Yalo is a Guatemalan-born, Mexico City-based startup, that helps businesses offer delightful customer experiences on Messenger. Every business on Yalo has a bot with an optimized flow that handles customer requests to the point of payment and fulfillment. Yalo also seamlessly transfers requests beyond a bot’s capability to a live person for resolution, and uses machine learning techniques to enable bots to learn from their human counterparts.
We caught up with the Yalo team recently to learn more about their approach.
In 100 words or less describe what you do:
Yalobot allows businesses to create and deploy their own bots by just chatting with it. No flowcharts, no coding, no headaches. You chat with Yalobot about your business: vertical, products/services offered, brand tone, etc. and at the end it gives you a bot that has been optimized for your type of business.
You can try your newly created bot and connect it to your business page without leaving Messenger. Once connected these bots give your business everything it needs to do enable commerce: credit card payments via stripe, order processing, content/inventory management, delivery through uber api, etc.
Who are you trying to reach?
The 50 million small and medium sized businesses on Messenger that want to offer a great selling experience through chat.
How did you go about designing this?
Doing things that don’t scale and paying a lot of attention. We started working with a couple of small/medium sized businesses in Mexico City in the verticals where we saw potential (food, beauty parlors, courses, clothing, etc.) and building bots that their users would love. This allowed us to understand what was the optimal experience that the end user needed (not necessarily what the business wanted).
After understanding how bots should work for end users and seeing them deliver good results, we set to build a tool that would allow any business to leverage this collective knowledge and create great bots. We did this by listening to businesses, understanding what they needed, how they interacted with technology. We realized that they didn’t want to think about user experience, copies, technology, platform updates, etc. so we set to take care of that complexity in the background and offer them a pretty simple but powerful tool. After many iterations, and getting rid of the unnecessary we arrived at Yalobot.
What have you learned since launching? Any surprises or successes you want to share?
As with any technology, getting user experience right is important, but for bots it is crucial. One wrong word and conversion drops by 20%, alter the steps in the flow and subscription drops 30%. It is not enough to do user research and some validation; some bots are a living organism and they need to be constantly optimized through data. A/B testing has been essential for getting experiences right. We do them all the time with the bots that are out there, and based on data we modify flow, copy, etc.
Handling expectations is very important. Our bots always make it very explicit to people that they are talking to a bot and that human assistance is there if they need it. By knowing what the bot can and can’t do, people use it to get what they need and not to play around, which drives better business results.
We determine success by how successful we can make businesses that use our technology. We have managed to increase sales conversion by more than 150% and retention by more than 80%.
What will you build next?
- Integrate more verticals
- Build more powerful content editing/updating (inventory management, etc.)
We chose Messenger for three critical reasons:
Reduces friction: People don’t need to download or go somewhere else to interact with businesses; they can do it from a chat that they already have installed on their phone.
Infinite funnel: Once a conversation is started, it goes with you everywhere; don’t have time to buy now? Buy later. Unlike web chats (or calls), if you close the page (or hang up), the conversation continues. This increases conversion as it is both real time, asynchronous, and notifications are relevant (unlike other apps where you have stopped paying attention).
Simple UX: People use Messenger every day. They are familiar with this interface, so there’s very little cognitive load when they interact with businesses on Messenger.
Our Building Bots for Messenger series highlights different experiences on the Messenger platform. These businesses and developers have approached building their bots in a unique and interesting way, and are seeing success on the Messenger platform. Look for more bot profiles right here on the Messenger blog.