This is the first part of a new segment of our blog dedicated to our users.
We get in touch with them and get to know what they are working on.
Our blog editor Luca realized this first interview, hope you’ll like it!
Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role?
Ishay: My name is Ishay and I am the CEO and founder of Initech, a leading Israeli based digital agency that specializes in the development of web, mobile and internet of things software.
We have been working in this field since a little bit less than seven years: much before the chatbots rise of popularity!
We are a digital powerhouse that worked with startups and online businesses in Israel, USA and Europe providing full-cycle of solutions ranging from product definition, spec analysis, UI/UX, development, QA, production. As I said: full-cycle!
Today we are a company of 25 people: part of our core team is here in Israel, in Ramat Gan, but we also have remote team members in different parts of the world. This allows us to provide a good level of service to our different customers, which are also global.
When did you start working on chatbots?
Ishay: About a year ago, maybe a little more. We started by developing our own internal bot for Slack.
It was called ‘Nudnik’, that in Hebrew means somebody that constantly reminds you to do certain tasks.
This bot asked team mebers to update their progress on certain tasks once a day, so the others could know.
That was our first experience with chatbots, and then we started doing Slack bots development as a company.
When Facebook announced chatbots for Messenger, we entered the area and focused completely on that.
We do a lot of customer education in Israel because the chatbot ecosystem is really young, even more than in Europe and in the USA. We meet small, medium and big companies and show them how bots could help them automate their business processes.
We believe that the AI area has not yet arrived so we have to focus on opening this new digital channel for businesses, by making our bots very simple and focused.
Do you think it’s important to design your chatbot before building it?
Ishay: Yes, and your tool has been really helpful for quick prototyping and making demos to show the customers quickly without having to actually develop each bot.
I like how it allows to build a very simple communication using all the main features of Facebook Messenger to simulate how the bot will work in the future. It made our life much easier. We also love the team option: nice and easy!
I think that BotSociety represents a new way of prototyping that didn’t exist before in the world of web and mobile apps.
It’s very hard to actually show how the user interaction will look in web and mobile apps, but that’s much easier in the chatbot area.
Your product allowed us to demonstrate our business ideas. It made our design and spec analysis teams’ work much easier.
In my team part of the people that use your tool aren’t developers, they have more experience in design, in product, in analysis but no technical experience.
For me BotSociety is similar to wireframe tools but it’s even simpler and it doesn’t require design skills.
You don’t need to be a photoshop guru to use BotSociety: it’s very textile, you need to think, you need to be able to make microcopy.
Instant messaging opens a new opportunity for people to enter this ecosystem. In web and mobile you should be at least a web developer or a designer to fully understand the product and the user interaction, when you play in the chatbot field you don’t even need a technical or design background, you just need to understand the customer and the platform.
And because the platform is mostly textile, it allows people from different backgrounds to enter this world. BotSociety is really helpful for them.
What project did you work on using BotSociety?
Ishay: At the moment we are working with different Israeli municipalities.
There’s only a small group of people that download and use their app, but they have a lot of facebook likes!
So I told them “guys…you need to use facebook!” showing them a simple demo I made using BotSociety. This sparked their interest and they started thinking about basing their customer service on chatbots.
We also have some customers in the food industry: For instance, we showed a big e-commerce site for wine a chatbot that gives advice on how to combine wine and food.
Why are you thrilled about chatbots?
Ishay: They’re a great two way communication channel: the business and the customer can now interact in an iconic fashion.
Customers can stop the interaction if they need to do something else, but they can still return to the process whenever they feel like.
I believe this is great for the sales process: there we all have the problem that if the customer ‘goes down’ in some place in the funnel, then he must restart from the beginning.
Chatbots give the opportunity to continue from the same point of the funnel were the customers stopped. They also allow businesses to send them alerts, reminders, discounts based on where they are in the funnel.
I also believe that chatbots could make Facebook pages more live and connected to the fans, while making the interaction much easier.
If you take a look at the psychological side of this, you could say that Facebook is now allowing businesses to enter a very private area: the area of friends.
Another area where chatbots shine is customer support:
What happens when you have some problems with electricity, water or even garbage collection and you try to call the municipality?
You need to wait in line until you get an answer. With chatbots you could get it instantly, while also adding images, locations etc.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Ishay: There are some things you could add to the platform. Messenger is always evolving so it’s a really hard task but you should be more compliant to its changes.
I also like that you come from Italy but you don’t use your mother tongue: you seem to understand that the world is a much bigger place.
You know that in many parts of the world people don’t speak English and that is great for your product.
It is one of our main advantages as well coming from Israel: we live in a very small country, our primary language is Hebrew which is written right to left so it’s even more complicated.
To us it’s much easier to understand localization problems and to provide well localized products to the customers.
Thank you very much for your time Ishay!
Ishay: It was a pleasure!