During this era of personalized marketing, chatbots appear as one of the most reliable channels that can provide a genuine one-to-one experience between users and brands. With the evolving technologies, businesses today look for more innovative ways to interact with consumers to assess their current behaviour. A custom chatbot provides business insights with the help of data analytics, it is regarded as the most beneficial tool for lead generation.
Custom chatbot development has now become a must-have for every business that wants to improve profitability and save costs. Implementing chatbots further helps in handling consumer requests on websites, customer messaging apps, mobile apps, and other social networks.
Chatbot marketing appeared to be complicated in the beginning and chatbot developers also encountered various challenges, but due to the rise of chatbot platform tools, building and distributing a chatbot on your website along with different messaging apps, it has now become easier than ever.
Chatbots also help businesses not simply in the area of consumer support, but further in sales and marketing. Different research shows that around 50% of consumers are more likely to shop with businesses that they can chat with.
As companies include chatbots into their technology roadmap, so whether to choose chatbot developers or ready-made solutions has now become the main subject of discussion, to understand what’s best for your business and to make this choice simpler for you, let us dive deeper and discuss more chatbots approaches, and where these chatbots are taking you further in the journey.
Types of Chatbots
Chatbots are one of the prime examples where AI can be implemented in practice. A chatbot for banking would be totally different from the one used for an eCommerce website. Simply how we differ in our character and abilities, the same is the case for chatbots in their activities and appearance! To have a more precise understanding let us look at different types of chatbots:
1) Support Chatbots
Support Chatbots are designed to solve a particular problem, these chatbots need context awareness, a character, and multi-turn ability. They are capable to lead a user through a business process and clarify a wide range of FAQs. Support chatbots utilize natural language processing and deep learning to complete actions. These types of chatbots are adequate for answering FAQs which include around 80% of support queries; they fall short in situations when there is too much information at play to predict how users should reach specific answers with confidence.
2) Skills Chatbots
Skills chatbots are more like single-turn-type bots that do not require much contextual awareness. They have set commands and just follow the commands to act. Speech functionality is advised for this kind of chatbot so that the user does not need to click any buttons. When creating a skills bot, it is essential to focus on integration, particularly when managing a home or personalized object. You should keep simple integration so that your users can comfortably interact with the bot without bothering about how to use it, “Turn off my living room lights,” for example.
3) Assistant Bots
Assistant bots, similar to support bots, need to be good at communications and answering FAQs. They should also be entertaining to sustain the interest of users. Siri by Apple is the most successful example of assistant bots, which not only helps the user with different tasks like getting the news, performing a google search, setting reminders, etc. but also responds playfully if it does not understand the question. They work best when they know a little bit about a variety of topics. When creating an assistant chatbot, it is essential to make it as simple as possible, how the bot is trained, possibilities are endless.
4) Transactional Bots
Transactional chatbots can be classified into assistant bots as they act as an agent on behalf of humans and communicate with external systems to perform a specific action. For example, making a reservation, placing an order, etc. They are optimized to accomplish a limited number of specific processes that replace the requirement to communicate to an expert or utilize more complex interfaces such as websites or mobile apps. Transactional bots are used in several industries simply like support chatbots.
5) Information Gathering Chatbots
Information gathering chatbots can be used as research assistants that help in obtaining relevant information that is possible either from a human or from an internet resource like a website or an eBook. These types of chatbots are very essential in the digital marketing sector for research-based tasks as well as in the education and corporate training sector. For instance, a news bot or an informational bot can send push notifications or give news recommendations to users with the usage of text classification and AI technologies.
Chatbots have transformed how consumers interact with businesses. This chatbot technology is facilitated by a set of if-then rule statements programmed through a chatbot builder. Here, you don’t need any coding expertise to build even the most advanced chatbots. All this can be accomplished with the help of some most innovative chatbot-building platforms which are defined below:
MobileMonkey is a popular bot builder for the Facebook Messenger platform that lets marketers create high-converting chatbots. It is designed to assist businesses in eCommerce, real estate, automobiles, restaurants, etc. MobileMonkey starts expanding your list and further helps in transforming your visitors into leads, with its in-built chatbot forms, marketing automation tools, and lead magnets.
TARS can be used to build WhatsApp chatbots, web-based chatbots, and chatbots for other conversational landing pages for your website. It is a drag-and-drop chatbot builder. This chatbot platform is extensively utilized throughout the world – client base comprises DHL, American Express, Honda, and many more. The chatbots built through TARS can be employed for feedback collection, ordering/booking process, conducting surveys, user onboarding, and more.
HubSpot is a free chatbot builder that you can use to build a chatbot to schedule meetings, give answers to general consumer support questions, qualify leads, and more. This CRM platform additionally offers a live chat chatbot for your website, which is known as HubSpot conversations. It also provides a visual editor to customize the conversation and match your brand’s tone and voice.
Chatfuel is a free bot-building platform that aims to make bot-building easy and secure. It enables you to create chatbots on Facebook Messenger with no previous coding experience needed. You can create bots for use cases like boost sales, automate consumer support on Facebook, and personalize marketing. Chatfuel is used by publishers like ForbesNFL, TechCrunch, and NBA teams.
Botsify is a machine learning and AI-based platform that enables you to build AI chatbots on your website or Facebook messenger without any coding knowledge or experience. It is integrated with various services, including Shopify, WordPress, Google Sheets, Slack, ZenDesk, etc. This platform offers various integrations and enables seamless human handover for complicated chats from the bot to the live support agents. Many big brands employ Botsify to create their chatbots, including Shazam and Apple.
Wit.ai is a free chatbot software that lets you quickly develop voice-based bots or text on your preferred messaging platform. Wit.ai learns human language from each interaction and creates intelligent chatbots for mobile apps, social channels, IoT devices, and websites. This platform also empowers users to utilize their voices to control appliances, speakers, lighting, and more.
Pandorabots is a comprehensive platform to create and publish AI-powered chatbots on the web, messaging apps, and mobile applications. Developers can use this open source chatbot framework to create conversational bots, this framework is based on Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) scripting language. This is a reliable interface that facilitates the development process for experienced bot engineers.
You might also want to read- 10 Powerful AI Chatbot Development Frameworks
Chatbots – Platform vs Custom
Chatbot developer’s vs Ready-made Solution
1) Bot Ability
Chatbots appear to be simple, but they’re complicated.
Platform (Ready-made Solution)
The most prominent limitation for bots developed on platforms is that they are bound to the capability of the platform, what it can do. For example – Want a Shopify integration but the platform doesn’t support one? Unless there’s a means to integrate it yourself, you will not be able to achieve it! Here in this case, you can move your bot to another platform that includes this feature or end up with the same platform without getting the feature that you want.
Custom (Chatbot developers)
The most beneficial part about creating a custom bot is that there is no limit to what you can make your chatbot do. With adequate time and money, anything can be accomplished. However, still, you always have limits, where you need to choose what you can have and what you need to sacrifice. Here, you can narrow down and choose custom-made features that you need.
The planning phase is where you will map your bot.
Planning a platform-based chatbot is more easy-going and hence quicker than a custom-based. You can concurrently plan and design a chatbot utilizing a flowchart-like or drag and drop interface that makes the building process easy.
Planning a custom bot considers a lot more things that demand more time. You’ll have to plan to incorporate the following:
- And more!
Incorporating all these elements increases the complexity and the overall planning time.
3) Initial Build Time and Cost
Building a bot on a platform has some advantages like providing the first version out is extremely fast. You can arrange a bot working in a chat app in less than 40 seconds, primarily if the platform in question provides templates. You can easily apply the template, enter your text or products, and press launch. Some bot development platforms charge on a monthly, per transaction, or user basis, while some are free.
Here you need to know exactly what you need from your chatbot and how many developers you have, without this information it is impossible to provide an estimate of how it will take to build a bot. But you can expect this to take considerably longer than a platform-based bot. The cost depends on – the experience of the developers, the number of developing hours, the number of platforms required and chatbot users, the number of third-party integration and API integration.
This is probably the phase where you will spend most of your time.
Testing a bot on a platform has become a lot easier as you get support from test/development chat within the platform. The right thing about bots is that the changes are implemented instantly. Whenever you make a change inside the platform, it will be applied to the bot.
Testing a customized bot won’t be entertaining. You’ll discover a lot of errors, and each change you need to make will have to pass through a developer. They will perform the change and inform you to test it again. The development team needs to execute several tests to assure that your bot operates flawlessly.
5) Sustained Development/Maintenance
Unless your bot is considerably simple, it will need a lot of changes.
Making changes on platforms is much easier than in custom bots. As most platforms have coding behind the scenes so you’ll be able to perform changes on your own. Another point to think about with bots is that the development work or changes will never finish, as bots will constantly meet new scenarios. You can make changes and integrate these scenarios on your own without any need for coding.
Dealing with a custom bot is a lot of code, unless you have a technical background or knowledge, you will not be able to make the changes by yourself. Always remember that developers are in high demand and for making any changes there might be a possibility that you won’t get a developer immediately.
How to Create a Chatbot from Scratch
Texting, messaging, or utilizing voice interfaces is one of the fundamental features you will always find while interacting with different communication platforms. The communication between chatbots and individuals is often straightforward, for example – a user can ask regarding climate reports or any other simple questions. There is a wide area of development in this tech field. Hence, you need to be versatile and should understand the basics behind development to get it more comfortable to proceed through the developed features and products.
Developers undergo various stages or steps for chatbots similar to the development of any other product. While developing a chatbot, the developers need to concentrate on crucial aspects, such as setting possible opportunities for an artificial intelligence chatbot, developing the chatbot, designing, and creating it utilizing the most conventional frameworks. Additionally, there are more options for building a chatbot, a successful one. Several non-coding platforms are important for creating chatbots. You can build a solution with a set of features and custom logic that ideally satisfy your business requirements.
Chatbots have grown to be more of a need than simply a means of communication for businesses. During the advanced business environment of today, Chatbots help and support your business to stay available round the clock, without any need to spend massively in gaining additional consumer support.
Choosing between custom chatbot or platform-based development ultimately depends on your business needs. If you are not sure which chatbot development strategy will serve your business best, you should evaluate the benefits that both these approaches provide, understand your use case, do some additional research, and then reach a final decision. After understanding all these aspects along with the advantages and the performance of the technology, you should develop a full-fledged chatbot with a dedicated team of experts.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Several AI chatbot platforms are available today to assist brands to design suitable chatbots to help them retain and bring new consumers. These AI chatbot platforms normally include tools to help you create and customize chatbots for your customer base. Some of the best AI Chatbot platforms are:
A good chatbot is always specific, it should identify the purpose of a question, what is required – to give an accurate answer, and additionally offer options to clarify or confirm intent. It should be able to understand tone throughout an interaction to deliver a more personalized experience.
What is the main use of chatbot?
A chatbot solution has two main purposes, first one is to have the most beneficial interactions between people and services, which help in improving customer experience. And the other one is they should provide businesses new opportunities to enhance the customers’ engagement process and operational performance by decreasing the cost of consumer service.
Today chatbots are used by every industry whether it be retail, healthcare, insurance, etc. Chatbots can successfully answer up to 80% of everyday questions. Costs are more economical as a chatbot can address thousands of questions at once if compared to humans as they are limited to one question at a time.