Microsoft Launches Teams With Bot Integration To Take On Slack

What Happened
Microsoft has officially launched Teams to take on other enterprise chat apps such as Slack and Hipchat. The app is now available on iOS and Android smartphones and also downloadable for desktop devices running Windows and Mac. At launch, Microsoft Teams comes with about a dozen chatbots, most of which are also available on Slack.

Among the usual suspects, there is the Polly bot for conducting a quick poll among coworkers, the Statsbot for pulling data and reports from sources like Google Analytics and Salesforce, a Zenefits bot for managing vacation days, and a Kayak bot for checking flight information, all without leaving Teams. Microsoft says around 150 integrations with software and service are planned and will be added to Teams over the rest of the year.

What Brands Need To Do
The rise of workplace chat apps, influenced by the mass adoption of messaging apps as the primary communication channel on mobile, is quickly changing the way people communicate at work or in other professional contexts. They also offer brands a valuable inroad to reach customers at work and provide value. As they continue to overtake email as the primary communication tool at work and blur the line between private and professional communications, it is important that brands take the initiative to come up with a chatbot strategy to more effectively reach their customers via conversational interactions.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Header image courtesy of Microsoft Team’s website

PayPal Debuts Slack Bot For Convenient P2P Payments

What Happened
PayPal ventures deeper into the world of conversational services by launching its first branded bot on team communication platform Slack. Designed to facilitate easy peer-to-peer payments among coworkers and friends, the PayPal bot let Slack users send and receive up to $10,000 with one simple message of the shortcode “/paypal” and a Slack user handle. The bot is now available to Slack users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Although this is its first entry into branded chatbot, PayPal is no stranger to conversational platforms. Last October, PayPal joined Facebook Messenger’s beta program to allow bots to accept payments via its service. A month later, it integrated with Siri to let iOS users send and receive p2p payments via voice command.

What Brands Need To Do
Slack currently enjoys five million daily active users and 1.5 million paying subscribers. While that pales in comparison to Messenger’s one billion monthly active users, Slack’s unique positioning as a popular workplace chat app gives it an edge to help brands reach a certain upscale, professional demographic at work. Thanks to semi-open productivity tools like Slack, the workplace is becoming newly accessible to brands. While it’s an obvious place for B2B brands to explore, it may also make sense for some consumer-facing brands to reach their target audience in a work context.

How We Can Help
Based on our extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers, the Lab has developed a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data. If you’re interested in learning more about this or have a client opportunity, please reach out to our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 

 


Source: VentureBeat

American Express Creates Slack Bot For Buying Concert Tickets

What Happened
American Express is making it easier for its cardholders to find and purchase concert tickets within popular workplace communication platform Slack. Working with creative agency B-Reel, AmEx created a Slack bot that can guide users through the process with event data from Ticketmaster and, once an order is confirmed, use their on-file AmEx credit card information to complete the purchase. The bot also allows users to split the bill simply by tagging other Slack team members in their answers. The company debuted the prototype at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival on Tuesday, with plans to roll it out for public testing within the coming months.

What Brands Should Do
Slack currently has over 4 million daily active users, which represents a sizeable professional audience segment that brands can reach via chatbots. Previously, Kayak showcased a slack bot prototype to help customers book plane tickets via natural-language messages. This AmEx bot serves as a good example for brands looking to develop their own bots as it provides customers with real utility value and offers a seamless user experience thanks to the payment integration.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about building chatbots. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Co.Create

Taco Bell And Lydia Jump On Slack With Chat Bots

What Happened
More bots are coming to Slack to bring brands closer to the 2.7 million daily users of Slack, a fast-growing, team communication platform. On Wednesday, France-based peer-to-peer payment app Lydia debuted its chat bot on Slack that can understand users’ payment requests in natural language and help facilitate digital transfers between Slack users. Similarly, fast food chain Taco Bell also created a Slack bot to place, customize, and track users’ taco orders in a conversational manner.

What Brands Need To Do
While bots have long lived in the quieter corners of the Internet, the recent surge in messaging app usage and platform development is pushing them into the spotlight. Slack first launched an API for building bots on its chat platform in December 2014, and since then has been populated with bots made by third-party developers. Now, with Microsoft and Facebook both pushing businesses to reach their customers on messaging apps, we expect more brands to experiment with branded bots to connect with consumers.

To learn more about how brands can use chat bots to better serve customers via messaging interfaces, check out our Fast Forward feature on this topic.

 


Source: Wired & TechCrunch