Sometime last year, Safaricom introduced us to its AI Chatbot assistant that it is calling Zuri. This chatbot is meant to offer you a different avenue to use to access Safaricom services. The bot does not have that one stand out feature that is exclusive to it as it complements some of the other tools and avenues you are already using to access Safaricom services.
Zuri bot is available through Telegram and Facebook Messenger. Choose the one you are comfortable with, I decided to go with Telegram.
On Telegram access it through http://bit.ly/SafaricomTelegramBot
On Messenger access it through http://bit.ly/SafaricomZuriMessenger
Using Zuri Chatbot Exclusively
Since I was trying to figure out what Zuri has to offer and if it is necessary, I decided to use the chatbot exclusively for a day to access some of Safaricom’s services. I was open to anything as Safaricom has been making changes to the bot and I haven’t seen any of them. I used the bot to buy data bundles, buy airtime (through M-Pesa) and perform M-Pesa reversal. These are the tasks I perform on a regular basis and I was curious how the experience using the bot compares to using other avenues such as the mySafaricom App.
The above services are not the only ones you can access using Zuri, you could also use it to:
- Check Balance
- Access Chargeable SMS services
- Manage Bills
- How To services including Getting PUK, Unlocking M-Pesa account, Accessing M-Shwari or KCB loan just to name a few.
Having used Zuri chatbot for a day, this is what I found out.
Active Internet Connection is Needed
I know there are people who already know this, but there are other who may not be aware. You will need an active internet connection to use the Zuri chatbot. Those who have always preferred using USSD codes or the SIM toolkit should know this as they are the ones who have always accessed Safaricom services without an internet connection.
The fact that it requires an active internet connection should not scare you, the bot will not use much of your data.
Airtime top up
I wanted to buy the daily 1GB Giga bundle through Zuri chatbot but first I had to buy airtime to load to my account to get started. If you have enough airtime, you can always skip this step. I did not have enough credit so I had to buy airtime through M-Pesa before proceeding. Since there is the option to do so using Zuri, I decided to use this. All I had to do is open the chatbot and choose the “Airtime top up” option. You can choose to top up through M-Pesa or using a scratch card. You can even top up another number as you are not limited to your number only.
The process involves a couple of steps that will require you to confirm the top up method (M-Pesa or scratch card) you wish to use. You will then have to confirm the number you want to top up and then enter the amount and lastly confirm the purchase using your M-Pesa PIN. Since you are dealing with clickable menu buttons, the process is much faster as you do not have to type everything.
Buying the 1GB Giga Bundle
Buying data using Zuri chatbot is not that different from using any other method. When I say this, I mean the steps are the same but the experience may be different. Using the chatbot, you will have to confirm your number and choose the data bundle you want.
Before You buy the bundle you want, you will have to confirm you are the owner of the account by entering your M-Pesa PIN. This provides an extra layer of security but can be frustrating if you use this method multiple times a day. One thing I do not like when it comes to using Zuri to buy data is you cannot buy the bundle and pay directly using M-Pesa as is the option when buying using *544# or any other method. I hope we get this option as I prefer paying for data directly from M-Pesa and not using airtime.
Besides the drawbacks of using this method, the overall experience is smooth and straightforward.
If you have ever sent money to the wrong M-Pesa account, then you know that the process of reversing the transaction can keep you on the edge of your seat. The process has been streamlined over the years and you can now do that using Zuri.
To reverse an M-Pesa transaction using Zuri chatbot, all you need to do is type the M-Pesa transaction code or just copy and paste the entire M-Pesa SMS message and hit send and that’s it.
Will I continue Using Zuri?
Now the question is, will I keep using Zuri? The answer to this is I don’t know. As I have mentioned above, the bot does not have a unique feature that will make me come back. I am a big fan of the mySafaricom app and it does what I want it to do. I will keep using Zuri from time to time but it needs that one or even two features that will bring me back to it. The M-Pesa reversal option is cool and I prefer it over all the other methods available but we need more features that will make the bot unique.