For our startup series, today we are interviewing Karen Villard from Neuroplanner

Neuroplanner logo

Ok so, what are you building?
I’m building Neuroplanner, the first and only science designed planner that integrates neuroscience to the heart of life planning.

Where are you based?

How did you come up with this idea?
I was at the tipping point of my advertising career having only one day of break each month. My performance dropped as complaints from clients poured on, which was far from my top evaluations before I got the promotion. I then gave up on a dream I’ve studied and worked so hard. In my defeat, I felt the will to strive and craft my own story towards greatness. I found the answers deep rooted in myself: my brain. Neuroscience have helped me piece together a higher level of perspective towards life. So now, I’m sharing this to all the dreamers, creators, and achievers who wants to plan more, create more, and be more productive.

In which phase are you in?
Invite-only Beta! You can require beta access here

How is going so far?
I celebrate every small win but there are two project highlights that helped the trajectory of the product. The first milestone was when I did a survey last year. In this study, I found out that half quit their plans middle of the year and that 40% of them are not confident with their skills. The second milestone is during the product’s Alpha Testing. While the product content had excelled in delivering it’s expected value, the planners find the weekly layout restricting in terms of time and space. The customer feedback that I’ve gathered had been extremely valuable not only to the product development but to my skills as well as a start-up entrepreneur (hint: vulnerability to criticism).

Why are you using a conversational interface?
I’ve used the conversational UI to create a mock on how a conversation goes between a customer and an enterprise. It has been helpful on so many levels, for example:

  1. Understand the timing of conversation flow to make it feel like having a real conversation
  2. Spot common mistakes like grammar, repetitive responses, and order of conversation
  3. Watch how the conversation really gives value to your consumers.

Why are you designing your interface before actually building it?
I’m still trying out different chatbot platforms on beta phase and I haven’t found out which one to use. The interface stores a ready template for me that I can encode in these platforms. While some provide easy drag and drop interface, I’ve also encountered platforms where I need to code. This a challenge to non-programmers like me as I will spend time configuring a conversation in a programming software. With a design interface, it helps me to really know what I want to achieve even before it goes to coding.

Did you design your conversational UI before using Botsociety?
Actually, no

Karen BatungonHow did you discover Botsociety?
I’ve been hearing about machine learning bots from ex-colleagues in the media advertising industry. But it was in a start-up community that really made me interested in this area. I was more sensitive to chat bot startups in the past few weeks and Botsociety came across while I was trying some chatbot platforms.

Did you change your mind about designing a conversation after you used Botsociety?
Botsociety inspired me to look at conversations differently, that it’s not about representing the brand but to see the overall user experience. As a first touchpoint, I initially thought of providing product-centric conversations. I realized that I should also bring value to these conversations. For example, I’m a science related product thus I need to wow the users with neuroscience concepts. So, I’ve added interesting science features like (1) Show Me Happiness that replies with an animated .gif showing a neurotransmitter being dragged that illustrates what happens in our brain when it is happy and (2) Tell Me a Neuroscience Joke. This kind of conversations help the brand be relatable and its human personality comes through. I wouldn’t have thought of this if I wasn’t watching the whole conversation piece from a design interface like Botsociety.

Ok! This is the end of the interview, something else would you like to share?
Encountering Botsociety while in the midst of searching for the right chat bot has helped me realize that I need to plan the conversations that I will have with my customers. I need to ensure that my first touch point will provide great user experience while getting the answers they need. With a brilliant conversation design, I believe that customers will find self-help FAQs a more enjoyable user experience.


Categories: Interviews

Vittorio Banfi

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