Doing business means handling logistics. The more successful you are, the more obnoxious your operations. Luckily, the recent growth of bots and artificial intelligence has led to automation of the more onerous, mundane, and repetitive parts of startup life.

Entrepreneurs, take heed. These powerful startup bots save you hours every week so you can forge a semblance of work-life balance, or simply work more effectively if you’re the workaholic type.

 

Expensify’s Concierge Bot Automates Expense Reporting

Everyone wants reimbursement or tax deduction for corporate expenses, but no one wants to shoebox receipts and fuss over expense accounting. Expensify’s Concierge bot can automatically read, categorize, and update the correct expense report so you can sit back and relax. “She” can even evaluate your submission against your company’s expense policies to figure out if you qualify for reimbursements.

Concierge is built so seamlessly into the Expensify app that many users aren’t even aware they’re interacting with artificial intelligence. According to David Barrett, an Expensify representative, “it’s possible you’ve already spoken to Concierge without realizing it, because her first job at Expensify was something every one of our employees does every day: customer support.”

 

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Expensify’s Concierge bot pops up seamlessly after you SmartScan a receipt in the Expensify app.

 

Dropbox’s Messenger Bot Enables Seamless File-Sharing

Switching tabs or apps to transfer a file to someone you’re chatting with used to be a painful necessity of multi-tasking. With Dropbox’s Messenger bot, such inefficiencies are eradicated. Drew Houston, Dropbox founder and CEO, emphasizes that “we want to help you tie together all these different tools you’re using without prescribing that you have to only use the stuff that we make.”

By clicking on the “More” button in Messenger, you can link your Dropbox account with Facebook seamlessly send videos, photos, and other bulky but important files. While the integration might seem like a minor optimization, the time and mindshare you save will add up over hundreds of shares.

 

Zendesk Connects To Customers Directly Through Messenger

Ever spend minutes hunting around on a business site for a customer support email, live chat, or phone number? Or go back-and-forth with a customer support agent for days just to resolve a simple issue? Zendesk eliminates frustration for both end users and the businesses they want to reach by enabling integrated customer support via Facebook Messenger chatbots.

In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Adrian McDermott, Zendesk’s Senior VP of Product Development, emphasized that the company is “focusing more and more on customer relationship, understanding and having full context of the customer.” Brands like Everlane, Zulily, and BarkBox have seen average response times decrease from 60 minutes to under 4 minutes with Zendesk’s Message product.

 

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Zendesk’s Message product allows customers to engage with businesses and track orders via Messenger.

 

Salesforce’s LiveMessage Will Scale Conversations For Business

Salesforce’s LiveMessage – slated for a Winter 2017 release – promises to allow customer service representatives to interact with customers across all their preferred messaging channels, like SMS and Facebook Messenger. Additionally, LiveMessage will support automated chatbot building tools that can help handle higher customer load.

At Dreamforce this year, Marc Benioff emphasized Salesforce’s focus on “conversation as a platform”, putting the company in direct competition with Oracle, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Salesforce’s unique advantage is the valuable customer data they centralize for their clients in the form of their powerful enterprise and CRM tools.

 

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Salesforce’s LiveMessage promises to scale customer interactions by combining bot functionality with live agent responsiveness.

 

Scheduling Bots Replace Your Executive Assistants

Between interviews, fundraising pitches, company meetings, and business networking events, entrepreneurs have insane calendars to manage. Since small startups don’t have the luxury of dedicated executive assistants, calendar management and scheduling bots fill in the labor gap.

Enterpreneurs have a wide array of options to choose from, including Zoom.ai, X.ai, Kono.ai, Clara Labs, Julie Desk, and ScheduleOnce. Each has pros and cons compared to competitors. Zoom.ai is available on the most platforms, Clara Labs is highly customizable, X.ai reportedly has the most sophisticated artificial intelligence, and Julie Desk offers a human-bot hybrid solution to handle more edge cases. Some of these assistants are so popular that there’s wait list to try them.

 

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AI-powered scheduling assistants like X.ai’s Amy eliminate the need for expensive executive assistants.

 

Hire More Bots To Save More Time

We’re on the precipice of massive changes in automation and AI-assistance in the workplace and these entrepreneur-friendly bots are only the beginning. From automating your expense reports with Expensify to scheduling meetings automagically with X.ai, entrepreneurs are already winning precious hours back by adding useful business bots to their teams.