Frequently Asked Questions

How is Chatbox different than what CPaaS providers offer?

CPaaS (Communication Platforms as a Service) providers allow a communication channel (text, voice, video) to be embedded into the front end of an application without a developer having to do all the back-end work. They provide the channel of communication (ie how the message is delivered) vs managing the content in any kind of meaningful way. Chatbox customers can use any of the various CPaaS companies (Twilio, Tyntec, Bandwidth.com) as a communication channel within the Chatbox integrated messaging ecosystem.

How are Chatbox Instant Apps different than other Instant Apps on the market?

First of all, Chatbox “Instant Apps” should not be confused with Google Play Instant Apps which are games or apps within the Google Play Store that users can tap to “try out” before they choose to install them.

Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, at a very high level Chatbox Instant Apps are lightweight but powerful HTML5 micro-sites. They deliver the types of GUIs (rich media, buttons, carousels) that various channels like RCS “Chat”, Apple’s Business Chat and Facebook Messenger have begun to offer, and combine that with the ability to exchange structured data in real-time in a highly-responsive, customizable and personalized manner.  However, unlike the visually enhanced channels listed above, Instant Apps are platform, carrier and device agnostic and provide a secure, encrypted environment in which to exchange data. Learn more about Instant Apps here.

Other technologies that have started to tackle the GUI and structured data exchange problem include Microsoft’s Adaptive Cards, [24]7.ai’s visual cards, Intercom’s Messenger apps and Smooch.io’s Conversation Extensions. And of course, custom built micro-sites for specific structured data use cases are also an option, albeit a very expensive, time-consuming, developer intensive one.

Chatbox Instant Apps can be built by non-developers in our WYSIWYG visual builder.  They are infinitely configurable and easily customized. And, they can even be “built on demand” by backend AI engines.  Learn more about our Instant Apps builder here.

How are customers going to see the difference between Chatbox and other messaging bots that lead users to a customized web app?

From the end customer’s perspective there might not be much of a difference in their experience.  However, from a build and deployment perspective, the difference is striking. Our Instant Apps can be built by a non-developer in a matter of minutes. These Instant Apps are platform, carrier and device agnostic. The data is encrypted to enterprise standards. The data is persistent on customer reload. And the data is trackable to a single, unique customer at a single moment in time.  

For instance, one of our customers recently built and deployed a custom Instant App for advanced post-sales customer feedback. They were able to build it in 20 minutes. They estimate that the same application, built as a custom micro-site to the same specification, would have taken at least two developer man-months.

Going even one step further, Instant Apps are architected so they can be built and deployed, on demand, by artificial intelligence.  We’re building for the future.

What is the difference between Chatbox and RCS ‘Chat’?

RCS is a channel for messaging that only works on certain Android devices.  Think of it as “super SMS” -- SMS with additional capabilities for rich media and some structured input types (button lists, carousel views, interactive maps).  RCS ‘Chat’ does not provide for encrypted data exchange. RCS is a channel, not a solution. A solution, like the Chatbox platform, will incorporate multiple channels, automation tools (bots), integrate with data sources, allow for agent escalation, and give key insights into usage through robust analytics.

Why is it so hard for chatbots and messaging solutions to collect and exchange structured data?

Bots and messaging solutions are restricted to the use of natural language via conversation flow for structured data capture.  So, the bots must ask questions one at a time to collect the required information and “slot” that answer into the field they are trying to fill.  Say you’re trying to book an appointment. The bot may need to ask you a series of questions like“What is your name? What date would you like? What time?  What service?” The answers to each of those questions will need to be interpreted correctly by the artificial intelligence in order for the appointment to be booked.  This is a huge problem, because the AI engines are likely to be only able to interpret an answer for each question about 90% of the time. The bot will, therefore, succeed in capturing all four data fields correctly in this simple use case only about (90% * 90% * 90% * 90%) = 65% of the time, meaning the bot will fail 35% of the time -- a very high, unsustainable failure rate.

In addition, if you mistyped your name and only notice this after you’re onto the third question, it’s very hard to change that earlier answer without confusing the bot and having to start all over again.

By using Chatbox Instant Apps to collect structured data, not only does the failure rate plummet to near zero because the customer is prompted with possible answers via graphical user interface, but they also allow consumers to make changes to various fields at any step in the process.

Instant Apps present the perfect paradigm for collecting and validating the structured data required to fulfill requests and generate tangible results.  To read more about the “bots and slots” conundrum, click here.

What is Chatbox’s biggest differentiator to the market?

Chatbox is the only platform on the market that helps companies “glue” together the six key technologies required to create, integrate, and automate personalized messaging experiences for their customers. These six key technologies are:

  • Omni-channel -- build once and deploy to any messaging channel (SMS, Live Chat, Facebook Messenger, etc)
  • Automations -- bring the bot you’ve built in Amazon Lex, Google DialogFlow, Microsoft LUIS or elsewhere and let it direct your messaging flows for 24/7 scale
  • Instant Apps -- the only solution for seamlessly exchanging rich, structured data within conversational flows
  • Integrations -- sync data to and from your CRMs, data sources and APIs
  • Agent Tools -- monitor conversations and escalate from bots to humans with full conversation history as well as any data collected in Instant Apps
  • Analytics -- monitor and track usage for further optimization

Other companies may be good at one, two or even three of the key technologies, but we’re the only platform that seamlessly integrates all six. Going one step further, the Chatbox integrated messaging ecosystem is flexible and extensible so customers can connect and leverage their existing (and future) technological investments without having to reinvent the wheel.  Learn more about the six key technologies here.

What is the pricing model for Chatbox?

Our pricing is based on monthly active customers and so scales as usage scales. Usage fees are triggered when the Chatbox platform is used to communicate with a customer during a given calendar month. Pay for the customers you communicate with and don’t worry about adding new agents to handle busy times.

Who are Chatbox’s customers?

Chatbox serves customers across such sectors as financial services, travel & hospitality, field services, online education, real estate, and more.  Sample customers include Travel Leaders Group, Progrexion (Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com), Coast Workplace Solutions, A Place for Mom and General Assembly.  We have also licensed our Instant Apps technology to Oracle for their Oracle Mobile Cloud Enterprise Intelligent Bots.

What size of company is Chatbox ideal for?

Companies that are looking to tackle personalized customer messaging at scale. Our platform is ideally suited for businesses that wish to communicate with more than 5,000 unique customers a month.  Core members of our engineering team previously built a global gaming platform that simultaneously served hundreds of thousands of concurrent users around the clock. Scale doesn’t scare us.

What types of companies/industries would benefit most from Chatbox services?

Your customer relationships directly impact your bottom line and so delivering personalized customer experiences at scale is critical. You don’t consider yourself a tech company or, if you do, it makes more sense to focus your engineering team on your wheelhouse vs trying to build and integrate all this yourself (good luck, by the way). You’re in an industry where your customers are looking to conveniently evaluate and narrow relevant options, receive or provide missing information and, above all, take action. You value your customers’ time and you don’t want to waste it.  Financial services and insurance, travel and hospitality, field services, online education, referral services, political campaigns, to name a few. We also believe there is a significant opportunity for bot platforms, CPaaS and CCaaS providers, among others, to white-label our Instant App functionality to supercharge their platform functionality.

Do I have to sign up to use all of Chatbox services or can I pick and choose?

Our platform is fully integrated and “unbundling” services doesn’t make sense from our perspective. You can activate what you want, when you’re ready to use it.  Our platform is open, flexible and extensible so you can connect your own bots, agent tools, CRMs, analytics platforms, etc. to leverage your existing tech investments right out of the gate.