More and more Bots are popping up across different platforms every day. This means a constant flow of helpful and useful ways to improve productivity, communication and overall use of the internet and all that it has to offer. However it also comes with a swathe of hastily built and thoughtlessly released Bots that don’t quite hit the mark in terms of ease of use or enjoy-ability. In fact, some are so bad that it’s not worth using them at all. Further to this, some quite simply completely copy Bots that already exist, and unless they add a new and innovative element, it’s never endearing to piggyback off someone else’s idea. Inevitable but certainly not a winning move.
In a sea of ever increasing Bots gearing up to chat with us (Telegram especially, that Bot store is flooded), how do we determine where to start? How do we know which Bots are worth talking to and which aren’t? What really is a good Bot experience? Today we take a look at these questions with the hope of determining the best way to navigate the waters, determine which Bots to chat to and examine how to get the best experience out of the interaction.
Where to start and how to find Bots worth talking to:
Before even thinking about beginning Bot interactions, it is vital to have a platform via which you can use them to their full potential. At this stage the best places to do that are on Telegram, Kik and Facebook Messenger, or Slack if you’re in a team/group/office scenario. Skype is tagging along and intending to expand its Bot universe but isn’t quite where it needs to be yet. Whatsapp is certainly joining the fore but is yet to launch its Bots or make any true, significant headway. So, if you aren’t already on one of the three aforementioned active Bot platforms then the first step is to get yourself plugged in. It’s worth noting that telegram is the only one that doesn’t require a mobile number to start an account and you can use it via desktop. The other side of the coin is that the Facebook and Kik Bot catalogues are marginally more refined, especially that of the latter. Also, if you are using Skype actively, it’s definitely worth utilising their current Bots to the full extent and getting in the swing of it ahead of an anticipated increase in their presence on the platform.
Once you’re online and ready to go, there are numerous ways (depending on your platform of choice) to find good, usable Bots that will actually benefit you. The first thing worth considering is that verified and popular Bots are likely to be so because they were either developed in a partnership with the platform or are popular simply because enough users deem them to be useful or interesting.
If you’re using Telegram or Kik, the best way to do this is to look at top rated Bots, those rated as interesting, those that rank at the top of each category and those that have a look of positive reviews from users. In the Kik Bot shop, the best Bots will appear on the home page. Anything from a big brand (like H&M is likely to be of a reasonably high quality but that doesn’t mean small or obscure Bots are worth overlooking. It’s just best to start with the high rated, highly regarded options so that you can get used to using the technology and then determine what specific types of Bots you want to explore further. You’ll have a better radar for what’s good and what’s worth avoiding at that point anyway.
The home page of the Telegram Bot store functions in a similar way, where the “Top Chart” Bots are displayed first, making it easy to determine what is popular
and likely worth trying out. There’s also the “Best New” category which is curated based on what’s been getting the most clicks, so Bots featured there are also very much worth having a chat with.
As Facebook doesn’t have its own Bot store, it makes this process a little bit more complex. It’s best to browse via botlist.co, before searching for the Bot via the Messenger app. Here you can find featured Bots, new Bots and anticipated upcoming Bots. On the left hand column of the page you can toggle to only see Bots for Facebook Messenger, however these aren’t organised by any other category. So if you see one you’re interested in, the best bet is to click on it and have a look at some of the reviews.
Skype offers a system of verification, so keep that in mind when looking at their Bots. This is identifiable via a verification stamp. As for Slack, pretty much all the Bots features at the top of the list work very well, that’s a matter of reading the descriptions and deciding which will work in your channels.
What defines a good Bot experience?
A good Chatbot experience is essentially defined by three things. The literal purpose that Bot serves, the quality of the Bot in terms of achieving this purpose and the nature by which you can interact with it. When it comes to the first qualifier – the purpose the Bot serves – it’s really about personal taste.
For example, if you want a Bot that will help you with managing a flight booking, you’ll find the KLM Messenger Bot extremely useful but if you don’t, you’ll obviously never use it. The same goes for Music searching Bots, quiz Bots and any other category under the sun. Once you’ve found a Bot whose literal function interests you, the next issue is whether it actually works well. Take Country Quiz for Kik for example, this bot is for those who want to be quizzed about the flags of different countries and is fulfils its task with 100% accuracy (from what we’ve experienced). The one mark this Bot misses is that you can’t have a chat with it, so the overall experience isn’t entirely complete, as far as we’ve come to understand the role of bots, that is. Andy Learn English on the other hand fulfills its promise, works well and is also able to interact on another level. For example if you tell Andy that you can already speak English, it’ll just talk to you about your day. Cute.
Summary: A good bot is easy to find, easy to use, has a distinct purpose and a little bit of flair.