The use of chatbots is on the rise. It is no longer a technology that is limited to IT firms but is proving fruitful for other market segments too, such as the travel and the hospitality industry. With time, chatbots are getting smarter and better at understanding conversations.
If you are not a tech aficionado then choosing the right chatbot platform and a chatbot development company can be a baffling task. Worry not though as I am here to help you through this demanding task and make the selection process easier.
As such, I have divided this article into 2 sections. While the first one will detail how to select the most fitting chatbot platform for your requirements the second one will discuss important factors that will help you choose the most suitable chatbot development firm.
From Facebook Messenger Bots and IBM Watson to Google’s Dialogflow and Microsoft’s Bot Framework, there is a multitude of chatbot platforms readily available right now to develop a wide variety of chatbots, such as a customer support chatbot.
However, each of them has its own specific use cases. For example, Facebook’s chatbot platform may allow you to build chatbots that can order a pizza or an Uber.
One of IBM Watson’s major highlights is the Conversation Service that, by virtue of leveraging a neural network, has the capacity to understand intent, interpreting entities, and dialogues.
Here, the developers need to provide a great extent of manual training for the chatbots designed using the platform for defining intents and entities to make the chatbot effective.
Even though there are already several chatbot platforms available and new ones are coming into play over time, there is no universal solution to match all types of needs that an organization has.
Moreover, business requirements might evolve over time and hence, adaptability is also an important factor that must be taken into consideration while seeking a suitable chatbot platform. So, the very first thing that you need to do is to write down all your requirements.
Next, you can evaluate all the available chatbot platforms as per some criteria. So, what are the criteria to evaluate a chatbot platform?
Following are my 4 picks that you can use to assess different chatbot platforms and choose the most suitable one:
1. Level of Integration
The integration of a chatbot platform with internal systems allows organizations to explore a wide variety of use cases, including customer support, lead generation, and FAQs. It also allows them to better manage cost reduction and operational efficiency strategies.
Different chatbot platforms have different levels and types of integration ability. For instance, Dialogflow and IBM Watson enable integration to backend systems with the use of RESTful APIs and web services.
Chatbots designed using these platforms are able to be rapidly architectured, developed, and used for working in line with core Enterprise systems to the likes of CRM, RPA, and SAP.
2. Pricing Model
Pricing is yet another important deciding factor when choosing a suitable chatbot development platform, irrespective of the type of the chatbot that needs to be developed, such as a sales chatbot or a simple Q&A chatbot.
Typically, there is one of these three major pricing models employed by most chatbot platforms:
- Pay based on performance — Total price is determined on the basis of the performance of the developed chatbot
- Pay per usage — Pricing is determined by chatbot usage statistics and the number of API calls.
- Subscription — Allows customers to build a number of chatbots for an annual or monthly fee.
Furthermore, the overall cost of developing a chatbot depends on the scope of functionality, the technology employed, the integration level, etc.
3. Metrics Available
In order to improve the efficiency of a chatbot post its successful implementation, and make it better at what it’s supposed to do, metrics need to be collected. Now, the type of metrics collected depends on the type of business and the nature of the chatbot.
Irrespective of the nature and focus of a chatbot, some metrics are essential. These are:
- Goal Completion Rate- The total percentage of successful engagement made through the chatbot.
- In-Message- Involves the total number of messages sent by the user.
- Retention Rate- The total percentage of users returning to the chatbot in a specific time period.
- User Satisfaction- The extent to which the user will recommend the chatbot to others.
Metrics are especially important when you are considering to adopt a performance-based pricing model.
4. Security Features
Another important factor determining the selection of a chatbot platform is security. On the basic level, a chatbot must provide encrypted, end-to-end communication. A robust, role-based security framework must be in place to regulate the ability to interact with the chatbot.
Data privacy must be a key design factor for ensuring data privacy and security. To put it simply, the chatbot platform as well the chatbot itself must not store any kind of customer sensitive information and must offer maximum transparency via an auditable interface.
In case you don’t want to go through the aforementioned process or simply want a second opinion about your choice, contacting a capable AI consulting solutions provider might be a great option.
With the incessant rise in chatbot technology, more and more chatbot development firms are joining the market to offer apt chatbot solutions to those in need.
In order to make the right move when choosing a chatbot development company or while looking to hire outsourcing team specializing in chatbot development, you need to evaluate them on the basis of the following 5 factors:
a) Communication Proficiency
Communication is perhaps the most important aspect when people are looking to work together to achieve a common goal. You definitely don’t want to hire an organization that isn’t able to understand your requirements correctly or with which you fail to start an easy conversation.
With the right AI development services by your side, you will be able to easily communicate all your requirements. In return, the organization will present you with all the feasible solutions in detail and additional suggestions that can make your effort even more profitable.
b) Level of Customer Support
Irrespective of an organization’s area of focus, customer support is an indispensable part. No matter how good a company is in what it does, there are always questions and queries that the client needs answers to and situations requiring immediate help.
The right organization will have an excellent level of customer support. It will not only help you throughout the entirety of the project but will also be on their toes to help you post project completion, delivery, and implementation.
c) Industry Experience
How many years of experience do the chatbot development firm that you’re looking forward to working with has? Are they newcomers or seasoned veterans in the field? What kind of technologies is the organization best at? These are the questions that you need to know the answer to come to a solid conclusion.
You must not shy away from hiring a promising newcomer over an organization that has been in the game for quite some time but doesn’t excite you or motivate you in your endeavour and seems to lack innovation.
You need to pay attention to the background of the organization that you’re considering to work with. Some organizations simply switch services just to survive in the market while others fortify their position by offering quality services. The latter is usually a better pick.
Another best factor to measure the competency of any organization is to check for their portfolio. What kind of projects does the organization have worked on before? Do they have some experience pertaining to working on something similar to what you are aiming for?
Who were the past clients of the organization? The answers to these questions are important to gauge the ability of the organization in chatbot development services.
Now, you are ready to make the right choice in terms of both the chatbot platform and the chatbot development firm. Remember, making the right selection of the platform and organization is important as your choice can make or break your business endeavour.