How We Hustled to Make People Try Our Event Chatbot

Saturday, September 15, 2018

We built ProBotDev Event Chatbot to make it easy for everyone to create chatbots for events. Coincidentally, after we graduated from SITEC Selangor Accelerator Programme, SITEC was in the midst of organizing a convention, which we thought could be the perfect pilot for us.

We went to pitch the organizer, and they were excited. However, a few weeks down the line they informed us that they don’t have the bandwidth to manage the chatbot. In addition to that, they had commissioned a 3rd party to build an app for the event. The app would be mandatory, as it generates the QR code for registration.

We told them that we would do everything for them, and we did indeed. We scraped the information ourselves from the event website and fed it into the chatbot. We created another Facebook Page because we didn’t want to trouble them installing the chatbot into their Page. We even had the chatbot to recommend the app.

When the chatbot was ready, we emailed them the marketing materials so they could tell their users about the chatbot. However, they told us that they couldn’t promise anything, as they still wanted to focus on the app. We were on our own again.

Using Microsoft Word, we designed a very simple flyer with QR code (generated from ProBotDev) and the URL of the chatbot. We then printed a few copies of A5 size and a few dozens of 2” by 2”.

It was 2 AM, and the event was 6 hours away.

We came early to the event and asked the crews for permission to stick the A5 flyers at the self-registration counter and a pillar next to the main entrance for the exhibition:

Scan the QR Code to chat with the chatbot.

Scan the QR Code to chat with the chatbot.

We then put some of the 2” by 2” flyers next to the other brochures:

2" x 2" flyers.

2" x 2" flyers.

and the rest in the conference room (only one row, we ran out of flyers):

Flyers on the chairs.

Flyers on the chairs.

The Result of the Event Chatbot

Event Chatbot traction for the 1st day.

Event Chatbot traction for the 1st day.

By the end of the first day, more than 400 people have tried the chatbot. The organizer had told us that they’re expecting thousands of attendees, so it looks like a failure. However, let’s compare that with the app downloads in the Google Play Store:

Comparing it with the app downloads in Google Play.

Comparing it with the app downloads in Google Play.

We can’t see the AppStore, but in general iPhone vs. Android in Kuala Lumpur is 50-50, so we can assume a similar number. As you can see, Event Chatbot is doing pretty well!

In terms of interactions, as we had anticipated, most attendees asked about typical things like schedules and speakers. There were some edge cases, which we will use to improve the chatbot.

Conclusion

We believe that the chatbot technology has a bright future (heck, we even call ourselves ProBotDev, literally Professional Bot Development), but we don’t think it will replace apps and websites.

Chatbots shine when the interaction is short, such as asking to track for price changes (we built Sarah Shopper, the Lazada price tracker), asking for upcoming events, or asking for recommendations. The keyword here is “ask,” and the result must be short and concise.

To be clear, we don’t hold a grudge against the organizer. We understand their situation, and we’re very grateful for the opportunity.

Are you looking to build a chatbot for your next event? Give ProBotDev Event Chatbot a try!