When Facebook announced that they would be introducing bots to their Messenger platform, we were pretty excited by the numerous possibilities this would open for businesses all around the world. From airlines to restaurants, hotels, banks, you name it.
But what about the possibilities bots would hold for the average person ? You and I. How could we use bots in our day to day lives ?
Luckily, one man has the perfect answer to these questions. Meet Paul Njoroge an innovative,self-styled digital nomad from Kenya, currently based in Istanbul.
Now meet Paul Njoroge’s bot. A simple, fun and easy to use Resume bot that Paul built to tell his story to curious minds and potential future employers.
We caught up with Paul Njoroge (the man) to pick his brain a little and find out why he built the bot, how he built it and why he thinks bots could be the next big thing in the messaging front.
1.What inspired you to create the Messenger bot ?
I am a keen follower of major trends in tech. I enjoy reading content from Techcrunch, Tech Insider e.t.c and I just happened to come across an article that showed screenshots of Facebook’s M assistant. I thought that was the most awesome thing I had seen since Siri and I couldn’t wait to try it out .
Everybody talked about bots on tech reviews and that excitement drove me to really want to create my own bot . I presumed since this technology was relatively new nobody really knew much about it so it wouldn’t be that hard to build a simple bot.
2.Why Facebook Messenger in particular ?
I already knew one could build Telegram bots. Twitter bots like Microsoft’s Tay had also been heavily featured in the news.
However all those platforms weren’t as exciting for me to build a bot on because let’s face it, most of my friends use Facebook Messenger.
I also wanted it to be mind blowing when I sent someone a link to chat with my bot and especially the non-techie ones because I knew they weren’t aware that such a thing was possible on Messenger. Plus Messenger bots were a new thing and new is cool!
3.For all those curious about doing the same, could you give them a brief overview on how to create one ?
I am not an expert programmer but I was able to hack one together in a few hours. First thing you have to decide is what you want your bot to be able to accomplish.
It must do one thing and do it perfectly otherwise humans aren’t that forgiving to bots.
They imagine the bots are fully AI powered so they get disappointed when a bot doesn’t answer all their questions. I chose to build a resume bot as a great way to tell my story in a creative way.
Plus let’s face it writing long CVs that HR managers rarely read is quite boring. Linkedin hasn’t changed the game that much since profiles can rarely tell if the individual matches the team culture of a new company.
That’s why a resume bot makes sense for both a recruiter and job seeker. If you are interested in building a simple resume bot of your own Esther Crawford put together a good tutorial here.
4.Any interesting feedback so far ?
Of course humans will always be humans. Interesting questions have been asked despite the bot stating clearly that it can only talk about Paul.
One person asked how long the Brooklyn bridge is. Another one was frustrated when the bot got stuck and started typing /command lines.
However , I can happily say the bot accomplished it’s task and introduced me to several people.I couldn’t have met before. It chatted with people from VMware, Morph.ai, chatfuel e.t.c.Ongair’s CEO, Trevor Kimenye, even gave Paulchatbot a shout out on twitter.
5.Other than a resume bot, are there any other bots you would you like to create in the future ?
Yes, bots have wide applications.
I would like to create a livescores bot to track and send me GIFs of goals scored when my favourite PL team Chelsea is playing.
This solution already exists through apps but I hate the notifications plus it takes up too much memory on my phone for an app I don’t frequently use. A bot that knows when I travel and checks flight tickets then informs me when prices are lowest is a great addition too.
However, I am most excited about the space bots open for businesses in terms of customer support automation. It is way much easier to talk to businesses through messaging apps and customers will love it when they can get issues resolved quick enough. I am definitely going to be exploring and building bots for customer support in the foreseeable future.
6. The use of bots in Kenya is still quite new, what advice would you give to any business looking to take advantage of this new trend ?
Businesses should align themselves with current trends and go where their customers spend their most time on.
The newsfeeds of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are getting way too crowded and businesses will soon realize that their efforts on social are not too rewarding.
For businesses keen to engage their customers in a more user friendly way messaging apps are a good unpolluted space to get into early on. Emerging markets like Kenya have a high number of Whatsapp users. Businesses in Kenya should ready themselves and cultivate bot strategies to take advantage when whatsapp finally allows bots on its platform.
We know you're curious about Paul's bot and you probably want to try it out yourself.
It's pretty easy and straight forward, using either your phone or web browser, just follow this link (http://m.me/716043268533217) and start by typing ' Hi '. Now you can strike a good conversation with the bot, ask it a couple of questions about Paul and find out how you can get in touch with him if need be.
This article penned by Paul himself also explains why bots represent a big paradigm shift in our lifetime.
Enjoyed reading this interview ? or have a bot you've always wanted to create ? Let us know in the comment section below and we'll get back to you. You could also, check out our brand new Facebook Messenger Page and see how you too can get your business on Instant Messaging today .