What are chatbots for and how much do they cost?


A chatbot is a computer intelligent agent that provides interaction between business and its customers. It is located in a pop-up window on the website or in various messengers and social networks. It is also possible to implement voice communication between a bot and a person.

Five reasons why chatbots are needed:

  1. Customers should see that business is in touch with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  2. Chatbots extend sales channels and can be located in messengers and social networks.
  3. Chatbots reduce personnel costs, since they take on many routine tasks.
  4. When communicating with the bot, customers feel personal relationship to them, which increases their trust in the company.
  5. People like to communicate, while receiving information from the interlocutor, and not from static texts on the site.

Chatbot functions

Below are some examples of tasks that chatbots perform. Each of them can be implemented by a separate chatbot or be an integral part of a single company bot.

Buttons or text input?

According to the method of communication with a person, there are bots of two types:

🦉 Often, bots implement full or partial combination of button and text navigation.

Rules or training?

According to the algorithms of behavior, there are also two types of bots:

🦉 As with the navigation system, it is possible to combine rule-based logic and machine learning.

How much does a chatbot cost?

The price varies greatly depending on the complexity of the bot and the tasks it solves. Here are some guidelines, although prices on the market can vary greatly in one direction or another.

The base location of the bot is the company's website. Often the same bot or its adapted version is placed in various messengers (facebook messenger, instagram, telegram, etc.). Moreover, each channel has certain restrictions on the use of interface elements. For example, navigation involving a large number of buttons will work on a website or telegram, but not on facebook or instagram. Such adaptation of the bot for different channels should be taken into account when forming the price.

Finally, there are the monthly costs of hosting a bot. Depending on the intensity of its work, it can be about $ 20-100.

What do you need for a chatbot?

Naturally, you need a desire and financial resources. In addition, you should answer a series of starting questions that will help form the cost of the bot and the timing of its creation:

  1. Industry and clients:
    • Goodman Daughter & Sons Law Firm.
    • Advice and representation in family law court.
    • More than 300 regular customers.
  2. Distribution channels:
    • Company website www.goodman-daughter-and-sons.com
    • Facebook messenger.
    • Office phone.
  3. Bot languages:
    • English
    • Spanish
  4. Tasks solved by the bot:
    • Company presentation:
      • Our lawyers (photography, education, experience).
      • Information about successful processes.
      • Locations of our offices, contacts.
    • Extension of the customer base (name, phone number and description of the customer's problem).
    • Make an appointment with our lawyers.
    • Search for information in the document database.
  5. Interaction interface:
    • Button navigation with text input elements (name, phone, customer question).
    • When searching the database - recognition of text terms from about 50 thematic domains.
    • Voice interface for the task of making an appointment (calls to an office phone).
  6. Communication with external resources:
    • Receiving information about a new client by email, saving it to the bot database.
    • Integration with google-calendar about appointment, duplication in the messenger.
    • Http - requests to the document database on the company's server.
  7. News and Discount Alerts:
    • Not yet.

Next, you need to provide the content that is necessary for the bot to work: texts, images, videos. In principle, the developer can use the resources from the customer's site and even act as a copywriter (for an additional fee). However, only you know what your client needs to hear.

How is development going?

After agreeing on the concept of the bot and receiving the initial content, a prototype of the bot is created, which is provided to the customer for approval.

For a rule-based bot with button navigation, the prototype is a set of screens with buttons that navigate those screens. The screens may contain stubs such as "there will be scrolling of goods with a picture, name and description", etc. The customer tests the bot and can edit the texts and labels on the buttons right there.

The second iteration consists of filling the bot with internal logic of behavior, processing the input of text information and loading data (catalog of goods, list of services, etc.). At this stage, the bot is already quite functional.

At the third iteration, interaction with external systems (databases, CRM, google-calendar, etc.) is organized. Any of the stages, depending on the complexity of the bot, can be divided into sub-stages.

In a bot that understands natural language, it is necessary first of all to determine the list of intentions of the bot users. Examples of intentions: "Greetings", "Consent", "Misunderstanding", "I want to buy ...". For each intention, the developer prepares examples of phrases in one or another natural language. So, for the "Greeting" intent, dozens of phrases are possible from " good afternoon " to " hello, soulless piece of iron ". The more there are such examples, the better it will be. Then machine learning is carried out, as a result of which the bot will begin to "understand" not only the training examples, but also their various variations. This work requires many iterations and continues after the bot is launched into production. At the same time, the behavior of real users is analyzed from what texts they enter when communicating with the bot.