A chatbot is a crucial component of the modern business engine. With the fast and comprehensive development of the technology, such a tool has become an irreplaceable aspect of gaining business success. More and more software enthusiasts are wondering how to create a chatbot. To cater to increasing demands, software development companies implement various solutions and improve the technologies used in order to create a chatbot that can do anything from answering basic questions to leading a virtual tour around New York.
Some even believe that a chatbot is more important for business success than an ordinary application. Users get used to websites and apps. Notifications become annoying, and the information provided becomes dull. On the contrary, a conversation with a chatbot provides a real experience: the most advanced bots behave like a real technical support employee. This is fascinating and unusual, so it draws attention to the chatbot as well as to the whole business it represents.
At the same time, this topic remains uncharted for many business owners worldwide. We decided to bring you this article to extend your knowledge about chatbots, inform you about the ways to build one, and provide you with a chatbot development tutorial.
Key Things to Know about Chatbots
In fact, a chatbot is just a type of a program. This program has the unique ability to simulate a real conversation with a user. They are incredibly popular all over the World Wide Web. The reason is simple: they help increase business popularity.
You just integrate a chatbot into your website, web app or a messenger and it communicates with the users using text messages. Just a few seconds of conversation with a chatbot may replace minutes of googling or hopelessly browsing through your website looking for the answers.
One more advantage of a chatbot is that it can process multiple requests simultaneously. For example, if your sales business is quite big and you have to deal with 1,000+ purchases daily, you know for sure how many people you need to process all these orders. Besides that, you know for sure that it is just a mess to manage and control all of them. Even the most convenient CRMs have not solved all the potential issues and some mistakes may be made. The chatbot helps you get rid of all the hassles, and communicates with the users silently, providing them only with the information they need.
Chatbots are productive and entertaining. Some of them can even demonstrate a sense of humor. Consumers start loving chatbots and prefer this kind of chat.
How to Create a Chatbot: a Few Words Before We Start
There are some things you need to think about before you decide how to develop a chatbot. Let’s take a look at them:
You must have a complete picture of who already uses your services and visits your website. Analyze the diagrams and statistics to understand who the chatbot should mostly be talking to.
Define what you actually want your chatbot to do. This point is momentous: the price and time of the development depend on this a lot.
Having a complete or at least partial understanding of your current goal in chatbot development, it is possible to estimate the project budget to make sure your business is ready for some spending. We advise to turn to a development company for the most accurate estimation.
There are a lot of ways to bring a chatbot to its digital life. We will provide you with a review of each way to achieve your goal below.
3 Ways to Build a Chatbot for Your Business
Generally, there are 3 ways to get a chatbot.
1. You Can Simply Buy It
There are lots and lots of ready-made solutions that meet various business needs and are powered with great functionality. There are even whole marketplaces where you can find bots for sale. Here, we would like to mention Telegram and Kik Bot Stores. Additionally, there is a huge Botlist catalogue where most of the ready-made bots are listed.
This choice is quite convenient. You just take a look at the number of websites, find the solutions you need and pick the one that suits you best. At the same time, this road is full of hidden disadvantages. First of all, it is rather hard to find a chatbot that meets your requirements fully. Additionally, you cannot customize the ready-made solution you are paying for. The purchase of a bot may potentially lead to time and financial losses along with limited opportunities.
2. You Can Build It on a Special Platform
There is a variety of platforms for creating a high-quality chatbot. Some of them require having some technical background. The others require only enthusiasm and time. We will draw your attention to the second type of platforms.
These tools make the development process nice and simple. Below, you can take a look at some of the platforms:
A chatbot built on Chatfuel allows adding new content, sharing updates and collecting the information. The bots work on Facebook Messenger and Telegram.
Here, a drag and drop feature works so smoothly that the process bcomes even more of a joy. Easy integration with third-party services is another feature of the platform.
This platform with a funny name can demonstrate great performance. Marketers are its main target.
You can integrate your brand-new bot with SMS services, Facebook Messenger, Smooch or Slack. Bots for mailing are also available on this platform.
This is another huge and famous platform. Its bots are able to solve the technical support, marketing or advertising tasks as well as many others. They can run on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. Take note that this platform is more complicated than the previous ones and requires some technical knowledge.
The list can be continued as there are many other platforms you can use to get the solution you need with little or no programming.
Now, we would like to highlight the most considerable disadvantage of this approach: you need to pay regularly for using a chatbot you built with the help of a platform. Additionally, you cannot grow your business and the chatbots’ functionality without paying extra costs. The more chatbots you need and the more users you would like to reach, the higher the price gets. The prices may reach hundreds of dollars per month, and your opportunities will still be limited. Additionally, the costs may depend on the integrations you need or the number of sent messages. Support costs money as well. In fact, you cannot do anything without paying an extra fee.
3. You Can Develop a Chatbot from Scratch
In case you have almost lost your faith in developing a chatbot that would meet all of your business needs, we have something for you. Remember that you can always find out how to build a chatbot from scratch and get an excellent tailor-made solution.
Building a Chatbot from Scratch
No doubt, it all sounds a bit confusing at the very beginning. First of all, you need to consider a chatbot as a server-side app that implements the chat functions via an API.
Essentially, any software solution is impossible without developers to build it, proper technologies to make it work, and such indispensable things as time and money. Chatbots are no exception.
Team of Programmers
No matter if you are a tech-savvy person or not, it would be a bit complicated to create a chatbot from scratch all by yourself. So, you need to start working on this with your team or hire a team of experienced software developers to do it for you. Your development team should demonstrate the expertise in such popular server-side development tools as Ruby, Python or Node.js.
Technologies to Use
Your software development partners need to be familiar with natural language processing and ways to integrate it into your chatbot. For this purpose, services such as Api.ai, Opennlp or Nltk may be of great help to you. Additionally, you need a database. You can pick MongoDB, MySQL or PostgreSQL for your chatbot. And do not forget about servers like Heroku or AWS.
Time to Spend
To make the process as clear as possible, we have estimated the approximate time needed to get your chatbot up and running. The process includes interface development and business logic constructing.
- 40-60 hours are needed to build the integration of a chatbot of medium complexity with one single chat.
- 40-60 hours are needed to develop the command language interpreter.
- 120-160 hours are required to build a natural language user interface.
- 120-160 hours are taken by the business logic in case you already have an application with its own logic.
- 160-200 hours need to be spent on building the business logic from scratch.
As you can see, the process is rather time-consuming. However, as we have mentioned above, the time spent on the development depends on how complex your chatbot needs to be. Besides that, the time depends greatly on the level of expertise of your software engineers. We’re sure you understand that a team of 2 developers needs more time to get the job done than a team of 5 developers.
The cost of building a chatbot depends on the solution’s complexity and the average IT specialist salary in your region. If you pick an outsourcing option, you may spend approximately from $2,800 to $18,000.
In fact, all you need to do to build a chatbot is to find a development partner to build a trustworthy partnership with.
Software development experts can help you understand the processes, avoid mistakes and pitfalls, save time and money, and deliver a great chatbot.
A high-quality chatbot can take your business to a higher level. So, just contact our team and get one step closer to your business improvement.