BJTech: Chatbots to help young entrepreneurs and SMEs run businesses online

BJTech bots like Bang Joni act as a personal secretary to help with everyday needs © BJTech

As more businesses go online during Covid-19, BJTech is using chatbots to help them manage customer service, inventory tracking and more


Chatbot developer BJTech creates a variety of smart bots to help businesses enhance their communication, marketing and management tasks. But instead of focusing on established businesses as many of their competitors do, the startup has been targeting SMEs run by young entrepreneurs.

It’s a group that rarely look at adding chatbots. BJTech wants to offer them ready, easy-to-use toolkits so they can incorporate the bots in their systems from day one. 

“We started our journey by developing a product that suits the one demographic in Indonesia that is most adaptable toward technology, which is young people,” COO Arra Primanta says in an interview.

Launched in 2015, the company's first major product was Bang Joni ("Uncle Joni"), a virtual friend that could be accessed through LINE, a messaging app popular among younger users and known for its playful emoji stickers. Bang Joni helps users to complete simple tasks like buying train or bus tickets, phone and internet credits. The bot also recommends restaurants, hangouts and gives weather/traffic updates. Bang Joni attracted 600,000 users within three years.

Building on Bang Joni’s success, BJTech wants to get more Indonesian companies to use chatbots or virtual assistants integrated in messaging apps to perform mundane daily tasks.

With a population of over 270m, Indonesia boasts several homegrown e-commerce unicorns like Tokopedia and Bukalapak housing millions of sellers on their marketplaces. The online sellers and micro-businesses also use social media and messaging platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and LINE to promote and sell goods directly to customers.

Automates customer chats, other tasks

BJTech uses NLP and AI to create the chatbots. Besides serving young entrepreneurs who are already digital natives, the startup is also targeting SMEs that rarely use chatbots for business. The Covid-19 pandemic has also forced many offline retailers to move their businesses online. 

“This is a situation where everyone is trying to wrap their heads around this thing and keep their businesses alive,” says Primanta. That’s where BJTech can help. “Retail businesses are using chatbots to automate orders and deliveries to continue serving their customers, without them having to leave their houses.”

He adds: “It goes back to our initial vision and mission, which is to establish ourselves as providing CRM solutions in the form of chatbots for […] SMEs and online sellers in Indonesia."

The company, which also counts major companies like Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Coca-Cola, Sari Roti and minimart chains Alfamidi and Indomaret among its clients, is developing new products for SMEs. It created Balesin ("replying" or “reply to”), a casual Indonesian expression clearly aimed at the younger hipper market. 

“Our Balesin assimilation in WhatsApp is our mainstay product,” Primanta says, pointing out that the messaging service is used by 83% of Indonesia’s internet users, about 124 m people.

Balesin can respond to redundant questions that shop owners – who often work with limited time and resources – receive numerous times daily and can be an enormous source of stress. The client can use the app to feed the answers to the FAQ page and the bot will automatically respond to customer queries with the relevant answers when prompted. The chatbot can also automate other tasks including catalog browsing, adding to cart, calculate shipping costs, recap orders and track customer insights. 

BJTech chatbots can easily be integrated within the client’s social media pages that act as e-shops. Besides virtual assistants, BJTech also creates information-sharing chatbots that can used by banks, startups and agencies to communicate in real time with customers. Chatbots can also be designed for digital marketing campaigns and for internal staff communications like automated memos.

Creative marketing collaborations

BJTech generates revenue by providing CRM solutions and SaaS services. A variety of promotional strategies, including digital advertisements, are used to reach out to potential clients. Bang Joni was successfully marketed through a member-get-member campaign that rewards users who introduce the app to other users. Bot features such as free chat forums, weekly horoscopes and quizzes are showcased on social media to attract younger users.

BJTech collaborates with clients to create bots that engage specifically with each brand's target audience to build a strong customer database, says Primanta. For instance, participants of “Coca-Cola Score A Trip to England” get a chance to win a trip to England to watch a soccer game by recommending the quiz to their friends. The campaign brought in 180,023 LINE contacts, or LINE friends for Coca-Cola.

A similar marketing campaign was also launched by the flavored tea brand Frestea. The BJTech-created quiz bot attracted 293,745 LINE friends and over 1.38m digital submissions to be used for future marketing programs.

“These achievements come from a balanced collaboration of marketing strategies and our chatbot solutions,” says Primanta. “Our B2B revenue model charges according to the client's needs, usually at around IDR150m–600m. Our SaaS model starts from IDR79,000–900,000 monthly.” 

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Edited by Suzanne Soh

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