Today, integration of chatbot services in your business website or mobile app is a win-win situation for businesses from retail & ecommerce, banking & finance or any other domain. 

Wondering why? There are two primary benefits - first, chatbot integration boosts company revenue up to 25% and client satisfaction to 35%. Secondly, building a chatbot provides an incredible UX experience to customers while they navigate through your website or app to buy goods and services. But, often companies looking to build a chatbot solution struck with one question: should they pick a chatbot development company, use a ready-to-use solution or DIY platform?

Companies today can pick from a wide range of chatbot development options, including DIY platforms, frameworks, chatbot development agencies, and ready-to-use products. And, obviously having such a wide range of choices doesn't really help. More or less it confuses those looking to create a chatbot?

So, to take you out of this riddle, the article enlists the key things that you should consider before choosing a chatbot development company or DIY platform to build a chatbot from scratch:

Read Also: Top 10 Platforms You Can Use to Build a Chatbot in 2020

Let’s dig deep and discuss each factor in detail: 

1. CHATBOT IDEA

Let's put it in simple words, whether you need a custom chatbot development company or DIY platform directly depends upon your chatbot idea, its capabilities and how sure you are about whether you really need to hire a chatbot developer or can work with a DIY product?

I am just experimenting….!

If you are building chatbot just as sort of an experiment and stakes are not very high, you can try with popular DIY platforms like Chatfuel, Motion.ai, etc. with drag and drop interface. It can be done with minimum effort and investment. 

For building a simple-purpose bot, better go with any DIY platform as they offer plenty of ready-made templates at affordable rates. Also, if you want complex bot features, you can use frameworks like Api.ai or Wit.ai

I have a Business Need…!

In case when you are clear about your chatbot idea, its functionality and relevance for your business, partnering with an experienced chatbot development services agency is recommended. Why?

A chatbot development agency works both as developer and strategist for you. In other words, it can really help you build a custom bot solution, suiting your business requirements, digital standing and online presence. Hiring chatbot solution companies help you build complex virtual assistants with ease. Moreover, you also get the technical expertise and experience of a chatbot agency which you count on to make further improvements in your custom bot solution. 

2. CHATBOT STRATEGY

According to Forrester research, many businesses fail to integrate or use virtual assistants properly for their business operations due to lack of a clear strategy at the very start. So, before you choose a DIY platform or custom bot solution, ask this question to yourself:

Do you have a chatbot strategy?

Yes, I have a chatbot strategy

If you have a clear vision about

  • how your chatbot would work in your mobile app
  • understand the plaform difference - Android vs iOS,
  • what functionalities it would have
  • how it will sync with your business operations to fine-tune your overall digital standing,

then all you need is your hands and brain to publish your bot. Don't think - just opt for any good bot-builder platform like Flow XO, Chatfulel, etc. with advanced features.

Remember, your choice of bot-builder platform must rely on how unique it is and how complex you want it to be. DIY platforms do offer a myriad of templates, tools, integrations, and conversation flow builders to get things going for you while building a bot.

No, I don’t have a chatbot strategy

You must know that only a rare number of chatbots with robust functionality and organic integration features are able to deliver tangible profits and meet customer expectations for businesses.

Wondering why? 

Here’s the answer. Because of chatbot developers lack of a clear strategy. When you don’t have a chatbot development strategy, better you turn towards agencies, specializing in custom chatbot development. Since they offer both a strategy and implementation plan to get the ball rolling for chatbot implementation.

A strategy here is nothing but consideration about aspects like your chatbot idea, your online presence, your audience, prospects along with analytics and modelling to make a custom chatbot. However, it comes at a price.

3. BUDGET

You might have a predefined budget when you are planning to build a bot. So, it can get really tricky when picking an option- DIY platform or custom bot development services. 

Consider the below options to get the solution:

I am on tight budget

When on a tight budget, simply go for a DIY platform for chatbot development. Most DIY platforms offer a lot of free templates and also come at a fairly low price per subscription or transaction. Usually, you can create a simple bot or digital assistant with single functionality relying on open source tools to put it under your budget bar, using a DIY platform. 

The more complex your chatbot functionality gets, the more time, effort and money you need to invest with a DIY platform too. In some cases, you might require the assistance of bot development platform experts to help you out. An advanced bot requires continuous improvement based on the conversational flow testing, user inputs and so on. So, obviously you need experts to help you with that. And, yes it comes at a cost. 

I have a Budget for a Full-scale Chatbot Project

If you have a budget of a full-scale or enterprise-grade chatbot solution, it's better you choose an experienced chatbot development company. The chatbot development cost depends upon a variety of factors like developer experience, chatbot functionality, integations, number of  supported platforms, scalability and many other variables. If you have set a specific budget and timeline for your chatbot project, always choose a custom development agency to serve your purpose. Typically, the total cost to build a chatbot from scratch ranges between $160 to $12240 when you partner with a chabot agency. 

4. COMPLEXITY AND FEATURES 

What tone or voice do you want your chatbot to speak?  Does it reflect your brand voice or have an entertaining conversational tone? What set of features it should have - natural language processing capabilities, quizzes, image display, etc. ? These are some critical questions that you should ask to yourself before you select a chatbot development partner. 

The scalability, variability, complexity and functionality are some of the crucial aspects that decided whether you should choose a custom or platform-based chatbot development option? 

I need a simple chatbot

As easy as it seems, developing a simple chatbot with single functionality is not that easy. Developing a zero-UI is often more difficult than building a fancy-looking interface with multiple features in chatbot.

If you want your virtual assistant to handle a bunch of simple predefined tasks with limited conversational flows, then you can easily build such a bot with a DIY platform. But, if you want your bot to understand natural language and self-improve with time, then it is already a complex piece of software. And, you might require assistance from experts, even with chatbot development platforms.  

I need a smarter chatbot

First understand that a smarter chatbot is not always one with AI capabilities. Rule-based or complex-script-based bots may not learn or extract any data from NLP queries, but can handle hundreds of conversational flows easily. Hence, bots with conversational UX, smart personality and scenario-based outcomes are also in the category of smarter bots. 

Despite the availability of hundreds of chabot frameworks and NLP engines in the market, building a smarter chatbot is not easy for everyone. Making a chatbot, its logic and integrating with an NLP engine can be a tough task. Hence, it's recommended you partner a custom chatbot development company for the same. 

Summing Up…!

In a nutshell, if you are looking for a simple but for your business with limited functionality, it's better you go with a ready-made solution or DIY platform. Otherwise, choose a full-service, chatbot development company to build a custom bot with a complex set of features. 

Even in case of DIY chatbot platforms, understanding their functionality and integrating a complex set of features in your chatbot solution can be a tough task. Hence, it's always a good idea to partner with a chatbot solution expert like A3logics to ease your task. 

We are a leading chatbot and mobile application development company in the USA and India. Our chatbot development experts can help you build a unique and great chatbot solution. Contact us directly to know more.