American Express has teamed up with full-service creative agency B-Reel to create a concierge bot integrated with Slack that makes buying tickets for, say Kanye, a snap.
AmEx VP global head of design Daniel Frydman and B-Reel chief strategy officer Kate Hironaka debuted the prototype at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival on Tuesday. Using the idea behind AmEx’s preexisting in-person and email-based concierge services, the teams built a Slack bot over the course of just two weeks that pulls information from Ticketmaster, lets users find events they’d like to attend, and then pay for them in Slack using an on-file credit card.
"The way to connect with a concierge is pretty limited to phone calls and emails," Hironaka says. "That’s fine, but the way we live today, it doesn’t seem like people have time to do that. A chatbot could be a much more streamlined experience, in an environment where you kind of live a little more."
The prototype is still in its early stages, but the demonstration was encouraging: B-Reel developed the bot to mimic the way its own team uses Slack, which resulted in an experience that's super conversational (with maximum usage of Giphy). If you have no idea what kind of concert you are looking for, but know you want something, the bot offers up genres of music narrowed by geographic location and date range.
The feature most likely to pull people in is shared ticket purchases. When the bot asks if anyone else is going to Kanye with you, just @-tag the person in your Slack group, and the concierge creates a new thread to settle the details and split the payment equally. No need for Venmo or IOUs.
At the moment, the bot is in its simplest form, but AmEx and B-Reel hope to open it up to allow for greater seat selection (it currently defaults to general admission), as well as purposes outside the entertainment industry. Though a launch date has not been set, they hope to start testing on American Express customers in the coming months.