one year
minute average customer engagement time with Instagram Direct
Financing dream homes
Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) is one of India’s leading housing finance companies, offering a wide range of loan products including home loans, plot loans, and rural housing loans.
Meaningful conversations with every chat
To attract more digitally savvy millennial home buyers, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) needed to translate its consultative approach to guiding customers through the home loan application process to digital channels. The company wanted sustained engagement with customers to get them excited about moving forward with their home ownership journey by availing a home loan.
Digitizing the personal approach
For over 40 years, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) has helped prospective buyers throughout India to finance their dream homes, offering consultation tailored to each customer’s specific needs.
One of the leading mortgage lenders in India, HDFC looked to attract millennials in applying for their first home loan. To reach more digitally savvy customers, HDFC underwent a digital transformation emphasizing its social media channels – while retaining its personal approach. The company observed that Instagram was widely popular among customers and partnered with conversational messaging company Amplify.ai to develop a conversational experience through Instagram Direct.
HDFC debuted a first-of-its-kind digital branch on Instagram inviting customers to connect with a conversational assistant via Instagram Direct messages. The assistant recognizes key words and phrases around three core services – interest rates, equated monthly installments (EMI), and options to apply directly for a loan – to respond to customer inquiries and help customers calculate their home loan EMI.
If a customer wants to leave his contact information for a callback for a loan, their details are captured through the conversational assistant and passed to the lead management system, allowing HDFC customer care teams to follow up within 48 hours. “Using Instagram Direct, we have the scalability to connect with more customers at once, responding to roughly 12,300 questions in just over a year with an average engagement time of more than four minutes,” says Saif Faruqi, Head - Communications, HDFC. “Through our responsive virtual assistant, customers benefit from more immersive, consultative experiences that sustain their interest in applying for loans.”
To promote its new service, HDFC launched “InstaBranch,” a vigorous marketing campaign enabling customers to connect with the assistant through Ads that click to Instagram Direct Message, as well as cross-promotion on other platforms. When a customer clicks on Instagram ads with specific calls to action, like calculating EMI, they activate the conversational assistant to start a conversation on that topic. With Instagram Direct, HDFC can proactively respond to potential customers who leave comments, tags, and questions on Instagram posts and stories by moving the conversation to direct message.
“The versatility of Instagram Direct allows HDFC to turn social media users into customers,” says Akanksha Sudan, Marketing Head, Amplify.ai “HDFC can provide faster, more personalized service based on actionable insights about what inspires people to apply for a loan.”
Conversations with the assistant remain in customers’ direct messages, allowing them to re-engage with HDFC at any point and as often as they need “When customers engage with us over Instagram Direct, they are more knowledgeable and excited about moving forward with the loan application process. The leads we generate through Instagram Direct have conversion rates that are 10.45 percent higher than rates from other social media channels,” says Aditya Rao, Assistant General Manager - Communications, HDFC.
The company’s success with its InstaBranch campaign earned recognition from The Advertising Club through its highly prestigious Abby Awards, one of the top honors for creative excellence in advertising across India. HDFC received the Bronze distinctions in Best in Platform Innovation and Digital Craft – UI/UX Design at the Goafest, the most prominent festival in the South Asian advertising, design, and digital marketing industry.
“Receiving this high industry recognition is a testament to the creativity of our approach, using the popularity of Instagram as a foundation for customer engagement in the digital age, where customers want the convenience of working online with the one-on-one feeling of connecting with a representative in-person,” says Manoj Malhotra, CTO, Amplify.ai. “Working with HDFC, we’ve built a sophisticated communications channel that ensures speed, accuracy, efficiency in helping customers initiate the home buying process while demonstrating our care for the quality of their experiences.”
HDFC is exploring new ways of making the consultation process even faster and more convenient, including features that enable live agents to chat directly with customers over Instagram Direct messages.
“When a customer applies for a home loan, they’re taking the first step toward a major life purchase. Through Instagram Direct, we’re able to sustain longer, more personal relationships that help guide people to the right loan,” says Rao.
More engagement and applications
When the Housing Finance Development Corporation (HDFC) adopts a conversational assistant through Instagram Direct, the company benefits from more sustained customer engagement, answering more questions and increasing the number of qualified leads for home loans.
- 10%+ better lead conversion rates for Instagram Direct compared to other social media channels
- 12,300 customer questions addressed in just over one year
- 4.4-minute average customer engagement time with Instagram Direct
“Using Instagram Direct, we have the scalability to connect with more customers at once, responding to roughly 12,300 questions in just over a year with an average engagement time of more than four minutes,” says Saif Faruqi, Head - Communications, HDFC. “Through our responsive virtual assistant, customers benefit from more immersive, consultative experiences that sustain their interest in applying for loans.”
“When customers build a relationship with us over Instagram Direct, they are more knowledgeable and excited about moving forward with the loan application process. The leads we generate through Instagram Direct have conversion rates that are over 10 percent higher than rates from other social media channels.”
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