Ta-dah! It’s finally here! Our very first scheduling bot on Slack!

Our entire team is thrilled to launch the open beta of our Slack bot, and wanted to share how we decided to build the bot and what you can expect from our new product.

Why Slackbot?

While running our email bot service, our team took a closer look at how we schedule our own meetings and were able to elucidate three key points to address to better our product.

  1. Our team meetings are mostly ad-hoc meetings, set up quite spontaneously.
  2. We spend way more time on Slack than we do in email apps.
  3. Checking conference lines and time zone differences by Kono email bot is pretty useful, but toggling between email apps and Slack isn’t.

To address these problems, we decided to build a Slack bot that will handle scheduling from within the app. A bot that lives on the same platform we use to communicate and requires fewer steps than an email bot does.

Met Slack HQ Team

To fully incorporate Kono to Slack system, we met with Slack HQ team last November to present this idea, ask for feedback, and share our concerns and questions. There were two key recommendations we got from this extraordinary opportunity that guided our approach, thinking, and user experience.

Always chatbot is better than app-like bot? No!

Slackbot interface is moving into an app-like form rather than just a chat. Build a bot that has an app-like quality, putting users on a predictable path where they engage with UI elements and can see how the bot carries out a scheduling task. Give users ability to set up a meeting.

Give users ability to set up a meeting.

Enrich interaction with rich controls. Use ephemeral messages to ask users who they’d like to invite, what time frame they’d like to host the meeting, or if they’d like to opt in to this meeting. We found this play a big role in building trust over the bot.

What To Expect?

Since its private beta program started earlier this month, our team has discovered two cases in which our Slack bot, Kono, can be useful in a team setting.

The first is as a work calendar within Slack — Kono will create a list of meetings everyone in your team has scheduled and send it to each person as an ephemeral message when requested.That way, you and your team can see what they have for the day/week at any moment of the conversation in a channel.

The app-like UI of Kono Slack Bot
The app-like UI of Kono Slack Bot

Kono is also useful as a repository for your team’s availability — The bot double checks every party’s availability in order to schedule meetings without conflicts. This means that every meeting is at a time that would work for everyone without further consultation. Keeping the messaging back and forth minimal is essential when setting up meetings on the fly. You’ll see how easier it is to set up group meeting with Kono than polling.

Kono for Slack - Schedule a meeting with @marc @susan next week
Kono finds the best days & times by checking every party’s availability and many other contexts of the meeting

Call Kono in your own natural way —Don’t worry about your mistypo or abbreviations. The bot understands your own language for scheduling. For example, “show my events next tue”, “can you can change my event with @ellen next week”, “set up a call with @marc, @suzy tmrw”, etc. Another good news is as you are using Kono more, it could learn more about your expressions. Don’t forget Kono is powered by Kono.ai. 🙂

What are you waiting for?

To experience this Bot in action on your Slack Team, head over to Kono Slack Bot’s Webpage here and add it to your team. (https://kono.ai/slack/)