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How to Find The Right Chatbot Agency?

There are a lot of companies offering chatbot development. You can find them in Asia, Australia, USA, Central or Eastern Europe. (Wait. Actually, we’re located there :)) The companies differ in a lot of ways, for example, their size starts from software boutiques up to international giants (with thousands of developers).

 

Finding a trustful chatbot provider may seem like a challenging task. Comparing companies’ technologies, management approach and prices can be more complicated than you expect.

 

The first challenge is massively random listings with providers that you find in Google Search. After you find the listings you need to filter them by country, price, portfolio, etc.

 

Unfortunately, some of the listings do not contain company portfolios that represent them solely as a trusted chatbot agency. Sometimes information (described in the listing) about the companies are taken from not-sso reliable sources like forums etc. All the data need to be confirmed by a company representative or taken from reliable sources: website, social media accounts or conversation with the founders, sales or marketers. I am sure you might be asking me which listing are reliable.Well, wonder no further!

 

We have been working with these listings a few years already and gained lots of leads and clients from these channels. So, take a look at the top listings of chatbot agencies.

chatbot-agency

 

Clutch – ratings, and reviews of leading IT, marketing, and business services companies. It contains a few listings like the Top Chatbot Companies and Top Chatbot Makers.

GoodFirms – trusted B2B research platform with a collection of reviews, listings and company descriptions. Top Chatbot Development Companies

Upwork – a global platform for finding freelancers for a project. Top 10 Chatbot Freelancers

Recovendor – top global listings of software development companies. Top Chatbot Developers list.

 

The next way to find a chatbot agency that will serve you well and build a virtual assistant for your business is global or local chatbot events. Below we compiled the most trendy and well-known regular conferences and events for 2019-2020 where you’ll find your chatbot agency BFF.

 

ChatbotSummit – is the international conference connecting professionals who create the next curve of digital experiences. It is a big networking event that connects people twice a year in Berlin and Tel Aviv. Here you’ll get the opportunity to share your knowledge, expertise, learn new trends and find partners or leads.

 

Chatbot Conference (USA) – the place for sharing and getting insights on how the giant companies are using chatbots and AI to increase their revenues and decrease their costs. Headliners include speakers from the Chatbot & AI space, many of the hottest chatbot startups, and influencers like Microsoft, IBM, Dashbot, Assist, SmartLoop, etc.

 

Chatbot Conference (Netherlands) – the opportunity to learn insights from the leading technology giants like KP, Nuon, ABN Amro, Samsung, etc. On the conference, speakers share their expertise in chatbot development technologies, implementation and its benefits for industries using cases of big European (especially Dutch) chatbot market.

 

Business of Bots – the event to learn how to build, launch, and maintain a top-performing bot.

Minds Mastering Machines 2019 – Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science – during the event you’ll learn the latest tools and frameworks, how to get your team up and running on AI and ML projects.

 

World Summit AI – one of the largest AI summits gathers the global AI ecosystem of Enterprise, BigTech, Startups, Investors and Science, the brightest brains in AI as speakers in Amsterdam.

 

Artificial Intelligence Conference 2019 – the most promising developments, emerging technologies, and profitable use cases will be considered during the summit.

 

RAAIS – AI technologies for the common good – the event brings together entrepreneurs and researchers who accelerate the science and applications of AI technology for the common good.

 

Meetups, events, etc. – throughout the year appear lots of local meetups and events dedicated to chatbot development and AI project management. Search in Google with the keywords “chatbot event” plus add the month that works for you and the place. Surely you’ll find the right one event.

 

References are the third reliable way to find trusted chatbot agency. If you are a business owner, sales or marketer in customers service or around business process automation, you must have a few friends who are working in their company with a chatbot. Ask them to share the contact info the chatbot agency. At the start, two years ago we had only a few clients. We served them very well and developed high-quality chatbots and business automation systems. It was a pleasure to have them recommend us to their friends. So, it was one of the most valuable channels get the clients.

 

In addition, you can find a few chatbots in any customer service (like delivery, retail, etc.) and try to test them. If you like a chatbot, feel free to contact the company to share chatbot agency contacts. You never know which way will work for you in the quickest way possible.

 

What are your evaluation criteria and ways to find the chatbot development agency for boosting sales or business automation? Please leave your feedback and questions in the contact form or in comments in social media.

Looking for a trusted chatbot agency? Contact us and we will give you a preliminary assessment within 3 minutes.

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5 Items to Consider for Chatbot Total Cost of Ownership

Common sense dictates that besides paying for the development of the chatbot it’s worth considering the cost of running the bot itself. Let’s take a deeper look into the so-called total cost of chatbot ownership.

chatbot-cost

 

It consists of 5 components that have to evaluate for every project:

Cost of licenses for the tools. There are many available tools that could speed up the development process of a chatbot and implementation of the corresponding AI. I could just name a few:  Smooch, DialogFlow, IBM Watson, Amazon Lex, Chatfuel and many others. Also, you will have at the end of the day to pay money their usage, it could be a fixed subscription fee or cost per message. Please check the details on the website of the vendor.

To tell the truth, there is an option to consider the free open source projects such as Botkit, Botpress, Node-red or others, where there is no need to pay for licenses.

You will also need to pay for access to live agent software if you’re going to use it in your project.

Running costs of sending messages. Implementation of a chatbot for WhatsApp or for SMS will also require making payment for sending messages. We extensively using Twilio and highly recommend it.

Servers and environments costs. Your chatbot should be running somewhere. Even if you’re using a SaaS solution mentioned in the item, you will probably need to have a back-end part that should be hosted somewhere, otherwise, the whole bot should have hosting either in the cloud or on-premise.

For cloud installations, we generally recommend to our clients that they start with the lowest configuration of environment (about 25 USD per month for AWS ) and increase its usage while the bot will increase in popularity. In terms of the total cost of ownership, all the expenses are considered to be operational.

While on-premise installations are more complicated for TCO calculations, it’s generally considered the cost of hardware, cost of its maintenance, cost of server-side software (operational system, application servers, etc.)  I advise talking with your local IT team to get that figure.

Support from the development team and bug fixes. The bot is the application that requires support from the developers. This includes normal, run of the mill, bug fixes as well as the allotted amount of time for the improvement of Chabot. Generally speaking, the customer and team of chatbot developers have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) wherein the response time and limit of monthly reserved hours are agreed between all parties.

Support and tuning of the conversation. The conversation of a chatbot is rarely perfect from the get-go. It requires tuning and training on a daily basis from the side of user experience. We estimate that on average, about 30% of Chabot development costs should be allocated to that particular item during the first 3-4 months after publishing the chatbot.

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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Chatbot In 2019?

I used to be asked about it several times a week by clients who want to understand the business of chatbot creation. The price really depends on the effort required to build the bot, as we don’t sell pre-made chatbot templates.

Spoiler alert: it will take between $200 USD to $15k USD to build a single chatbot. If we’re building the chatbot platform, or self-made data science is required, the price could be even higher.

So, let’s take a look at the key drivers impacting the price for custom chatbot development.

  The first one is the channel in which the bot should function. I mean where the bot will actually do its work. Is it a website, SMS, some of the existing messaging platforms? The cheapest ones are FB, Telegram, Viber, Web and others when it’s possible to use the platform UI components to make rule-based conversations. There are even plenty of FREE FB chatbots templates. Here’s an example https://templates.botstar.com/. In reality, it will be required to customize such a template a little, so that’s why the minimum price for a chatbot is about 200 bucks.  More complexity comes when the bot for WhatsApp or SMS is required to be built. It means that there are no UI controls and additional effort will be required to train the bot and fix all possible flows of the conversation. Such bots are starting from around $1000 USD.

The next point that has to be considered is the complexity of the conversation. That relates to  a) the number of branches in the conversation tree as well as b) the number of questions that have to be addressed by the chatbot (in case of FAQ chatbot) and c) the need to support the unstructured dialog with the end user. Training the bot to support several hundred FAQs will require an additional thousand USD. Free based conversations will also add about 500 USD to the price list. While structured conversations will not impact the chatbot cost significantly. Some bots could have a specific task related to the use of Artificial Intelligence. We’ve had requests to understand dreams and automate confession. That’s a separate task which requires corresponding data sets and the training of machine learning models. It’s hard to estimate the price here, but that kind of bot will cost from $10k USD and more. On the other hand, the bot could be made more intelligent while enriching with sentiment analysis, which does not require being built from scratch and is available via API (that is an additional 500 for projects)

Bots are rarely working in isolation, so in most of cases, integration with back-end systems is required. Typically, chatbots are integrated with a CRM, ticketing, live agent solutions or some other business specific solution. You would need to account for $1k-2k USD for each such integration.

Bots are very language sensitive, everything is pretty much in English. It’s widely supported by all the vendors. It’s also fine with the major European languages such as French, German and Spanish. But what about others, and even non-European languages? That’s a more complicated story. If one of the trusted providers has the support of your language, then it makes sense to invest in custom bot development. Otherwise, I would not even recommend doing that if your bot requires any bit of an AI component.

 

I would also recommend that you look at my blogpost related to the total cost of ownership for a chatbot solution and the criteria for selecting a chatbot development provider.  

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