From the Wires
Guestfriend Launches Automated Messaging for Small Businesses Through an Intelligent Chatbot-as-a-Service Platform
By: Business Wire
Apr. 16, 2018 09:09 AM
Guestfriend, an intelligent automated messaging platform, today announced the launch of chatbots-as-a-service for small businesses. The new technology upends the AI space by bringing unique fully-functioning intelligent chatbots to market on an affordable subscription basis. The company is launching with a focus on restaurants as its first vertical.
Guestfriend builds a “virtual host” for any restaurant in seconds, saving restaurant staff time and increasing business by automatically answering menu questions, gathering leads, enabling reservations, and actively engaging with guests wherever they are online. A restaurant’s virtual host can be deployed on their website, Facebook presence, Twitter page, and on their Google search result through Google My Business. Importantly, Guestfriend allows the billions of people using Google, Twitter and Facebook to find out anything they need to know about a restaurant without leaving the platform.
Founded by serial entrepreneur and 20-year hospitality veteran, Bo Peabody, Guestfriend’s mission is to help small businesses grow by actively engaging with guests in real time through messaging, which is increasingly consumers’ preferred mode of communication. According to a recent study, 89% of consumers want to communicate with businesses via text, and many businesses have begun to actively use platforms like Messenger and Intercom to engage customers in this way. Guestfriend answers common questions about hours, menu items, and ambience, as well as tougher questions like: “Do you have a baby changing station?” or “Do you have vegan options?
“Most small businesses can’t afford to have someone constantly responding to messages”, said Peabody. “And even though 95% of businesses have tools like Facebook Messenger enabled, they cannot offer immediacy in customer support, resulting in frustrated customers and lost sales. In a world where businesses must constantly compete for consumers’ attention, even a few minutes waiting for a response can result in a customer choosing another option.”
According to Peabody, intelligent automated messaging is the best solution for businesses to engage with guests in real-time without having to pay staff to constantly answer incoming inquiries.
Peabody continued, “The chatbot industry is filled with dozens of industry-agnostic authoring tools that require hundreds of hours of work to create something functional. Most small business owners will never do that. Furthermore, Guestfriend offers an AI backend that is specifically trained to understand the language of each industry’s consumers. A natural language processor trained to understand questions about restaurants is very different from one trained to understand questions about hotels.”
“We’re excited to invest in the first platform that lets a business launch a customized automated messaging solution in a few clicks that can answer questions specific to that business in real time. We have learned that for chatbots to become widely accepted they need to be simple, effective, and inexpensive,” said John Borthwick, founder and CEO of Betaworks.
The company will soon launch Guestfriend on speech platforms like Alexa and Google Home. And while the current offering is focused on restaurants, the company is expanding quickly into a number of other small business verticals, from spas and gyms to hotels and home services.
“Our goal is to be the“GoDaddy of chatbots”, the go-to solution for any small business that wants to engage with their customers through messaging,” Peabody concludes.
Guestfriend is an intelligent automated messaging platform built on deep learning and artificial intelligence technology. The company offers a chatbot-as-a-service platform that allows a small business to deploy their own custom, fully-functioning chatbot in seconds on their website, Facebook presence, Twitter page and via SMS for an affordable monthly subscription. The first vertical focus is restaurants. The company was founded in October 2017 and is headquartered in Manhattan.
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