5 things you can do with Safaricom’s Zuri chatbot on WhatsApp

Instead of calling 100 and being made to wait for minutes to be served for something that you could do yourself if you were empowered to do so, then why don’t you do so?

I mean, Zuri, Safaricom’s chatbot, is here. It’s been around for 2 years now and while, as a chatbot, its capabilities tend to be limited, there is no shortage of small things (and even big things) that the bot can’t help you with.

While accessing Zuri in the past may have been tricky for those that felt that going to Telegram so as to be able to use it when they don’t use that app for anything else since everyone they talk to is on WhatsApp and they’re probably trying to wean themselves off Facebook so Messenger hasn’t exactly been a better bargain for them, there are no more excuses left. Zuri is on WhatsApp, too. Here’s how you can activate her and get going.

As soon as you get acquainted with Zuri on WhatsApp you will quickly learn how handy she can be as she’s at hand to help with just about anything.

Here are 5 things you can expect her to sort you out on:

1. Stop promotional SMS

Let us not go far. They are annoying. Zuri offers an easy way to stop them in their tracks. Of course, it will ask you to key in the name of the offending sender.

2. Stop subscriptions

Up there with promotional text messages on the top list of most annoying things that happen to us on our phones is subscriptions to products and services without our explicit consent. I wish we were at a point where this didn’t happen but the truth is, it is happening. Having the means to stop the unscrupulous faces behind such is a good place to begin even as we wish we had better means of stopping them. Zuri offers that.

Both promotional messages and subscriptions are the first item on Zuri’s main menu as if to emphasise the importance of having that as an option.

READ:  Keeping SMS spam and unsolicited subscriptions at bay on your Android smartphone

3. Get usage statement

Safaricom has a very neat and well-organized self-help portal for just about anything a subscriber like you and me would need it for: help with products and services as well as getting access to our own personal information that they have. For the latter, the self-help portal can be overkill.

At times, all that we want to know is to just make sure there are no ghosts on our phone that are responsible for all the airtime that we believe is “disappearing”. For such, a detailed one-week or 3-months statement would do, right?

So, why would you need to go all the way to a web browser to request the same? You could just chat up Zuri and you’ll have your usage statement quietly sitting in your Gmail inbox in a matter of seconds. All it takes is just 5 quick steps: accessing Zuri’s main menu > selecting “Usage Statement” from the main menu > selecting the period we wish the usage statement to cover > confirming our mobile phone number, providing the email address we wish they be sent to and, finally, validating that it is truly us making the request by entering our M-Pesa PIN when prompted.

Talking about M-Pesa…

4. M-Pesa reversal

Given how often sending of money to the wrong person or Paybill happens, even with the Hakikisha feature in place, being able to auto-initiate a reversal has been one of the best things about Zuri for the 2 years that she’s been around. On WhatsApp, this is also a top feature that many of us should use her for should the unfortunate happen. She’s faster than having to wait when you call 234 or when you DM Safaricom on Twitter.

5. M-Pesa cost calculator

Querying for the much it costs to send a certain amount is what brought me face to face with Zuri’s conversational alertness and its ability to add context to chats. It remembered the amount I queried the last time when I went back to find out how much it cost me to send money to a number.

This feature is located under the M-Pesa menu which can be found on Zuri’s main menu, one more step away.

While I have to admit that I have been spoilt by the app, this is almost effortless. Also, with a number of feature phones (not exactly our usual focus here at Android Kenya but hey, they exist, in huge numbers) being able to access apps like WhatsApp even though, for obvious reasons, you can’t get the mySafaricom app on such devices, WhatsApp is the great equalizer.

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Zuri can also do a number of other things but for those ones, like, for instance, checking airtime balance, it’s simply faster to use a shortcode than it is to chat her up.

Chat up Zuri!

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com