The Drop September 2018

New in Smooch this month: File type validation to help protect against harmful software; a new guide to help you use metadata to personalize conversations further; ICYMI our WhatsApp webinar recording; customer spotlight on Structurely; small updates to APIs; and oh yeah — we won an award!

What’s new 🎉

Safely send & receive files with file type validation

In order to protect you and your users against potential harmful software, the Smooch API now detects what types of files are uploaded by businesses and users and refuses files that are not on our whitelist. We’ve been closely monitoring file uploads for over a month to ensure legitimate files won’t be refused. If one of your files gets rejected when it shouldn't have, please get in touch with our Support team and we’ll update our whitelist. Learn more about our file validation logic in our new guide where we cover file types accepted, the rules for rejecting files and what happens when a file is rejected.

Personalize conversations based on context with metadata

What if a live agent or bot knew a user was one step away from checkout with a loaded shopping cart? Or that they recently complained about a product experience? Smooch gives you the tools to surface up proprietary behavioral and transactional data during a live customer interaction to help deliver a more personal experience.

Adding metadata to a user’s profile, to an action they took or to the message they sent and making it available in the agent’s UI can help answer questions faster, close more sales and provide an overall better customer experience.

For instance, you could provide information to the agent or bot about what page a user is on while they chat with the business, what’s in their shopping cart, how much they’ve spent over time, if they are part of a VIP or loyalty program, what their last purchase was and the date that it was made, the last time they visited the website or mobile app, what pricing plan they are on, etc. You can surface up this information in real time and as it changes throughout the conversation.

Learn about the custom properties that can be added to user profiles and check out our new Using Metadata guide that shows you how to leverage this information in your software. Note that our Web SDK 4.14.0 has just been updated to be able to attach metadata before the message leaves the SDK to reach the Smooch platform which will ensure updated metadata is available when the business receives the message.

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Missed our WhatsApp webinar? Watch the recording!

Last week we teamed up with our friends at Sparkcentral and KBC Bank for an insider’s look at how to use WhatsApp Business for customer care and engagement. Our CEO, Warren Levitan, covered why omnichannel business messaging is the next frontier of CX and what makes WhatsApp a perfect channel for business communications. Sparkcentral shared some great insights and benchmark stats about how to forecast messaging volume and best use cases for messaging. Meanwhile, KBC Bank talked about their experience rolling out WhatsApp to their customers, how they scaled their program, trained their staff and their learnings so far.

If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, here’s the recording.

Customer spotlight 🌟 Structurely

Over the last two years, Iowa-based Structurely has developed a lightweight CRM for real estate agents that aggregates leads from multiple sources like Zillow and Realtor.com and engages them through messaging — with a little help from an AI-powered chatbot and Smooch.

In a world where top real estate teams can receive up to 600-700 leads per month, Structurely’s chatbot sorts through the noise and qualifies buyers and sellers for Realtors. Information on each lead gets stored in the platform which can later be used to nurture unresponsive leads over time. Realtors are able to monitor the bot’s conversations across any channel and take over when necessary thanks to Structurely’s agent-facing apps. Their platform also leverages NLP to listen for key words and phrases that indicate when a conversation is going off the rails, and automatically bring a human agent into the loop.

As a result, Realtors are converting more leads, growing their teams faster, and freeing themselves up to focus on the parts of their job that require a human touch. Check out how Structurely is changing the game for the real estate industry.

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Industry news 📰

Smooch named CIX Top 20 company

We are proud to have recently been named Top 20 most innovative Canadian technology companies of 2018 by the Canadian Innovation Exchange. For our CEO Warren Levitan, this was the perfect occasion to reflect on the past year and to highlight the capabilities we have added to our platform, the new channels that we have made available to you and some of our customers who have been doing amazing things with Smooch. His blog post is a handy recap of our major releases and a good way to make sure you’re fully in the loop with what’s new at Smooch.

Other API & SDK updates ⚙

  • Node.js API library: We shipped a new update to our Node.js API library with new function signatures for appUsers.create and appUsers.update.
  • Anonymous user naming: Last month we changed the logic we use to assign a name to anonymous users and stopped using auto-generated animal names for them. However, if you’d still like to use animal names, we’ve updated our App API with a new useAnimalNames setting.