Paypal’s Chatbot for Slack is a Darling

What makes a good chatbot? In my opinion, it is the bot’s ability to perform a task more efficiently than an app.

The growing chatbot rage has forced the emergence of chatbots to the enterprise level as well. Hundreds of startups and companies are ready to step in and unleash their chatbot creativity onto the masses, but not every chatbot has the potential to shine in the bot world. On the other hand, Slack is going head to head with Facebook in this chatbot scenario. Slack has been an enterprise sweetheart since day one and a great playground for chatbot developers. This conversational storm has made many companies launch their own chatbots and PayPal has just jumped on the bandwagon.

Screenshot taken via Slack

Needless to say, we all use Slack for almost ten hours a day. Slack has over five million daily users and that makes it a good market for the PayPal’s bot for P2P payments. With the PayPal chatbot, people are able to make payments while using Slack. Before the Slack bot, splitting money for lunch was a hassle because you had to go on the web portal and make the transfer which broke the workflow. Right now the chatbot is only available in US, UK, Canada and Australia, but it will soon be available in other countries.

PayPal joining Slack is not much of a shocker because Slack recently announced its new product called Enterprise Grid, which is a set of enterprise tools, business intelligence and analytics tools. The initial customers are IBM, PayPal and Capital One. Slack also shook hands with SAP which is ready to integrate all its chatbots into Slack. PayPal’s entrance in the chatbot market depicts that consumers are getting used to this way of communicating and the industry is going to boost. A report by Technavio states that the chatbot industry will grow with a CAGR of approximately 37 percent during the next five years.

When it comes to the conversational part, the bot is a bit dry. It performs the task efficiently, but it’s not a chatbot you would want to talk to in a playful manner. Try asking it random questions you’ll receive those grumpy sorry-I-don’t-understands every time. In a way, it is not bad, it is rare to see a chatbot that performs well and talks good too. Enhancing the conversational aspect, adding wit and catchy phrases often leads to low quality performance in tasks. The chatbot runs on simple commands like “/PayPal send $5 to @Sarah.” and you will be able to transfer the money while staying in the program. If you are using a credit card, you will be charged with a fee of $0.45 on sending $5.00 but it is worth the ease.