chatbot | 11 MIN READ
chatbot | 6 min read
How Much Does Building a Chatbot Cost?
Published by Hardik Makadia on 27-Jun-2022
chatbot | 6 min read
Published by Hardik Makadia on 27-Jun-2022
Thanks to the numerous chatbot benefits, businesses are implementing them at an alarming rate.
Statistics have shown that chatbots were the fastest-growing communication channel used by businesses in 2020.
And with the need to catch up, you’ve finally decided to get a chatbot solution for your business.
But like many decision-makers, you’re perplexed. Because you’re now wondering, “how much does it cost to build a chatbot?”
The answer to that isn’t as straightforward as you may think. A lot of factors go into deciding its costing but it is your business goals and approach that ultimately decide the final cost.
So the two main questions you’ll need answers to determine the costs are:
What am I trying to achieve with the chatbot solution?
How am I going to avail the chatbot solution?
The cost depends on whether you’re building a chatbot in-house, getting a subscription-based solution, or buying a ready-made solution.
So let’s take a look at what the chatbot costs look like with each of these approaches and the things you should consider when choosing to invest in chatbot technology.
Although most companies opt for a subscription model of leveraging the chatbot technology, a few even opt to go for an in-house custom bot development.
If you have the right resources and technical know-how in your team, this approach might even be the ideal option for you.
But beware: the costs associated with in-house chatbot development will be vastly different and comparatively higher initially. Yet, many businesses go for it because of the following benefits:
You can implement complex and unique functionalities
You can use the latest technologies to build the bot from scratch
You can practice regular maintenance, and make constant improvements without dependency on a third party.
You have the liberty to develop voice-enabled devices
You can have customized integrations and also integrate your internal systems of live chat, and BI into your chatbot solution
You can ensure full security of the chatbot
This method does call for its own server infrastructure and requires sufficient time for the development and deployment of the project.
If you have still made up your mind to go with this approach, here are some custom chatbot costs to consider:
If you’re starting everything from scratch, you’ll need to hire expert developers who will develop the solution for you. They need to be proficient with
Existing chatbot frameworks like IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure Bot Service, etc
Programming languages like Java, Python, and PHP
Experience in integrating chatbots on different platforms
Consider their average salary of $45/hour or $80,000/ year.
Also, keep in mind that this is just one developer. If you want to hasten the process, you’ll need a development team so this cost will multiply.
Additionally, you’ll need to pay for must-have integrations such as CRM and scheduling tools.
This is also the phase wherein you must decide on:
What extent of backend support will you require?
Which channels do you want to integrate your chatbot on?
How complex do you want your chatbot architecture to be?
Seeking answers to these questions will help you develop the right chatbot solution for your business.
In addition to building the bot, you’ll also be entirely responsible for maintaining it.
Your tool will always require research, constant updates, and tweaks that would wherein you will need to regularly allocate time and resources. The cost will vary based on the modifications but you can expect the cost to be around $100 to $2000 per month.
Although building a bot is fairly simple, it is the script that is tricky.
You will need to work on establishing conversational flows that imitate human interactions.
When you are building a chatbot from scratch, you’ll have to invest in a creative writer who can build strategic flows for you. You’ll also need to hire a graphic designer that will provide the personalized UI.
So, you’ll need to consider their salaries also which will be a total of around $100k per year.
Opting for in-house chatbot development, as we have just discussed, requires a lot of groundwork. Alternatively, you can opt for flexible chatbot pricing models that chatbot vendors provide for businesses based on their company size.
These pricing modules are:
Every small business aims to grow.
But they are often overloaded with queries and find it challenging to address and satisfy customers with a limited team.
A small business that is just starting out has the primary benefit of using automation tools — getting more work done in less time. For a small business with a team of more than 100 employees, basic features won’t suffice. You’ll need slight customizations and integrations that will fulfill your conversational goals. Brands then go for an affordable plan where you can expect the following features:
Easy-to-use chatbot builder
Chat Interface Custom Visibility for branding Customizing the look and feel of the chat widget
Live chat where your agents can interact with users in real-time
Basic analytics to track if the chatbot is performing well
Team Management in live chat
Monthly Cost: $30 to $100 per month
With an even bigger team and a bigger customer base, you require advanced functionalities. You need customizations that are tailored to your business goals. For a mid-size company with around 500 employees, businesses often opt for a business plan or a pro-plan.
You can expect the following inclusions in the business plan offered by WotNot:
Option to remove branding
Human handover from bot to live agent
FAQ bot builder for automating answers to routing queries
Implementation Assistance and Training
Advance Integration like Salesforce, HubSpot, Google Calendar, Airtable, etc.
Monthly cost: $400-$500 per month
An enterprise chatbot builder incorporates multiple use-cases and is pricier than the previous options. But these are especially directed toward large corporations that involve implementation, legal, and security costs. The plans include implementation and usage costs that may be otherwise absent in chatbot solutions for small and mid-size companies.
Some common features that an enterprise plan includes are:
A single sign-on (SSO) where users can use one login credentials to access multiple applications
24/7 Prioritized Support for any queries and dedicated support assistance
Custom development of features and integrations that make the chatbot deeply connected with the internal systems
Analysis assistance and inclusions of any custom KPIs on the analytics dashboard
Monthly cost: $1000 to custom pricing per month
If you want to skip the hassle of building a chatbot, you can opt for ready-made chatbot solutions in the market that solve specific business needs. You can simply access the templates and pick one according to your use case and your bot is ready for deployment.
However, you’ll get access to a fixed amount of features and limited options for customizations. If you’re a solopreneur who just needs to automate a few operational tasks, this solution works best for you.
There are also marketplaces for accessing chatbots on apps like Telegram and Slack. This option will save you time and money on chatbot development and helps you access chatbots in one location. The costs associated with this approach are almost nil.
Many chatbot vendors including WotNot offer a free plan where small businesses or startups can use a chatbot free of cost. The inclusions in this plan are:
No-code chatbot builder where you can self-build chatbots without technical expertise
Ready-to-use templates for different use-cases
Unlimited bots for different pages
Analytics Dashboard for real-time analytics of the bot
Monthly Cost: None
Evidently, your end-costing will depend on the size of your business and what chatbot development method you choose. Below, you can check out the differences in each of these approaches which will help you decide your budget.
You also need to take into account other elements that will help you determine the final costs associated with implementing a chatbot solution.
Let’s take a look at these factors in detail:
Chatbots come in several types and forms.
Rule-based bots have a decision tree type of conversation flow but their length and complexity will depend on your goals. So it is those factors that will decide the final cost but you don’t have to pay for any add-ons associated with AI integrations.
On the other hand, AI chatbots are built with the help of NLP engines like Dialogflow. To build one, you need to know defining intents, entities, and responses on Dialogflow (Or any other NLP engines) or you need to hire an expert that does.
AI chatbots will hence involve the costs of NLP engines as well as the skills associated with building the bot. If the cost of a rule-based bot is $400 per month, you can expect the cost of an AI chatbot twice as high at around $800 per month.
Integrations are pretty much anything that your bot will need to plug into. A chatbot has to have some integrations for the solution to work in a wholesome way.
The prices of these integrations vary. It takes around 30-80 hours to integrate a tool into your chatbot and will cost you somewhere around $1000 to $10,000.
Some of the top integrations that you might want to consider are:
Customer Service Tool like Zendesk
CRM system like Hubspot, Salesforce, Zoho
Payment Platforms like Paypal, Amazon Pay
Accounting like Quickbooks
CMS System like WordPress, Magneto
Utility Apps like Airtable, Google Sheets, Zapier
Channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack
Depending on your industry and goals, chatbots can have multiple use cases. It can be to generate leads, train employees, schedule visitor appointments, etc.
For example, in eCommerce, most opt for a product recommendation chatbot or a customer support chatbot. A real-estate brand is inclined towards building an appointment scheduling bot and so on.
The point is that these use-cases will decide the integrations you need to have and decide the complexity of the bot flow which will decide the end cost.
Designing a bot flow that results in a positive experience for the user is a skill. Chatbot design includes everything from defining the goals, to writing the script, making it engaging at every step of the flow, and ensuring that the conversation reaches its goal. This cost is directed towards the marketing and design team who ensures that the chatbot fulfills its purpose.
The chatbot flow and design depend on the extent of conversation you want your bot to have with your customers. Do you want the bot to have end-to-end conversations or just a brief conversation to get the customer on board and appoint them to a live agent?
If you decide to let the chatbot take over the reins entirely, the chatbot flow will be longer, resulting in a higher chatbot cost.
After the what and how you need to know where to deploy your bot. Your platform will ultimately decide the usage costs you’ll incur. While your website chatbot or a Facebook Messenger chatbot will not involve any additional costs, other personalized platforms like WhatsApp and SMS will.
The usage costs include the chatbot cost you pay per conversation. For example, the cost of an SMS chatbot, where you can have automated conversations via text messaging will be based on each text message you send via SMS. These costs are decided by communication API providers like Twilio. They charge different rates for different countries.
Demo SMS cost for the USA
One of the many benefits of chatbots is that they’re ‘cost-effective’. But they can only achieve this if you have done your research and figured out an optimized solution based on your business requirements.
Ensure that whatever you decide, the chatbot cost doesn’t exceed what you can’t afford. You can always start small and opt for an advanced solution as you realize its benefits and start generating a reasonable ROI.
Too many things to remember, right?
We know it’s tricky to decide on an option where you spend less and get more.
It would be wise for you to get a demo to understand the dynamics of chatbot cost. You can get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help. We can walk you through the different pricing modules and help you choose the right plan for you. The one that can reap chatbot benefits in the future.