11 Chatbots Every Entrepreneur Should Check Out
Luke Skywalker had R2D2, Tony Stark had Dum-E, Michael Knight had K.I.T.T, and Cooper had TARS. Quite a number of badass characters are accompanied by loyal robots.
What if you, too, could have your own robotic sidekicks to join you in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
I’m not talking about the type of robots that people in the 80s thought would be hovering alongside us by now. I’m talking about chatbots.
Supported by rapid developments in machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots are coming up fast. You can add them to the messaging apps you're already using — like Slack, Messenger, or Telegram.
Let’s meet 11 chatbots that every entrepreneur should check out.
Marketing & Sales
Platforms: Slack; Facebook Messenger
Growthbot is a sideproject of Dharmesh Shah, founder and CTO of HubSpot. He wanted a handy marketing bot, and decided to build one himself.
By connecting to a variety of external sources like HubSpot and Google Analytics, Growthbot can answer some interesting questions straight from Slack, Facebook Messenger, and even Twitter. Example questions include: “What software does company.com use?”, “What is trending on Inbound.org?”, “What keywords does company.com rank for?”.
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And Growthbot's functionality is continuously growing. Recently, it gained the abilities to tell you about PPC (pay-per-click) keywords a company is buying, about the estimated traffic of a specific website, what companies spend on marketing, and which social platforms are working best for your competitors. I'm always looking forward to new functions coming out.
Statsbot is a fresh and new way to explore your online analytics. By integrating with tools like Google Analytics, New Relic, and Mixpanel, you can ask simple and direct questions about your analytics and receive direct answers.
From inside Slack, you can now do data analysis, schedule reports, and — my favorite — get notified when something happens. An unusual spike or dip in your traffic? Statsbot lets you know.
Promote social connectivity within your team.
Donut is a great little Slack bot that pairs up people in your team to meet for lunch, coffee, donuts, or beers. At work, you naturally get more in touch with some colleagues than with others. Especially as your company grows larger, some people will hardly ever talk to each other.
The more connected your team is, the better the overall vibe, communication, performance – and the lower your employee turnover. Donut breaks down the shyness barriers between team members that don't really know each by pairing them up for coffee in a private channel.
Platforms: Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, Email, Calendar
Many entrepreneurs are heavy travellers. That's tiring enough by itself, so the option to bypass the scanning for flights can be a big relief. That’s what Hipmunk offers us. It’s a helpful travel assistant with a good dose of humor.
Ask for advice about when and where to go, use custom preferences, search for weekends and holidays, and search for exact dates and destinations. What I especially like is that you don't need to be overly specific. Type “Get me out of New York”, and Hipmunk will offer some nice getaway suggestions.
Platforms: Facebook Messenger
Market research is important for any entrepreneur. But getting your data can be difficult. Surveybot makes it easier by allowing you to set up interactive surveys for Facebook Messenger.
By setting up questions within Surveybot and connecting it to your Facebook page, your respondents can answer via their favorite messaging app, in a way that’s easy and fun. Start making more informed decisions, and stop spamming your target group with email surveys!
Coordinating Office Purchases
Platforms: Slack, Telegram, Kik
They say the motivation trifecta consists out of ‘autonomy, mastery, and purpose’. But there’s another, much more basic, fuel for your employees: food! Kip is a chatbot for Slack that simplifies the arranging of your office supplies.
Coordinate team purchases, add products to a team cart, and receive expense reports.
Automate common tasks
Howdy streamlines your team’s efforts. It allows you to automate common and time-consuming tasks by asking team members the right questions at the right moment. Besides that, you can set Howdy to ask for reports and status updates from your team, to ask custom questions, to set up custom reports, and to collect lunch preferences.
Howdy should be useful for any team with Slack, but it's especially helpful for those working remotely.
Welcome your website visitors
Platforms: Userlike, Slack
Live chat is the best way to offer support to your website visitors. The difficult thing with live chat is that it requires you to be online in the Chat Panel to answer the chats.
Not anymore with Chat Butler.
When none of your team members are online in the Chat Panel, Chat Butler welcomes your web visitors instead. Chat Butler isn’t very smart (he prefers the word “simple”), which is why he limits himself to easy tasks:
- He welcomes your web visitor
- He collects her question, while notifying your team to come online (e.g. by sending messages to your specified Slack channel or email address)
- When someone of your team responds to the call and comes online, he forwards the chat
- When no one comes online within your specified time frame, he collects the visitor’s email address and creates a ticket
This way, Chat Butler relieves your team from the need to always be online. Even support needs support sometimes.
Plan your day
Felix bot is a simple personal task planner that works within Slack. You tell him what tasks you'd like to finish, and Felix creates a list that you can cross off. It’s a very simple app, but that's perfect for many people.
Get info and updates about stocks
Platforms: Facebook Messenger
For those with an investment portfolio, Finance Bot is a handy robo-buddy to keep you informed about your stock performance. You can follow specific stocks, get updates, and ask for more detailed information. Nothing too deep, but simple and enough for those who aren't full-time brokers.
Sometimes I wonder whether Mark Zuckerberg wastes time on Facebook himself. As for most of us, we can easily admit that we occasionally get distracted from work. We all need a small dose of procrastination from time to time.
Telegram’s @CatzBot is the perfect bot for that. Whatever you send him, he'll send you inspiring pictures of fluffy cats in response. Good stuff.
Did I forget any handy chatbots? I'll be expanding this list as new useful ones pop up, so let me know through Twitter and I'll add them!