Episode 11: Chatbots with Natasha Takahashi from School of Bots

Hosts: Fahad Shoukat and Andrew Wolfe

Today's Guest: Natasha Takahashi, co-founder and CMO, School of Bots

School of Bots is your one-stop shop for everything bot building, marketing, and sales. They teach entrepreneurs how to build, sell, and monetize chatbot.

Show Notes

Thoughtful Chatbots and School of Bots (1:10)

Three years of crazy evolution in the bot space; so much has happened

  • Facebook Messenger was the entry point.
  • Skype, Slack, and other bots were already around but they weren't B2C
  • Reaching the end user was key for unlocking value.
  • Little to no education around marketing and business ops applications for chatbots.
  • Training, marketing, monetization, sales, etc via chatbots.

Focus(es) for School of Bots (5:00)

Two businesses, two audiences.

  • Whitelabel bots for different marketing agencies. Building bots for application across many industries and markets.
  • School of Bots is mostly focused on teaching about how to add in bots and then how to set up campaigns and generate business results from the bots.

Bot Projects (6:54)

Difficult? Easy? Long lead time?

  • For an enterprise, pretty big and difficult. Especially since enterprise bots usually require multiple integrations with existing business systems.
  • For smaller organizations, relatively straight forward and time-efficient.
  • Starting with one use-case and proving that out is a great starting point.

What's the Tech? (9:00)

Off the shelf? Built custom and proprietary?

  • Off the shelf, primarily but it's relatively technical and involved.
  • ManyChat, Chatfuel, Zapier, Intragramat
  • Enabling integrations with most software platforms like Quickbooks, Salesforce, plus personalized workflows.

Managing the Shifting Sands of Social Platforms (11:57)

  • For B2C: Starting with Facebook is the default right now; could change. Facebook Messenger and What's App are great at the moment because of how much freedom bots have in these platforms. No other major platform has this level of integration and flexibility.

Leverage Insights and Intelligence from Chatbots (14:30)

  • The market is in its infancy right now, to be honest.
  • Dialogue Flow, powered by Google's ML platforms for natural language processing, is a big force in moving this forward.

What Do People Get Wrong with Bots? (17:34)

  • Trying to develop too much functionality too quickly in a bot. Too much too soon.
  • Need to carefully consider the roll out timeline of features and make it strategic.
  • Marketers ruin everything.
  • Need to make things conversational and fun! How?
  • The personality of the bot and how it expresses its personality (especially as an extension of the company's brand).

Should the User Know They're Speaking to a Bot? (20:39)

Bots at Personal Assistants/Shoppers (22:00)

Creating Thoughtful Chatbots (25:24)

  • Implement slowly and study users' behavior around each feature.
  • Integrate feedback strategically.
  • Keep user in mind at all point.
  • Craft a bespoke on-boarding experience to guide how the bot works and what future interactions with the bot will look like.
  • Identifying and learning from failures is also super important. Need to get context from the conversation before and after.
  • Use the analytics dashboards heavily to identify these issues.

Chatbot Trends for 2019 (32:30)

  • Salesforce Einstein bot
  • Bots for IT support internally for enterprises.
  • Facebook Messenger bots are still huge and growing.
  • What's App and Instagram bots are rolling out in 2019.
  • Legal chatbots for contracts and more.

UX and Bots (41:09)

  • How can people prepare to take advantage of the market demand for bots?
  • Voice is growing a ton as well - this is a huge area to focus on for UX.
  • Multi-modal UX is going to be a needed skill as chatbots integrate more with existing personal assistants like Alexa and Google Home and Siri etc.
  • Experiment with the platforms and see what's broken. Fix it.

Build Thoughtful Software
December 14, 2018
Fahad Shoukat
Written by

Fahad Shoukat

Fahad has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA. He brings over 15+ years in Business Development, Strategy, Sales, Product, and Marketing in various industries such as software development and Internet of Things (IoT). His experiences have led him on an unwavering pursuit to meet thoughtful people and build thoughtful software.