What could heartbot do?

What’s the survival rate for children under five having open heart surgery?
Heartbot could tell you.

What time does the London to Brighton Bike Ride bus leave Brighton?
Heartbot could tell you.

What time is the Lewisham F & E store open on Saturday?
Heartbot could tell you.

Heartbot is an automated messaging service that people interact with through chat apps and services such as Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp. It can recognise keywords in questions, search a database of answers and provide the answer in real-time. It can cut down on the number of calls and emails to customer and supporter services, provide accurate relevant information quickly, and save people time spent searching through webpages for information that they should be able to get in better, more twenty-first century, more ‘digital’ way.

Customer expectations are changing

The onset of the digital age gave customers more discretionary control over what they buy and from whom they buy. However, even with businesses equipped to deliver on now sky-high consumer expectations, many continue to miss the mark when it comes to understanding customers and their buying journey.
In a time when the customer has so much control, channel strategy should no longer be the primary concern for CMOs. Rather, “engagement strategy” is the new name of the game, and if marketing teams want to succeed, they’ll need to change their perspective drastically and focus on making the customer journey more engaging.


When asking about a product or service, 66% of consumers expect a response to their query on the same day, and over 40% expect a reply within the hour.

-Survey by Lithium Technologies

Heartbot can meet those customer expectations of being more engaged, having queries responded to almost instantly, and building affinity with the BHF in a scale-able, cost-effective, and digital way.

Example of a simple customer journey

Here is an example of looking for an answer to the relatively simple question “What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” It shows the difference in customer journeys between searching on the web against asking Heartbot:

Search on the webAsk Heartbot
1.    Open browser


2.    Load google.co.uk

3.    Type “What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

4.    Get 839,000 results with links to Wikipedia, BHF, heart.org and WebMD.

5.    Click on one of the links (probably Wikipedia as it’s at the top).

6.    Load the Wikipedia page.

7.    Scroll through the page trying to find the answer amongst paragraphs of text.

8.    Go back to Google results and click on another link (probably BHF as it is second).

9.    Load the website

10.  The customer gets the information eventually but the journey they took was disjointed their relationship is more with google as the source of knowledge rather than the BHF.

1.    Open chat app of choice


2.    Click on conversation with Heartbot

3.    Type or speak “What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

4.    Heartbot responds “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an inherited disease of your heart muscle, where the muscle wall of your heart becomes thickened. Would you like to know more: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/cardiomyopathy/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy

5.    Customer is satisfied with the answer and with the speed and ease of getting the answer. The customer relationship is intact and

Conclusion: Searching for answers on the internet is a (relatively) long difficult process that interacts with multiple brands, services, and websites and relies on the user being persistent and making judgements about which sources to trust. Searching for answers using a messaging service to interact with a trusted, well-known authority is fast, easy, trust-worthy, and in our control.

How Heartbot fits with BHF Digital Transformation

The BHF digital transformation strategy centres around aim of creating a digital experience for our customers that is both inspiring and rewarding, and how the experience we deliver can make our customers feel confident, appreciated, satisfied and valued:

Customer Focused

“We put supporters, volunteers, patients, carers, researchers and health professionals at the heart of our digital experience to build mutual trust, add value and meet them at their point of need.”

Heartbot enables supporters, volunteers, patients, carers, researchers and health professionals (and employees) to access information when they want it, using their preferred messaging app, almost instantly.

It Works

“We continually strive to provide a great digital experience that works first time, every time (irrespective of device, browser, and connection).”

Messaging apps and chatbots work in all devices, across multiple platforms, and require far less of a reliable connection than visiting a webpage. Chatbots also use less data allowance on mobile phones than loading a webpage.

Creates an Emotional Connection

“Digital will be used to build long term relationships and create a strong affinity with the BHF.”

Particular messaging apps/services may come and go but the trend for messaging apps and for chatbots is here to stay. Developing a long-term relationship with a customer is easier through a messaging service as it is the BHF they are interacting with, not Google, etc., and providing information quickly and easily builds greater trust in a brand as it is clear to the customer that the BHF wants to provides the information, rather than making the customer scrolling through webpages to get it.

How Heartbot fits with the BHF 2020 Strategy

Heartbot is the perfect digital transformation vehicle for the BHF because it has the potential to deliver improvements across multiple strategic themes:

Listen, Engage, Influence. Heartbot enables the BHF to speak and listen to many thousands of people in a personal engaging way through their messaging app of choice, and build on that relationship using the data provided by the customers.
Grow Income. Heartbot enables Retail to provide information such as where a shop is and when it is open, and Fundraising to provide information about events such as how to sign-up and when the events starts.
World-class Organisation. Heartbot enables employees to access information quickly and easily and reduces the burden on customer contact teams answering simple informational requests.
Support. Heartbot enables people with questions about heart health conditions to access information at a time and in a way that is convenient for them, from a trusted source that can

Example of a simple chatbot in action

A chatbot in action

This is a simple chatbot I built for Slack in about twenty minutes.

It isn’t very intelligent and simply uses keywords in the question to associate and deliver a pre-defined answer. Heartbot would be a far more advanced version that works across multiple messaging platforms.

Additional thoughts on Heartbot

Innovation in the charity sector

Using a chatbot to provide information to supporters, researchers, employees, etc. would be an innovative use of the technology within the charity sector.

An internal knowledgebase

Heartbot would provide an internal knowledgebase for BHF employees (regardless of being behind the BHF firewall) as well as giving supporters, patients, researchers, etc. the information they are looking for. It would be able to answer questions like ‘Who is responsible for adding recipes to the Recipe Finder?’ far more quickly than sending an email to someone who you think might know the answer, taking up their time, only for them to reply that actually they don’t know, but suggesting another person to try. Perhaps the internal version of Heartbot would be able to link to pages on Heartnet.

Administration and maintenance

Heartbot would have an administrative overhead in collecting all the information from across the BHF into one place and in maintaining the information as it changes over time. There should also be an ongoing process of analysing the questions Heartbot can’t answer and adding to the database of answers to continually improve it. However, as a Heartbot can answer thousands of queries at the same time it is an easily scale-able means of achieving efficiencies in how we access information internally and how we deliver information externally. A single source/service for information is far more efficient than people emailing or phoning each other (both internally and externally). Heartbot could lessen the workload of Supporter Services by answering simpler queries and handing the customer onto to a person if required.

Ongoing contact

Once a person has begun a conversation with Heartbot (see the growthbot example below for how to do this) we then have the potential to pick up that conversation at a later date by introducing a new topic, e.g. “A month ago you asked about a healthy diet. Would you be interested in signing up for Dechox, a way to give up chocolate and raise money for the BHF?”.

Further reading about chatbots

Infographic: Consumers Don’t Mind Hearing From Brands on Messaging Apps – http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/infographic-consumers-dont-mind-hearing-brands-messaging-apps-172431
Facebook Messenger for Business: Six Ways Brands Can Use Chatbots – http://www.edelman.com/post/facebook-messenger-for-business-brands-chatbots/
GrowthBot is a chatbot for marketing and sales professionals. It connects to a variety of marketing systems (like HubSpot, Google Analytics and others) and gives you quick, easy access to information and services. http://growthbot.org/
Facebook Messenger, Chatbots and the Opportunity for Customer Engagement – http://www.creativevirtual.com/facebook-messenger-chatbots-opportunity-customer-engagement/
The Rise of the Bots – What marketers need to know about chatbots – http://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/managing-marketing-technology/the-rise-of-the-bots/
Will Intelligent Personal Assistants Replace Websites? – https://moz.com/blog/intelligent-personal-assistants-replace-websites