How did you get into bots? Where did the idea come from?
A well-fitted boot is the key to a great skiing and boarding experience. Excellent boot fitting is one of Snowcentre’s differentiators, and offering an innovative (and fun) way to book a boot fitting was a good fit with this. So when Theta chatted to us about bots, we started to get excited about the possibilities.
What does the bot do?
It’s pretty simple, really. Customers interact with the chatbot on Facebook Messenger to make, view or cancel a booking for a boot fitting. They can also get store contact information from the bot.
It’s got some clever stuff built in to perform these tasks. It understands store hours (per day) and the number of slots that are available per day (at some times there are more boot fitters available so more slots are bookable). And once slots are taken the bot knows so overbooking can't occur.
The bot also has email integration – sending booking notifications to the relevant store.
And how did it go?
Pretty well, I reckon. No-one else was doing this kind of thing, so we were first movers on the technology. Although not without risks, that position also confers some benefits. It shows that we take technology seriously, and that we are cutting edge and innovative. We got that kind of feedback from customers.
We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the bot was up and running, and it was great to then see the bookings coming in. The whole booking experience was streamlined, and feedback from staff and customers alike was very positive. They liked the design and the method of interaction – more straightforward, friendly and conversational than a web form.
And we may even have sold more boots as a result of the bot!
Anything you would do differently?
Mainly, we need to execute better internally. As with any technology project, it’s important that staff are trained to use it and help customers use it, and that our internal systems are aligned with what the bot’s doing.
How was the relationship with Theta?
Great! It was clear that they had thought deeply about the technology and how it might work for our business, and really brought us along with them on the journey - pushing us where necessary!
Would you do something like this again?
We will definitely use the bot again this coming season, and promote it more widely now we understand its value.
Snowcentre bot in the news
The boot fitting bot got this mention in a recent Stuff article about Messenger bots:
Some applications are very specific and nicely successful. An example here is the Snow Centre – an Auckland and Ohakune based ski and snowboard retailer. The Snow Centre bot allows you to book a boot fitting or gear tuning online via Facebook Messenger, dropping the booking straight into Snow Centre's booking system. It's simple but it's well executed.
Chat to us about bots
With more than a billion monthly users, Facebook Messenger is a great place to connect with your customers using a bot. Contact us now about building a bot for your business, or give it a go – chat to Theta Bot on Facebook Messenger.