How much is a chatbot?

In times when social media such as Facebook, Instagram and various messenger services are becoming increasingly important, the demands on companies to be constantly and everywhere reachable. Of course, this is hard to implement with human resources. However, it is different with the use of, which users can be available around the clock for answers to a variety of questions. How these are developed and what costs are incurred for companies, we present in more detail below.

A chatbot - what exactly is that?

A chatbot is actually a program that communicates directly with the user and is available to answer questions. For example, he is on a website or on the side of the company on one Social mediaPlatform, the chatbot will respond as soon as the user uses the messenger service.

Particularly useful is the use of Chatbots for online customer service. Questions that are usually asked to call centers, can be in the present time without problems by Chatbots answer. As a result, human resources inquiries can be kept to a minimum, so that they only have to deal with really complex issues. In addition, a chatbot can be beneficial in many ways: Often, employees in call centers are annoyed by recurring, simple questions. Chatbots on the other hand, they always answer friendly, provide the customer with the information they are looking for and analyze questions at lightning speed.

Faced with the enormous potential of this development Chatbots more and more often their way into e-commerce. Meanwhile, many online shops use Chatbotsto respond quickly and around the clock to various requests from users. Even in human resources can Chatbots meanwhile be meaningful, in order to sound out in initial discussions, whether an applicant is basically suitable for a job.

Primarily a chatbot serves to relieve the service area of ​​a company and to offer the customer a faster and more reliable support. Long queues in expensive telephone hotlines are now a thing of the past - all it takes is one Social mediaPlatform to send a short message to a company, already the chatbot answers and asks further questions in order to be able to help the user.

But so beneficial Chatbots Also important for companies is the question of what their development costs at all and when it pays off.

Important questions in the development of a Chatbots

Before it goes to the concrete development of a Chatbots goes, there are several questions to clarify that affect above all the user. It must be clear in advance how the user will answer the questions of the Chatbots can enter and to what extent the chatbot can understand or process these. Basically, the more complex and intelligent a chatbot should be, the more precise the technology must be - and the greater the development effort that drives up costs.

One possibility is that the chatbot offers the user different answer options, to which he responds with a keyword or a letter. This variant brings a relatively low development effort, but of course does not look very realistic. Nevertheless, this can be a good solution for some companies, as many telephone hotlines are also based on a key dialing system. Also, the error rate is such simpler Chatbots a lot less - for people who are not comfortable with modern technologies this is often easier to handle.

The other possibility is to develop a chatbot so that the conversation with it comes very close to a conversation between a human employee and the customer. For example, if the customer types a "hello," the chatbot responds appropriately and may inquire about the well-being of the customer. Subsequently, the user can describe his request and the chatbot recognizes by means of preprogrammed keywords how he must react and offers appropriate answers. The complex part is, however, that it is not so easy for users to understand what a chatbot is capable of. Answering a chatbot on a comprehensively explained question only succinctly with a "I did not understand you", some users are faced with a mystery and break the contact. Therefore, a well-thought-out programming is enormously important, but of course this is associated with correspondingly higher costs.

AI or rule-based Chatbots - what is the difference?

At Chatbots is basically a distinction between AI and rule-based variants. rule-based Chatbots answer the questions of a user based on fixed codes: There are special guidelines or predefined questions and keywords that the chatbot follows. The problem: If the user uses other terms or writes colloquially, the chance is high that the chatbot does not understand this.

The other option is to develop a chatbot with artificial intelligence. These Chatbots learn again and again and find the right answers, which can help the user. The development of AI-based Chatbots For this reason, it is many times more complex and therefore requires more effort or more investment.

Chatbot platform or framework - what's better?

There are different technologies that are in use today Chatbots develop. So-called Chatbot development frameworks offer different software and functions with which bots can be individually programmed. Widely used are among other things Botpress, the Google software API.ai, the Microsoft Bot Framework or also the Facebook program Wit.ai. It is basically recommended to use the code for Chatbots Create yourself instead of using a finished platform. Because in this way a professional source code can be written that fits the individual requirements of the company. Nonetheless, this is a project that requires a lot of time and effort.

However, if you do not want to or can not code yourself, appropriate platforms are a good alternative for you because companies can focus on the real thing - namely the conversation between users and chatbot. The development platforms are usually very user-friendly, so it does not take long to create a virtual dialogue partner who can answer a wide range of questions. If the platform is not already part of a particular social network anyway, most programs offer an implementation in the respective platform.

So the costs of developing a Chatbots affected

Generally it can be said that in most cases it is the cheaper solution to set up a chatbot via a platform based on the corresponding one Social mediaChannel is aligned like WhatsApp or Facebook. Because here the interfaces or interfaces already fit to the respective user interface. On the other hand, if you want to integrate a chat bot into your own website, you have to expect a higher effort because of course special optimizations are required.

Should a chatbot be active on different channels or do you plan to use it on different channels in the future? Social media-Platforms can be saved in advance by planning the unnecessary costs. Among other things, this includes clarifying which elements the individual platforms offer and how the chatbot can be adapted to all channels. If a concept has to be completely reworked in a later expansion, this is an additional effort that can be avoided at the beginning.

When embedding the Chatbots Nevertheless, there is some effort involved, because every single platform has individual interfaces that have to fit the bot. In addition, it must not be forgotten that each Social mediaPlatform is constantly changing and Chatbots For this reason, always have to be adapted to updates and other innovations.

Cost factor multiligual Chatbot - is it worth it?

Especially if a company has customers from different countries, it may make sense to develop a multilingual chatbot. In fact, the effort is not very big, because all the same texts and keywords have to be translated from German into the foreign language. The difficulty, however, is that foreign language customers use different words, which is why Chatbots also need to understand synonyms. The development of multilingual Chatbots This requires solid planning, ideally together with someone who is sure to be fluent in the foreign language.

The data storage also causes development costs

Significantly affect the cost of developing a Chatbots also has the extent of data storage. This is not primarily about the data that the chatbot should "learn", but rather about click and abort rates as well as the relevance and frequency of various topics. No matter what and how much data you want to store - in this case, a database is always required, which means more development work.

Here, it brings more and more work when data must be installed in an already working system, as they integrate into a whole new system. If stored data is to be evaluated and analyzed, it can be stored in programs such as Google Analytics, for example, so that later statistics can be created.

The integration into a CRM

Complex is the evolution of a Chatbots even if he should access customer data. This requires the connection to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System). If, for example, the customer enters his customer number, as soon as the chatbot asks him to do so, the customer accesses the data in the CRM immediately and can then provide appropriate answers. In order to make this process possible, the development of multiple interfaces is required - and that is relatively time-consuming.

A connection to the CRM, for example, would be indispensable if a user wants to deposit a message in his customer account - for example, that he urgently waits for an order or that he wants to report a damage to his vehicle. Conversely, he can then retrieve data from the stored information in CRM, if he asks the chatbot.

The chatbot in combination with human employees

The current state of the art makes it possible that Chatbots already respond to a wide range of questions and interact well with users but still can not fully replace human resources. If a chatbot reaches its limits, there should still be the possibility to pass the customer on to a human employee. For this purpose either a direct transfer of the communication to the service employee can take place, or the customer is informed of corresponding contact data such as telephone number or e-mail address.

Actual cost of a Chatbots

The exact cost of developing a Chatbots depend on individual factors, however, there are basic price ranges, which can be based on.

Simple Chatbots For Social mediaChannels, which can be set up via programs such as Manychat or Chatfuel, start at around 1.500 Euro. If the chatbot is to be linked to various programs, such as Google Maps, the costs are around 3.000 Euro.

Significantly more expensive already Chatbotsthat have an individual backend and must be programmed accordingly. This also requires integration into a CRM, which entails costs of just under 10.000 Euro. In addition, the cost of developing a Chatbots also between 15.000 and 20.000 Euro, as long as it is an intelligent system with various API integrations. It always depends on the personal wishes and budget of a company - these factors should always be taken into account, before you look for a particular form of a Chatbots decides.

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