Here at Chatfuel, we're always proud to show off the creative ideas and results of our users. A few years ago, we first communicated with Sarah Bromley, a Chatfuel user who was working on a language-learning project she created from scratch.
More recently, the chatbot for her Go Correct website received an award from the British Council in area of Digital Innovations in Language Teaching. That's why we interviewed Sarah about everything: how she got started, why a chatbot is a perfect tool for her business, and why her users love it.
"Go Correct is a service that allows English learners to practise the language every day by answering conversation questions and having their replies corrected by a human teacher."
We already posted the first part of the language learning topic. This is a full version of our interview with Sarah.
How did you get the idea to create a language learning chatbot?💡
I actually had the idea for this product about a year before chat bot functionality even existed in Facebook Messenger. I had the idea that advanced language learners would like a chance to practise every day by writing a short text and having a native speaker correct it. I'm a language learner myself and many English learners I came across in my English teaching work appeared to have a need for it as well. Before Chatfuel or Facebook Messenger chat bots existed I piloted a version of the product, just by manually sending messages on WhatsApp. When I heard about Facebook launching chat bots in Messenger I was excited because it meant I could start to make the idea a reality. The product that exists today is called Go Correct and is proving very popular.
Why do you think teachers and schools should use chatbots? 👩🏼🏫
These days everyone is constantly connected to a messaging app so it makes sense that any type of learning that benefits from regular study or practice is ideal for delivering through a chat bot. A chat bot can provide quick and easy access to snack-size practice or instant answers. There's another interesting aspect for language learning in particular - human interaction is vital for language learning but interaction with real humans can be difficult or expensive to arrange. If a chat bot that is designed to behave like a human could provide that interaction for free and on demand, then this would be hugely beneficial to a language learner. Some language learning chat bots have tried to mimic human interaction in this way, but none have really achieved it well, yet.
Why did you choose Chatfuel? What's the main benefit you receive from Chatfuel? 💙
I initially used Chatfuel because it was a quick, free and easy way to set up a first version of the product, to see if people were interested in using it. The key Chatfuel feature I use is sequences but back when I first used Chatfuel in 2016, sequences didn't exist. Chatfuel told us a solution would be coming soon so I patiently waited and they eventually introduced timed Broadcasts (now known as Re-Engage messaging), and later, Sequences. I've been using it happily ever since. As a start-up, Chatfuel has saved us a lot of money instead of paying a developer to code the various versions of the chat bot over the last couple of years.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from users about the chatbot? 🗣
Users are generally intrigued and delighted by the service that the bot offers. Many people still aren't aware that you can use chat bots in Facebook Messenger. Because Go Correct is so unique, users don't necessarily start out looking for a service like it but once they try it they realise it's exactly what they needed. Many users use it for several months. There are a couple of users who have been using it consistently for about a year. I really admire their dedication and enthusiasm.
What kind of results are you getting with the bot? 📈
Because the bot is part of a paid service that also involves human input, we don't get the huge numbers of users that some bots get. Since I started using Chatfuel roughly 2000 users have used the service in some form. Probably our best result has been winning an award from the British Council for digital innovation in language teaching. This annual award looks for products that have used emerging technologies to assist language learning and I agree that Go Correct is a perfect example of this. We were so delighted to win and very grateful for the recognition from a respected organisation like the British Council.
Which features of Chatfuel do you use the most? How often do you upgrade your bot? 🛠
Sequences make up 90% of the bot's functionality. We started out using timed Broadcasts (now known as Re-Engage messaging) for this purpose but then they were superseded by sequences and that made life so much easier. The bot itself is actually very simple but it's the additional external elements and the idea behind the service that make it really valuable for the user. We've been regularly tweaking and adding to the bot over the last two years.
What other technology are you currently using with your bot? How are you integrating it with Chatfuel? ⚙️
The Chatfuel bot is only one part of a bigger system that also involves a human manually correcting the texts that are submitted. We built an admin system to handle that side of things. Texts from the bot are automatically sent into the system. These texts also end up in the learner's dashboard where they can view the corrections and statistics about where they make the most mistakes. All of this was largely coded from scratch and we're currently planning development work to move it out of minimally viable product' mode into something that is more future-proof and scalable. We'll probably be looking for investment or funding in order to help us do that.
P.S. If you are a non-native English speaker and you want to improve your English, you can try Go Correct here. We ask that because Sarah prefers to prevent people trying the bot unless they're genuinely a potential customer. Otherwise, it just unnecessarily inflates her 'reachable people' count. Thanks!