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Booking an appointment using Facebook Messenger

Making UI's (user interfaces) is tough. It's tough because it's really the most important part of your B2C (business to consumer) app. Your app doesn't even need to do anything special if it looks damn sexy doing it.

At Spruce, we take the UI very seriously. If you've ever booked with us or ever visited the shop, you'll know we're crazy about the details. 

Why do I have to book using my phone?

If you didn't know this, the only way to book an appointment (before messenger) was through your phone. The biggest reason we have is that pesky thing called a "password." See, normally when you create an account somewhere you have to create a password. Seriously, so many passwords, so little brain memory!

So, rather than requiring everyone to create a password, we came up with an alternative. When you go to book your appointment you provide your phone number. Then, we send you a special, randomly generated link, that you tap that will automatically log you in! See, instead of making you remember your latest password, we use your physical phone as your password!

The second reason we do phone booking is that it's just too difficult for a part-time team to support all the browsers. It's much easier to support smartphones since they are often much more up-to-date than laptops and desktops.

Cheat and let's hijack someone else's UI

We really wanted to offer options (besides calling in like it's 1999) for people who did not have smart phones and when Facebook announced their Messenger Platform we figured it would be the perfect opportunity.

The Facebook Messenger API is pretty awesome. Since we already had an SMS based interface, it was pretty easy to take the idea of the finite state machine and use it to manage a Messenger discussion.

Tips for Creating an Awesome Bot

I recently stumbled upon this post by a Facebook engineer who shares his tips on building the best bot possible.

 

Note: I could not find a specific verbiage about the "null-state CTA" so either it's been removed, renamed, or he's just referring to the Welcome Screen by another name.

Give it a Shot

If you want to give our bot a shot, head over to the Spruce Facebook Page and message us!

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1 comment

  • Hi Taylor! This looks really interesting. What’s the take-up like from customers? Also, what do you use for managing bookings on the back-end? Matt

    Matt

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