For years, big companies like IBM, Oracle, or Microsoft have been selling custom chatbots at prohibitive costs.
However, the recent innovations have allowed new chatbot platforms to exist, allowing them to build chatbots for little to no price.
Combined with the growth of messaging apps such as Whatsapp or Messenger, a new era is on its way. The age where companies have conversations with their customers.
Bots are powerful tools that can help your company to scale operations on a day-to-day basis. Every business can benefit from it.
Whether you're a sales team, a marketing team, or a support team, chatbots can empower the presales process and improve the customer service experience.
That's why using chatbot software is now a decent strategy to improve your business operations.
To help you and your company we've decided to create this article that will explain:
- Why are customized bots now accessible to every business?
- What is the development process for a custom chatbot?
- What does the chatbot development process involve?
- What kind of custom chatbot do I need for my company?
Honestly, a great alternative to bots are chatbot platforms (also known as "chatbot builder"). These software are straightforward to use and they don't require any coding skills.
Why are customized bots now accessible to every business?
Talking about customized bots as AI bot is overkill. You have to be aware artificial intelligence isn't available to all customized bots.
Since the 1950s, machine learning systems have been around. so why are we suddenly seeing a breakthrough in so many diverse areas?
Over the last two decades, data has become a commodity, hard disks have seen tremendous growth in file storage, and valuable scientists such as Yann Lecun have revolutionized the market with essential findings.
Thanks to these factors, chatbot pricing has decreased, allowing companies to access to the conversational revolution.
As you might know, there various types of customized chatbots that can integrate with your company.
Before going further, let's have a look at the development process of a custom chatbot.
What is the development process for a custom chatbot?
Developing a new product is costly, particularly if you're starting from scratch, trying to build a chatbot that uses NLP.
However, if you start to develop custom bots using a builder, pricing will be pretty cheap.
In fact, the development process is quite different based on the type of chatbot you build.
It's time to define the project purpose, and value proposition. Set goals, expectations and data required.
Having a proper understanding of what your chatbot will do will help you a lot when building it.
Here are some questions that can help you to define the size of the project:
- What is the size of your business?
- What do you want your chatbot to do? Is it entertainment or 360 customer support?
- Which processes can be automated within your business thanks to a customized bot?
- How many messaging platforms are you willing to automate?
- How many users do you expect to help?
The discovery phase is also about learning what are business requirements, in terms of features and behavior.
For example, you can seek out to define:
- Conversational flow
- Interaction channels (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Line ...)
- Integration (Stripe, Hubspot, Microsoft ...)
- Natural Language Processing
- Languages (Python, React, Node ...)
Developing a chatbot with a third party company
Using a third party company to build a custom chatbot can be an excellent asset for your project. Is it going to be a freelancer? Offshore company? Big local business? You better deal with these questions before going any further.
Besides the price, choosing a third party agency will impact the process length and the technological know-how.
This is the first factor that will impact the price of your custom chatbot.
As we discussed earlier, channels are vital to determine your chatbot cost as you'll have to connect it with each of these channels.
Will your customized chatbot only connect on messaging apps such as Telegram, Line? Will it be available on your website?
You can also think about a custom voice bot using Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.
This is the second factor that will impact the cost of your custom bot.
Building a good UI requires a deep understanding of customers' requirements. It means a simple and seamless experience for your customers.
As seen in an article about creating a custom chatbot: depending on your choice (custom chatbot platform vs. customized bot from scratch), you'll have to handle the UI or not.
This is the third factor that will impact the cost of your customized bot.
To create a bot, you need to have an administration panel that will allow you to personalize its behavior.
It's like your chatbot's brain, particularly if it's connected to a machine learning solution such as Dialogflow (Which is an excellent tool for NLP features).
The fourth factor that will impact the cost of your chatbots is their backend.
Finally, a piece of software requires maintenance. It means you'll have to maintain it, update and improve throughout the time you're using it. This is something you should highly consider when analyzing the cost of a custom bot.
The fifth factor that will impact the cost of your chatbots is maintenance.
To sum this up, here are the factors that will impact the cost of your custom bot:
- User Interface
Developing chatbots yourself
As seen at the beginning of this article, considering the DIY approach makes sense as prices and ease of use are now a reality.
With self-service chatbot platforms, users can now create intelligent scenarios for almost every use-case. That makes it very cheap. The cost of building a DIY chatbot is now accessible to every company.
Plus, you do not need to code anything. There are no-code chatbots builders to create the perfect customized experience that fits with your business workflow.
The cost of building a chatbot yourself
Some companies state that building a custom bot will cost you nothing. That is wrong.
As working for a company, you have to consider the time you spend learning, improving, and building chatbots.
The cost of a bot should no longer be a problem
Conversational bots are not a venture into the unknown anymore. There are many contents available to anyone willing to create a customized bot to develop conversations with customers or leads.
Whether you going with a platforms that offers a no-code builder or willing to develop a bot from scratch, or even choose to get involved with an agency, pricing, features and development process will not remain equals.
However, the cost isn't the problem. You have to weigh in the ROI that can demonstrate a tool such as a bot that fits perfectly with your business.