As the world moves towards a growing instant messaging culture, communicating through apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, iMessage and Slack, there is no surprise to hear that people are also starting to reach out to businesses via these messaging apps too.
This is the vision for Flow XO. They’re developing tools for their popular software platform to allow their customers to develop messaging apps (or bots/chatbots) to allow users to interact with services directly through their preferred messaging platforms.
Residing at Headspace Manchester provides great opportunities to network and work alongside some amazing entrepreneurial and creative business minds. This week I had the privilege of speaking to Phil Goddard, a member of our Manchester Headspace community.
What's Flow XO’s story, where did it all begin?
Flow XO is the brainchild of Managing Director, John Jackson. He saw the rapid growth of messaging services and an opportunity to create a unique chatbot platform. The premise was to integrate third party API’s, (a set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.) to ultimately offer the tools to enable customers to create end to end useful services via messaging platforms.
Following me? Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in a cinema and you are trying to book tickets for the next showing of the latest Marvel film. You are messaging your friends to get everyone together on WhatsApp and they are on their way. You walk through the doors and up appears a message on WhatsApp saying “Welcome! Looking to book tickets?” Instead of switching to a website or traditional app to book the tickets, you would use the messaging app to reserve your seats, pay and even buy your popcorn for you to collect at the desk.
What is unique about Flow XO?
We are a part of a new ‘messaging industry’. We are able to create a user friendly platform that enables our customers to build Chatbots specific to their end users’ needs. It is our responsibility as part of this new industry to help educate and inspire our customers of what is possible. We are able to show them the features and benefits our platform provides for their specific business needs at a fraction of the price of a traditional mobile or web application.
Our focus and vision is very much on Chatbots being useful, purposeful end-to-end services, allowing users to ultimately buy a product or receive a service in an environment that they are familiar with.
Finally the advantage of this tool is once it is built it can be deployed multiple times. This means instead of pigeon-holing our customers to just, say for example, Facebook Messenger, they can instead build one chatbot and have end users access it from their preferred messaging platform, like WhatsApp or iMessage.
How does it improve customer experience?
It really does depend on the user case, whether it be speeding up processes within hospitality, such as managing reservations and taking orders to allow staff more time to provide a more personal service. Or for an NHS practice to cut down on patients waiting and managing appointments for a doctor’s surgery for medical advice. The benefits can be endless.
What are the future plans for Flow XO?
Our vision is to continue to inspire, educate and facilitate our customers and our peers in the messaging industry. By looking much further ahead we can provide the tools necessary today for our customers to build the chatbots of tomorrow. We are also viewing our platform as a ‘conversational service platform’ and developing it to work with voice technology such as Alexa and Google Home. This will open up many more user cases for us including accessibility and apps for the automotive industry.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I’ve always wanted to work for an innovative company and being able to build up a strong team that can work together collaboratively. Working in a startup allows me to help establish a ‘flat’ organisational structure where every individual’s input is welcome and encouraged. This is essential when you’re working on products that are first to market in a new industry in its infancy.
Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind.
Summer smells, meadow outside, Vitamin D and warmth?!
What is the hardest lego model you have ever constructed and how long did it take?
The latest UCS Millenium Falcon, took about 35 hours and over 11 sessions, however the Tumbler Batmobile was 95% black pieces which was probably the most taxing :)
What takes up too much of your time?
Nothing really takes up too much. I’m continuously trying to find a balance between family life, work and staying healthy and active.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I’m already doing it! In terms of adventure, the next stage with Flow XO would be to help create multiple product teams in different locations, taking my family along for the ride.
Interested in having your business showcased to the Headspace community? We encourage all of our members to do so. Email firstname.lastname@example.org