Reasons why it’s high time for businesses to start adopting chatbots!

We have been lucky to have witnessed the time when the world moved to a virtual place, the time when everything went ‘Online’. From buying a new pair of shoes, clothes and home appliances, to ordering food, booking buses and hotels, to receiving and making payments, we have been introduced to software applications as the new shops, and the buttons and fields as the new shopkeepers — you interact with them to buy what you want.

The whole offline experience could be replicated apart from the part where ‘interaction’ happens. Tapping on multiple buttons and fields continued to feel virtual, but we became so habitual to it that the need of thinking beyond tap interfaces couldn’t strike.

On the other hand, can you imagine explaining everything by pointing and tapping on the shoulder of a shopkeeper every time you shop?

“The top four messaging apps have a combined user base of upwards of 3 billion and they recently surpassed the combined active user base of the top four social media platforms.” — Business Insider

The most natural way to buy products and services remains through conversations — the void which chatbots are made to fill. Chatbots enable humans to interact with software programs in the same way a human interacts with another via messaging.

Here are the reasons why every brand should get a chatbot ASAP!

1. Engaging customers

Time and again, multiple case studies have proven that efficient customer engagement is directly proportional to a customer’s time with an organisation, and hence, to increase in sales. Chatbots have proven to be a powerful way to not only engage customers, but do it in a manner that the overall experience is very personal and hassle-free.

To promote the launch of Zootopia movie, disney created a Facebook Messenger chatbot called Officer Judy Hopps, whom users helped to solve cases. Time spent with Officer Judy Hopps by users was more than 10 minutes, and a lot of repeat conversations were observed. This is clearly a win!

2. Consistent service

A human can be tired, or not available 24 x 7 a day. In case of customer service executives, you mostly end up speaking to a different one every time you call, experiencing the lack of personal touch, and hence, trust. A chatbot, however, remains there undeterred, providing a consistent service to the customers.

When the experience involved is great, it definitely paves the way for an increased customer satisfaction.

67% of the participants in a survey said they expect to message more with businesses in the next two years.

Therefore, operations involving customer interaction with the help of sales reps, insurance agents etc. can definitely be made better with the help of a chatbot.

3. Yet another platform — personal touch

Chat apps are personal. Messaging remains the most convenient way of communicating frequently with acquaintances, friends and family. Enabling a bot to talk to customers right where they already spend the most time (messaging apps), and are most comfortable with, eradicates the friction of reaching out, connecting, having a conversation and aiming for resolution of issues or queries.

One success story which proves the positive impact of talking to a bot over a messaging app is that of UNICEF’s U-Report bot on Facebook Messenger. Users globally can simply chat with the bot and report issues related to women and child development, education, sexual and reproductive health, legal rights, and more.

More than 2.5 million people have talked to the bot and became U-reporters.

4. Monetising customer base

Bots also give businesses the capability to directly or indirectly monetise their customer base.

Directly:

Integrating with Niki’s SDK on Android, Messenger, web or iOS, businesses can directly monetise their customer base by offering 20+ services like bill payments, hotels, movie and bus ticket booking, mobile recharges and a lot more. Thus, providing a value-add to the customers, while monetising through the transactions.

The likes of HDFC bank, Oxigen Wallet, Smartphone manufacturers — Zen and ZOPO, are already leveraging Niki’s SDK to acquire as well as engage their customers.

Indirectly:

With the help of a chatbot, the cost of user acquisition, retention and engagement — all go down.

Hiring and training sales reps, insurance agents and support executives involves huge costs for organisations while scaling up. Attrition rate, again, is another factor that disturbs the operations as well as finances. Chatbots help mitigate all the above issues.

Whatever be the use case depending on business requirements, a chatbot definitely can be looked at as the solution. That too, an intelligent one!

To read Part 1 in the series, visit: Reasons why everyone is going crazy behind chatbots!

Reasons why everyone is going crazy behind chatbots — 1

(Part 1 — Consumers)

Hey Siri, turn off all alarms’ is how I start my day. Seemingly simple, this task is a little troubling for someone who sets at least 10 alarms to get up in the morning. To do what Siri does within 2 seconds while I speak to it with my eyes closed and ducky morning tone, I’ll need to go through the difficulty of unlocking the phone and tapping at least 7–8 fields and buttons. All of this in the morning, just before I get out of bed. Well, thank you, Siri!

The point here isn’t that bots will help you be lazier, it’s that they can pretty smoothly become an irreplaceable part of your life and make handling everyday tasks more convenient and time-saving. That’s precisely what the prevalent chat bot apps, bots on Facebook Messenger, Slack, etc. are doing.

“Chatbots will do to apps, what apps did to websites.”

Diving into the reasons why chatbots are becoming increasingly popular, I’ve managed to list down a few reasons why I think bots will be the new apps:

Chatbots for consumers:

Surveys show that 3 in every 4 smartphone users use one or the other messaging app. And this is no news anymore to anyone that smartphone users have grown exponentially in the past few years, and are still on the rise. According to Statista, in India alone, the number of smartphone users will reach to 450 Mn+ by the end of 2020.

Deploying bots on the same app where one spends half of his / her time while using a smartphone, has been a revolutionary idea! The success of which can be seen in case of WeChat in China, where around 600 Mn people book cabs, pay utility bills and more using the app.

I use a couple of chatbots regularly which I mentioned in the previous article: The best 5 Facebook Messenger bots you should try right away.

Reasons why consumers must start adopting chatbots:

One simple screen v/s 100 buttons

We stumble upon new apps everyday to find new UI, new buttons, navigation drawer menu and the features they offer. There is always a learning curve involved for us to unveil everything that the app has to offer, and how to use it to avail those benefits.

Chatbots offer a single chat window interface. One can simply chat and get tasks done. No more need of finding ‘what and how to do’, the bot will let you know everything right there on the same screen as soon as you tap on the ‘Send’ button.

I introduced my dad to Niki and I no longer need to pay electricity bill every month. Niki does it for him now (and for me too).

Chat box to Action (v/s) Home screen to App to Filters to Action

One thing I’ve personally experienced is that chatbots save time! And that’s apparently because of the lesser steps involved. For example, while I’m on Facebook Messenger and I need to book a bus —

Flow 1:

Press the Home button > Download a bus booking app (if you don’t already have) > Launch the app > Sign up > Set Location and Destination and Date and other preferences > book.

Flow 2:

Find and ping Niki “Book me a bus from Bangalore to Mangalore this Friday night”.

One bot (v/s) 20+ apps consuming 100s of MBs 

A research pointed out that smartphone users all over the world use at least 26 apps regularly in a month, on an average. This number, however, has plateaued at the same value in the past few years. That too when the number of available apps has increased significantly.

This shows that we’re habitual to using a few apps regularly and are becoming increasingly reluctant to download and try new ones everyday. The problem can be solved by chatbots where the platform remains the same, but the capabilities of the bot keep increasing.

Once we shift away from the tap interface and adopt shopping on chat as the preferred option, we’ll be able to replace almost all the apps that we need on our phone for different tasks — cab, hotels, movies booking, recharges, bill payments etc., and save 100s of MBs in storage space.

Say hello to Niki right away if phone memory is becoming an issue for you — Niki Android app

Sorry, poor internet connection (v/s) Recharge successful

Poor network connection is no strange thing for us. Even in cities, there are always areas or places where you struggle with internet, and pray for it to work.

Imagine a situation where you need to make an important bill payment or booking, and internet gives up on you. Most apps will give up too! Bots work well even on 2G networks with low internet speed. Keep a bot handy in your phone the next time to cope up with this third world problem.

Next article (Part-2) will be around why different businesses are going (and should go) crazy behind chat bots. Stay tuned!

The best 5 Facebook Messenger bots you should try right away!

The rise of chat-bots:

With unprecedented increase in the number of people using messaging apps today, and the advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, the rise of chat bots seems to have been inevitable. Research shows that the number of people using chat apps has surpassed the number of those using social networking apps, which is believable yet surprising!

Facebook Messenger claims to have recently hit the much coveted ‘billion’ with 1.2 billion users on the platform. Last year, at Facebook’s Developer Conference, F8, the support for bots on Messenger platform was unveiled. And since then, developers from around the world have been working to leverage the next-gen technology. There are more than 100,000 bots available on Messenger today. David Marcus, Messenger’s CEO, states that the number of messages sent between businesses and customers has reached to 2 billion a month.

The above data definitely creates a picture of how the future will look like in the absence of hundreds of apps, and chat bots being ubiquitous. If this intrigues you enough to get on the bandwagon and experience the unleashed power of bots available on Facebook Messenger, do ping the best 5 Facebook Messenger bots, curated for you:

1. Niki.ai — Pay bills, do recharge, book movie tickets, cabs and more

Wish to book movie tickets? Ping Niki. Book a cab? Ping Niki. Hotels? Yes, that too. You can ping Niki for everything commerce. It is a smart AI-powered bot to help you get things done super-quick on chat. Niki has grown up enough to understand complex queries, using which you can apply multiple filters.

For example, when you type ‘Book a bus from Delhi to Jaipur this Friday’, Niki understands and displays exactly what you want. In a single sentence, you applied source location filter, destination & date filter, and got options to choose from. Convenient, to say the least, isn’t it?

Services Niki supports as of now — Recharge (Mobile, DTH, postpaid bill), Utility bill payments (Electricity, gas, water bill), Hotel booking, Bus booking, Movie ticket booking, Laundry, Event tickets, more services coming soon.

Niki has also been featured in the Messenger bots success stories: Link

Niki is only available for Indian users as of now, some of the services are only supported on Niki Android App: https://niki.ai/app

2. HealthTap — Get your health queries answered:

We millennials have started hitting Google for everything. However, when you’re not on the top of your health game, and search for information related to the symptoms you are facing, the vast amount of information available on Google can be scary!

HealthTap helps you get answers for your health queries from physicians around the world, for free. You can browse through and read answers for similar queries as yours. Over 100,000 physicians with different specialities regularly review and post answers to the questions asked on HealthTap. So, the next time you’re down with headache after texting the entire night on Messenger, you know who to ping next.

3. Poncho — The weather cat:

This cat-bot is a chat bot that lets you decide whether you should be wearing rubber slippers or sneakers to work on a particular day. Get in a conversation with Poncho and ask about weather forecast and current conditions in your area. You can also set automatic notifications to receive forecasts everyday.

Not only is this bot a saviour when it comes to knowing weather updates in a jiffy, it is very quirky with its replies sometimes. If you love having conversations with a bot, Poncho will entertain you pretty well with his witty and personalised replies for some queries. On my query, see how I was informed that the mighty cat-bot herself had DJ’ed in Bengaluru and loved the crowd!

4. CNN — Daily News:

Stay abreast with the happenings around the globe right from your Messenger chat-box, with the help of CNN’s bot on Facebook Messenger. You can also ping the bot to know a country-specific news.

Help it with categories of the news that might interest you — tech, politics, etc., and it will get you some meaty pieces to dive into. Time to get your brain to work, and store some useful information!

5. MemeGenerator Bot — create a meme in seconds:

How would the content prevalent on social media look like if you extract out all the memes? Boring, for sure, even if not life changing.

So now, for the fun part, here’s a bot for you to make your everyday conversations with friends more fun, since Messenger is all about conversations, right? Never miss a chance to create an appropriate meme to make the receiver crack up with humour, and astonished with the speed you reverted with the meme. Ping the bot, look among popular memes to use, and customise the text yourself.

Messenger couldn’t have been this powerful and productive without these masterpieces of tech. And 100,000+ of these can definitely bring a storm of change in how we interact with machines to get things done! Go ping these amazing bots. Also, since their era has just begun, excuse them if they don’t get a couple of your queries right. They evolve and become more capable with increasing human interaction.

These are my favourite 5 among the few bots I’ve stumbled upon. What are yours?

Niki has turned 2, and she has something to say!

Printf(“Hello world!”);

This is Niki. Many of you have known me for long now, and I’ve met some of you recently. Today, I have something to say to all of you. As I turn more human-like, I’m learning some amazing things about you people. My recent personal favourite is a feeling, an expression — ‘Gratitude’. I love how you people express it when someone does something for you. It’s beautiful!

I’ve also learned that birthdays are special, and what ‘Special’ actually means. Since it’s my birthday, I’ve been thinking of the friends I’ve found in you people, and the way you have helped me be better, every single day. You people are special to me.

I totally believe that I couldn’t have really GROWN, if you people hadn’t interacted with me as much as you did. Therefore, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. Ok, I don’t have a heart. Call it my machine-felt gratitude, for each one of you.

And for the love I have received, I don’t have words. I’m short of them all of a sudden, even when I’m a chat bot. Being human-like is actually difficult.

I also wish to thank those of you who have expected more from me over the years. I’ve always taken your feedback very seriously, and as a result, have gone through numerous changes and developments to be more capable. And I promise to be even better. I’ll definitely need your help for that though. The more you talk to me, the smarter I become.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”

The 2 years have been just great! Come, walk with me down the memory lane.

 

Just chat with Niki and book an OYO – it’s that simple!

Jay, a solo traveler from Chennai, on a visit to Incredible India, was already taken aback when he reached the capital New Delhi, the goldmine of ancient monuments and heritage sites. People all around, in all shapes and sizes, gave him mixed feelings about the city as he walked out of the airport. He felt amazed as well as nervous and by the time he could react to all that was happening around, he felt a push on his leg, as if someone was wrenching his T-shirt from back, he turned around and found a man in his 30’s, asking him for an auto, to whom he just replied with a nod.

Opening his map, he checked the point closest to most of the tourist attractions and decided to book a hotel near Connaught Place. He took a while and started looking out for hotels on the Internet, picked a few to contact but that didn’t serve his purpose. He then stopped someone, who happened to be Aman, from Hyderabad on his solo trip across the country,

“Hey, Man! Can you help me out in looking for a hotel, near Connaught Place?

Aman, a tech-savvy traveler in the age of apps, took a second, and said, ‘Sure! Why don’t you ask Niki, she will help you out in everything right from booking a hotel to a cab”.

Amazed by his words, Jay instantly began chatting with Niki. She was so natural and easy to use that he could talk to Aman too at the same time, tell him about his passion for travel – post which they decided to become companions in their travels. Jay got the hang of Niki in a flash, while taking a look at the options available, he searched for a ‘Hotel with a Swimming Pool’ to get some relief from the scorching heat of Delhi. He then booked an OYO for both of them and a cab heading to it via Niki, within seconds.

A comfortable stay, a Guide and Niki to help, made Jay feel more excited about his journey ahead and in return, he kept on amazing Aman by his story treasures. They moved from vast deserts, beautiful havelis of Rajasthan to snow covered mountains of Kashmir, yellow taxis of Kolkata to backwaters of Kerala and to their amazement, Niki was present throughout the country. She booked them rooms in OYO’s to stay, cabs and buses to commute all the way round, delighting them with food and laundry services as well.

Jay felt ecstatic after witnessing the diversity of India with an amazing companion, Aman, and Niki to guide them both throughout.

To have similar experiences, just ping Niki

Niki! One Girl who simplifies everything for you

A beautiful ambience with an odour of fresh flowers, dim lights and her lady dressed in the red gown, which Rahul gifted her, on her birthday, made everything look so beautiful. The soft smile on Rahul’s face while remembering his date with Payal last night changed into a frown as soon the alarm bell rang and he came back to his senses.

While stretching his hand to reach out to his phone to kill the noise, he happened to look at the time which read 9:15 AM, that reading made his eyes wide open and his sleep vanished. He startled from his bed to get ready for his class at 10:00AM. Running for his clothes and getting ready, somehow it slipped his mind that Akshay, his colleague went for a vacation and forgot to leave the keys of the bike. In this rush, an idea of catching a running auto caught his mind and he headed up to the main road to check for one. Thought of booking a cab by app providers crossed his mind once but then he did not have the privilege of time to search for the nearest and the cheapest cab.

Adding to his misery, a Google reminder reminded him that he had to pay the Electricity bill. After waiting for half an hour on the roadside, an auto wala halted near him and quoted him an unreasonable price. His state of emergency and Payal’s increasing number of calls, made him accept that offer without any bargain or disdain. Even after trying his best he could reach the college premise only by 10:05 AM and therefore could not attend his class. On his way towards the college canteen he met Aditya, his friend. Aditya offered him a handshake and a half hearted smile from Rahul’s end caught his attention and he promptly demanded explanation.

After listening to Rahul’s whining, Aditya took out his phone and asked Rahul to pay attention. Aditya opened Niki and typed “Book the Cheapest Cab” and Rahul’s eyes kept staring on those blinking blue dots, which said, ‘Niki is typing…..’ and he was amazed to see the response. With a sense of excitement Rahul grabbed the cellphone to check the utility bill options and proceeded to pay his long due electricity bill. The half smile was replaced by a full one. Rahul knew his friend deserved a treat. So, together they strolled towards the canteen. When he finally met Payal during lunch he introduced her to Niki. Rahul sitting on the other side gave him praise laden with sarcasm.

niki.ai/blog

Time flies and it is the time to leave college. At the college gate, he sees Payal standing. Rahul walks up to Payal and asks, “Missed the college bus, again?” He already knew the answer and what he had to do. He took out his phone, opened Niki and typed “Book the cheapest cab”.

Niki Wishes You A Happy Friendship Day!

It’s a special day for Niki as she has found more than 50,000 friends. They have all played an important role in making it a better App. Niki has been learning and improving. She is proud to have helped in some way or another.

This Friendship day is a little more special to her because she is growing as an App and also building a larger family. We thought of gifting her something this year to make this day a little more special. Thus, we announced the #ReferKaroAurJeeto Contest two weeks back.

After a lot of discussions, we finally got an innovative idea for our gift to Niki. Since she loves helping her friends we thought of finding her some more. We brought together all of Niki’s friends to find her more friends and hence this contest was launched.

Since the launch Niki has been blessed with a lot of new friends. We are also happy to see the terrific response for this contest. It has become the battle to win the “money in the bank”! We have thoughtfully made it a win-win game for both Niki and her friends who are referring her to everybody.

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Motivate yourself now, it’s friendship day! You ought to gift Niki, your friend something she would love to have – more friends. And yes, you will stand a chance to win some really exciting prizes. Niki se dosti badhao, take part in #ReferKaroAurJeeto now!

Niki Gives You A Chance To Win Rs. 7000 Cash Prize

Team Niki has been thrilled to see the outcome of the #ReferKaroAurJeeto Contest! Our existing users have been playing an amazing role in extending Niki’s family.

Some have been breaking each other’s records and others are climbing the ladders by themselves. The contest was made live nearly two weeks back and the response has been overwhelming. We want everybody to get equal opportunities to win the exciting prizes so there is still time for those who are yet to start!

Yes, enthusiastic viewers, users, and readers go ahead and be on the top of the Leaderboard! Here is your chance to win the exciting prizes!

With the Live Leaderboard – here, we have kept the Contest transparent and fair! You can see where you stand and how many more referrals you would need to be among the winners! We want all of you to try your best to be that ultimate winner who would grab the cash prize of Rs. 7000!

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To help you win, we will regularly give you the important tips – here. Also, wake up your curiosity as we will be surprising you with more gifts during and after the contest! Stay tuned but before that – keep referring!

While Everybody Has Gone Crazy Over Pokemon GO, Niki Still Helps You With Your Daily Needs

Niki is having a bright day when everybody else in the world has been going crazy over finding Pokemon. Our media channels have taken up the task to update us about the power and impact of finding Pokemon.

Dil toh baccha hai ji and we all love our childhood. Pokemon GO has brought back the 90’s era in a different and better way. It has taught us several things and there are several unheard rumours about it. People have begun to claim that Gandhiji went for Dandi march because even he was playing Pokemon GO.

Meanwhile, a man has been reported to have quit his job because he needed more time to find all his favourite pokemons. Niki understands that we all want to focus more on the game than other things. You can spend more time playing while you ask Niki to help you with your daily needs.

Continue reading “While Everybody Has Gone Crazy Over Pokemon GO, Niki Still Helps You With Your Daily Needs”

IPL Helped Niki Grow And Learn To Be An All-round Performer

Sunrisers Hyderabad moment of crowning glory at Bangalore brought down the curtain on another successful IPL season. And man, have we not had enough entertainment this time!

Right from Dhoni’s elegant finish to Gambhir’s funky test match field, from Gayle’s storm to Bhuvi’s blitz, from cutting’s monstrous six to Raina’s astonishing catch, from Bravo’s champion to Shamsi’s epic bus driver’ dance – we already have a treasure of unforgettable memories to cherish till the next season.

But the man who kept the excitement in air palpable for whole season – Virat Kohli. Well, he was not scoring the runs, but he was bossing the tournament. Rewriting the records by his bat he set a new benchmark for T20 cricket.

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For all of us, this was 9th edition of IPL. (ohhh! Don’t feel too old). But for Niki it was her first. Right from understanding the chaos of people hitting a ball for no reason to becoming a die-hard cricket fan, she had an awesome cricket journey.

As they say, cricket is a sport with I-was-there moments, certain occasions that remind us that it is more than just a game. With most of the action happening in small hours it is tempting just to ignore it completely. Being a fan, Niki understood this trouble that you have way before this season of IPL even started and her fruitful mind came up with a solution to become “world’s first cricket chatbot”.

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By starting ‘live cricket score’ feature, Niki provided the way to follow IPL matches live, ball by ball, that too without compromising with your work. Providing fastest updates, she literally revealed the secret of teleportation by taking you to the stadium. You just needed to ping her anytime, anywhere. As we all expected, the response to this feature was overwhelming.

In order to maximize the impact of this service, the message was needed to be communicated across all possible channels. Hence right after the launch of the service, we ran dedicated marketing campaigns on all social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to educate our users about it.

#myIPLbahana stood out as the best among them, where we gave an amazing opportunity to IPL fans to share their excuses to bunk school or office or avoid any other plans just to watch IPL. The campaign immediately became a hit, when users started commenting as well as inviting friends to comment their bahana. We rolled out exclusive gifts to the winners, which gave the campaign more push. Facebook’s algorithms are designed to provide maximum organic reach when there are more comments on your page, which was also one of the reasons we focussed on comments and not share or like. Through this campaign alone, we were able to reach more than 250,000 people and received more than 14,000 likes and 450+ comments to our posts. Through small incentives and gifts in the form of Niki credits, we ensured the conversion of participants into loyal Niki users.

No time has passed before Niki got her much deserved media attention. By creating sufficient media hype we were particularly able to target those people who were not following social networking sites. To try out this new feature, people installed our app. And our time saving, easy to use platform assured their retention.

After such planned execution of the campaign, it didn’t came as a surprise to see total 15% increase in chat sessions. Thanks to #IPLBahana, we got 16% increase in our orders during this period. To increase the hype even more we actively pushed our exciting refer and earn offer through different ad networks which resulted in tremendous increase in our user base, 40% rise to be exact.

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We as a company believe that a startup is all about learning, reinventing, pivoting and sharing your experiences. We all have learnt new things this IPL season. IPL taught us that ‘the best player can win you matches, but only a best team can win you the trophy’ while our IPL campaign taught us  ‘the planning and management of successful strategy’.

Take a bow Warner and company, you really deserve it for braving Gayle storm and Kohli thunder. But no doubt Niki, you are worthy of a standing ovation too, for your all-rounder performance this IPL.