Andy Issott
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#HeadspaceStories 4 minutes 50 seconds with Phil Goddard

As the world moves towards a growing instant messaging culture, communicating through apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, iMessage and Slack, there is no surprise to hear that soon enough, people will have the ability to reach out to businesses via these messaging apps too.

This is the vision for Flow XO, developing messaging apps (or bots/chatbots) to allow users to interact with services as if they`re sending a message to another person.

Residing at Headspace Manchester provides great opportunities to network and work alongside some amazing entrepreneurial and creative business minds. This week I had the privilege of speaking to Phil Goddard, a member of our Manchester Headspace community.

Q) What`s Flow XO’s story, where did it all begin?

Flow XO is the brainchild of Managing Director, John Jackson. Having seen the rapid growth in instant messaging, an opportunity to create a chatbot platform. Based on the premise of chaining together third party API’s, (a set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.) to ultimately create an end to end service via messaging services.

Following me? Let me give you an example situation. Let’s say you are in a cinema and you are trying to book tickets for the next showing of the latest Marvel film. You are messaging your friends to get everyone together on whatsapp and they are on their way. You walk through the doors and up appears a message on whatsapp saying “Welcome! Looking to book a cinema ticket?” Instead of switching to another to book the tickets you would use the messaging app to reserve your seats, pay and even buy your popcorn for you to collect at the desk.

Q) What is unique about Flow xo?

A) We are a part of a new industry. A messaging industry and what is unique about us is we are able to create a user friendly platform that allows our customers to build a Chatbot specific to their end users needs. Most people associate Chatbots with artificial intelligence which is false, we educate and inspire our customers to teach them what is possible within the new messaging industry. We are able to show them the features and benefits it can provide for their specific business needs at a fraction of the price of an app or web development.

Secondly, using Chatbots for useful, purposeful end-to-end services, allowing users to ultimately buy a product or give a service at the end of their experience.

Finally the advantage of this tool is once it is built it can be deployed multiple times. This means instead of pigeon holing our customers to just, say for example facebook messenger, we would like to build one Chatbot with a variety of ways to gain access to a hundred different services. They can then use the one Chatbot on Whatsapp for example.

Q) How does it improve customer experience?

A) It really does depend on the user case, whether it be speeding up processes within hospitality of bookings and taking orders to allow staff more time to provide a more personal service or for an NHS practise to cut down on patients waiting to book an appointment and travelling to a doctor’s surgery for medical advice. The benefits can be endless.

Q) What are the future plans for Flow xo?

A) We are also developing the platform to work with voice technology such as Alexa and Google home which is becoming quite popular within the automotive industry. Just one example of what a Chatbot can do is programme a “Monday Morning Mood” by setting the temperature of your car and playing your playlist for that mood.

Q) What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A) I’ve always wanted to work for an innovative company and being able to build up a strong team that can work together for the task ahead. I enjoy working in a startup, studio environment which is exactly what Flow XO is all about. There is a high risk, high reward element within a startup company and getting it right the first time to enable you to be the first to market, there is nothing more rewarding.

Q) Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind.

A) Summer smells, meadow outside, Vitamin D and warmth?!

Q) What it is the hardest lego model you have ever constructed and how long did it take?

A) The latest collection of the ultimate millenium falcon, took about 35 hours and over 11 sessions!

Q) What takes up too much of your time?

A) Sleep.

Q) What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

A) If I could convince my family to do so… To travel with work and replicate what we have set up here around the world and taking my family along with me through the journey.

Interested in having your business showcased to the Headspace community? We encourage all of our members to do so. Email nm@headspacegroup.co.uk

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