Wherever we see, chatbots are around us. They not only help us in getting groceries to get delivered to our homes easily but also search and find for the cheapest flights, provide medical advice based on the received symptoms and even grab a taxi for us.
Essentially, before we knew how far they have actually come into our lives, we see them into our smartphones, and they have duly become our own personal pocket assistants.
Although, it is not just the consumers who have been benefitted a lot from this advancement in artificial intelligence. A lot of brands as well as businesses now recognize chatbots as the latest disruptive way to easily communicate with their own target audiences.
Also, messaging platforms now express an extreme willingness to take over as the go-betweens easily and even serve as the major hubs for the chatbot software development as well as their integration.
What is Chatbot?
Basically, chatbots are software programs that a user can easily communicate through a chat interface utilizing text messages or voice. The key feature of all of the chatbots is that they utilize the power of NLP or natural language processing so that the overall interaction with them feels quite natural for the people. Also, chatbots can easily live inside apps, website or messengers and are widely utilized for different purposes.
There are two basic approaches to make a chatbot:
- Rule-based Approach
- AI-based Approach
It implies that the chatbot is essentially developer as per certain rules under which and simply only under which it is allowed to operate.
These chatbots generally reply to the keywords in the user inquiry and then respond accordingly or simply suggest the user choose from given predefined answering options.
In case a user message doesn’t essentially contain any of the keywords, the chatbots can easily “get lost” as they can’t simply understand the overall context of the conversation.
For example, The H&M bot is a perfect example of a rule-based bot. Essentially, it acts and performs as a virtual sales assistant which suggests outfits for the users based on their particular preferences as well as styles.
Also, the bot works within the given predefined scenarios. Basically, it asks the users different questions and suggests the particular answering options, then shows the pictures of different outfits and asks the users to duly choose which one they actually like the most or even enable the users to easily create the outfits all by themselves by means of picking items from the given suggested options. In case a user types any random message, the bot readily replies in a manner as “I’m sorry, I’m lost”.
Even though the overall abilities of the rule-based bots are quite limited to the entire programmed scenarios, but they can still handle different tasks.
In this regard, the H&M bot assists the company to sell the stock in a much more engaging as well as entertaining way. Hire chatbot developers who are well-versed on the rule-based approach for such chatbot development.
When it comes to chatbots that are powered by artificial intelligence as well as machine learning, they don’t need any keywords actually to count on.
Also, unlike the rule-based counterparts, they are quite able to understand the overall context of the conversation. But their conversation abilities are generally limited to the topics which they are actually trained in- the times when chatbots will actually understand anything that people tell them are still quite far away.
But the good news is that in the case of AI-based chatbots, they can be upgraded and even trained to recognize new user intent and hence be further improved as essentially as talk partners.
Why develop a Chatbot?
Essentially, there are two basic reasons why chatbots are achieving a leading role. First is the trend aiming towards conversational commerce, and second is the continuous rise of messaging websites and platforms.
Also, it turned out that essentially most of the online services are essentially a source of constant dissatisfaction, right from poor designs to the issue of impersonality.
Also, it seems that chatbots are quite able to cover most of the pains of the customers. It opens new avenues for chatbot development services. These
These chatbots are able to achieve a lot more below points are mentioned to prove the above statement:
- Chatbots essentially perform boring tasks for the customers
- Chatbots offer instant information
- Chatbots easily make the entire customer experience much more personal
- Chatbots don’t have any interface
- Chatbots don’t require smartphone storage
Perform boring tasks
Right from browsing the stock or even searching for the contact details of the company, chatbots do it for the customers. These different microtasks can be quite time-consuming and very frustrating, also taking into account that users need to basically interact with a wide range of unknown websites as well as apps on quite a daily basis.
Offer instant information
It is one of the main vital reasons why customers prefer chatbots rather than other ways of reaching out to the businesses, generally when they need or require a quick solution.
Easy customer experience
It may sound quite funny as we are essentially talking about software, but basically, chatbots can easily give businesses a definite personal voice.
They use natural language to easily communicate with people and the actual way they essentially “talk” easily influences how consumers actually feel about the given brand.
Utilizing a chatbot is simply utilizing language. Essentially, people can easily jump on chatting with a particular bot virtually while on the go without actually have to learn how to utilize it.
Even though applications require smartphone storage, chatbots don’t. Hence, that’s the reason why people aren’t actually willing to install the app of each and every business they essentially interact with.
Also, chatbots are quite cheaper to create as well as support than apps. Hence, it isn’t reasonable for a few brands, generally small ones, to actually develop their own mobile app when a particular chatbot can easily suffice.
How to create a Chatbot?
In case you have decided to create a chatbot, then you need first to select and choose a proper tool for the development. However, there are no universal ready-made solutions that you can essentially use for anything.
However, if you are wondering how to create a chatbot utilizing already available tools and software, then there are some options. However, the choice primarily depends on whether you are essentially able to code, what type and level of customization you require, and what particular platform you wish your chatbot to run on essentially.
In case you wish your chatbot to live as well as operate inside a particular messenger, there are some of the bot starter kits of the most popular messaging apps such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Kik.
In order to create a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, then you can easily consider Chatfuel-among different other features, it has a wide range of bot templates which you can easily make use of, or you can use OctaneAI- which is chatbot building platform for particular Shopify stores.
In case you require integration with your own app or website, then you can try Google’s Botsify and DialogFlow. They easily enable you to create much more intelligent as well as feature-rich chatbots without even writing a single line of code.
However, if you require a complete custom solution, you can then try to build a chatbot right from scratch.
How to Build Chatbot from Scratch?
In order to explain how to build a chatbot from scratch, we are going to take an example of chatbot created for a mobile banking app that is meant to save the customers from trouble whenever they are paying for the services online.
Essentially, the procedure of paying for the different government services slightly differs depending on the place of residence of the user and most of the time it is really quite an ordeal to find and search the necessary and required transaction manually. Hence, the chatbot is able to complete this in an instant.
Essentially, it starts with a user starting the conversation, by typing something, and the chatbot extracts the necessary information from the user intent and finds the required transaction and sends the necessary payment form to the user in the form of response.
Hence, the main task is to train the chatbot in order to derive the required data from the actual user intent. Also, the process of extracting data is known as named entity recognition. In this case, the named entities are basically the names of locations as well as transactions.
How to handle the task during chatbot development?
- Division of entities into different groups
- Creation of Intents
In order to train the chatbot, it is necessary to compile an entire dictionary of the named entities which are the names of all of the populated areas as well as all kinds of transactions which can be made through a mobile bank along with their variations.
As there is quite a finite number of popular areas well as transactions, a language like Python script can be used to parse them all.
Division of entities
The obtained entities are broken down into different categories or tags such that they could be further recognized easily by the particular chatbot. In order to do this, a parser which obtains structured data from the particular unstructured texts by certain rules is used.
Creation of Intents
On the basis of generated categories, it creates a list of different user intents as well as chatbot responses to them. Also, the chatbot responses are quite straightforward and even aimed at getting the necessary information from the given user- such as the location as well as transaction names.
Once the user intent is covered, the chatbot essentially makes an inquiry that contains the transaction name as well as the user location to a particular database, and it also returns the given transactions which match the particular inquiry the best.
It is admitted that it is certainly not a one-size-fits-all list on how to actually write chatbot. Every project is quite unique and needs a bit of teamwork in order to become successful.
How much does it cost to develop a chatbot from scratch?
In case you have the budget and wish to offer the customer with top-quality services, then you should provide customized chatbot solution. Such solutions have an initial cost involved, and they can easily be designed as per the target audience requirements.
However, in case you are not proficient with the coding as well as development then you can hire chatbot development company that can develop a chatbot for your own enterprise.
When it comes to the cost of development and development cycle, mentioned below are the estimated cost as well as the different phases.
- Development Phase
- Implementation of Prototype
- Release of Minimum Viable Product
In this particular phase, it is more than the ideation phase where the businesses as well as the entire teamwork in complete synergy to easily identify the actual objective of the chatbot.
Hence, during this phase, questions like the need or requirements for the chatbot, applications to integrate, functions to automate, etc. are duly answered.
After this, the entire method of development is duly followed and timeline etc. is essentially decided. In case things go well, and all the data is present, then the entire ideation phase essentially requires nearly 4-5 days.
Implementation of Prototype
Essentially a prototype allows the business to check the most basic functionality of a chatbot and basically is a feasibility test that is intended to easily verify the design as well working of different critical features and functions.
Also, this particular phase allows for complete risk reduction and easily helps the businesses to implement as well as check if the chatbot they are essentially developing is properly in line with their actual business plan.
Basically, this phase can easily cost nearly $3000-$4000, which can vary from one company to another.
Release of Minimum Viable Product
Basically, the MVP phase is the time when the businesses are required to launch a much lighter version of the application to the entire general populace for obtaining their feedback.
It helps in identifying bugs as well as errors in the bot and also allows us to fix this before the overall integration as well as deployment. Also, after the launch of MVP, the best test results are finally obtained, and the developers can correct the errors and then finally launch the chatbot.
Creating and launching an MVP often cost around $10,000-$12000, which depends on the company you hire as well as features that you incorporate.
Hence, depending upon the development company you approach, the cost of developing a chatbot is around $13000-$16000.
Essentially, chatbots are currently disrupting the entire way the businesses and their customers communicate. Basically, they took over the tasks performed by humans, saving their time and also making them engaged as well as loyal to the brand.
Not only they talk our language, and even handle our inquiries but also make the customer experience much more automated as well as fast simultaneously and even more personalized along with human-like.
They are keeping us on the edge of a completely new era where every brand will have its own personal voice that will make the customer-brand relations much stronger and closer.