Platform chatbots are excellent if you have a tight budget, no coding skills, and want a per-need chatbot assistant for your business. While platform chatbots can create sophisticated bots, you need custom bots for complex integration, machine learning, and top-grade artificial intelligence performance. For chatbots with your own API integration, like booking agents, healthcare assistants, and shopping assistants, you must undertake chatbot development from the ground up.
A custom chatbot is a server-side application that performs extensive functions with its own API and is integrated with NLP –Natural Language Processing. With custom chatbots, the NLP functions as a separate service. You must consider the following tasks for custom chatbot development (based on the experience of Topflight Apps):
- Architecture, agent customization: Logo
- Switch between human agent and chatbot: Consider Return, Forward functions
- Connecting to data server API
- Transferring data to the API and receiving data.
- Gathering of data from users: Data gathering depends on the function or the industry within which the chatbot services users. For example, a chatbot in the travel industry will gather data such as meals, hotel stars, the number of infants among travelers, adults, and other data.
- Admin panel and login
- And so forth.
Cost of custom chatbot development
Depending on the average price per hour of the developer or the development company, you can spend anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 when you want to build your chatbot. Other factors to consider are:
- Testing and maintenance
- Total development hours
Benefits of custom chatbot development
- You can integrate unique and complex functions into your chatbots, unlike platform chatbots, where you have to rely on the platform’s native integration.
- When you use an experienced development team, you get excellent user experience and technical support. Both the backend and frontend development will impress the users.
- Testing: When you hire a development team, their testing department will test the chatbot to ensure it is bug-free and anticipate potential bugs that come with growth.
- Maintenance: When you hire a development team or a chatbot developer, they will provide technical maintenance of your bot and improve the quality of your service as people use the bot.
Should you make your own chatbot or a platform chatbot?
Custom chatbots have incredible integrations, and you can build unique functionalities that are otherwise impossible with platform chatbots. Platform chatbots, however, are simple to make, require limited coding knowledge, and are cheaper. Let’s explore the differences:
- Budget: Custom chatbots can be expensive to build. If you are working within a budget, you may consider a platform chatbot. The cost to build a chatbot application can be as high as $55,000, depending on the chatbot’s features, adoption, and future maintenance.
- Number of Users: The proposed number of users will determine if you should build a custom chatbot or a platform chatbot. If your users are within 100,000, you can use a platform chatbot. A platform chatbot convener can charge you based on the number of people that will be using the platform.
- Privacy and Security: If you are concerned about the privacy of your conversations with clients, you may have to build a custom chatbot. A custom chatbot has its independent server for data processing and storage, while a platform chatbot shares data with other companies who use the private chatbot service.
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: Looking to incorporate machine learning and AI features into your chatbot? You must consider a custom chatbot. A platform chatbot may not be able to learn from conversations with humans; hence, the capacity for growth is significantly stunted.
- Service Infrastructure and Hosting: Custom chatbot development comes with gargantuan service infrastructure, and developers have to host their chatbot data. If you do not have the budget for hosting, you may consider a platform chatbot.
Hiring a chatbot developer
Before you hire a chatbot developer to make an AI chatbot, you must make sure that the developer has the experience to deliver within your parameters or chatbot functionality demands. Below are checklists that will protect you as you find the right person for your chatbot development needs:
- NDA: Always remember to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) with talents you work with. The NDA protects your idea and data.
- Experience: Your chatbot developer must show experience within the same field or related field. The industry within which your chatbot operates matters significantly, and you need a developer that is familiar with the industry. You also need a developer with a proven track record of developing chatbots from scratch. Reach out to companies developers claim they have worked for; check the proposed developer’s past clients and survey the strengths and weaknesses of their chatbots.
- Chatbot Development Company: Instead of hiring a bunch of developers, you can out-staff your development needs to a chatbot development company. A bot development company has teams of talents like backend developers, frontend developers, graphics designers, UI experts, testers, and so on. A development company will take away the hassle of looking for different people to handle different tasks as you develop your chatbots.
It’s essential to determine whether your business needs a custom or platform chatbot. If your customer base is still less than 10,000, you can always use chatbots built by other chatbot companies. The only downside is user privacy because you will share data with the chatbot company.
As far as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools are concerned, they come with a hefty price tag. With machine learning, your chatbot will learn from every conversation it holds with clients and better itself. With machine learning, you get a chatbot that can improve its service, understand patterns in customer inquiries, and deliver unparalleled services.
Custom chatbots will not erase human agents. A chatbot can undertake monotonous tasks, refer tasks that human agents can only handle to the appropriate department, and solve basic tier problems. So, it will significantly reduce your reliance on human agents, leaving you with the most technical agents. It’s cheaper and perhaps more reliable.
Building chatbots powered by AI, you can get the developers even for less than $5,000; however, quality delivery can sometimes be expensive. Many inexperienced developers are looking to make quick money, so you should be careful. Before hiring a chatbot developer or chatbot development company, do your due diligence and ensure the person or company can deliver on promises.