What are the capabilities of a chatbot platform?
Chatbot platforms provide the software and interfaces required to create a chatbot.
- Graphical User Interface: A GUI makes it easier to develop a chatbot for both tech and non-tech users with a drag and drop based approach.
- Natural language processing (NLP) engines: A chatbot needs to understand the user and create an intelligent response. NLP engines use natural language understanding and generation techniques in order to make the conversation effective and natural.
- Analytics tools: The data generated by chatbot usage needs to be analyzed to improve the bot's performance over time. Chatbot platforms enable developers to use analytics tools to track KPIs and identify areas of improvement.
- Testing: Bots need to be tested extensively since natural language is complex and allows users an infinite combination of inputs. Chatbot platfoms facilitate chatbot testing by providing testing modules.
- Documentation and tutorials: Chatbot platforms offer tutorials and documentation to make it simple to develop a chatbot.
Why are chatbot platforms important now?
In order to understand the importance of chatbot platforms, it is necessary to understand the importance of chatbots.We explained the benefits and importance of chatbots in a research article before.
Chatbot platforms offer an easy-to-use bot-building tool for tech and sometimes non-tech users. Using chatbot platforms, enterprises can build better chatbots faster.
What are the advantages of a chatbot platform?
Advantages of chatbot platforms include cost-effectiveness and ease of deployment:
- Cost-effectiveness: Developing a chatbot can be a costly process. The options here are to hire a chatbot agency, set up a system from scratch or developing your own chatbot using a platform. According to the enterprise’s needs and budget, the best option can vary. For simple use cases, it may be appropriate to choose a chatbot platform.
- Fast deployment: Chatbot platforms offer integration options with messaging platforms and websites. The automatic integration makes it easier to make the chatbot ready-to-use. Chatbot platforms like Dialogflow provide extensive documentation and tutorial support to speed up the development effort.
How to choose the right chatbot platform for your business?
Chatbot platform is an emerging technology and unfortunately there is limited public data on the performance of different chatbot platforms. Our suggestion would to create a shortlist of vendors based on reputation, pricing and other procurement best practices. Then, you can try them out for a simple application as a proof of concept (PoC) project to have a better understanding of their performance. Most important criteria for comparing different chatbot platforms include:
- Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities of a chatbot is the most important factor in choosing a chatbot platform. However, this is also the most difficult one to test. You can build a simple chatbot with the platforms in your shortlist to gain a better understanding of their advantages.
- Machine Learning: Chatbots should not be built once, then left on their own. They should be constantly improved. Chatbot platforms offer continuous improvement with machine learning engines. Again, this is very hard to test in a quantitative, objective manner for all chatbot application areas. You would need to try out the performance of different platforms by building simple bots in them.
- Integration capabilities: A chatbot can be integrated with messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, or the website of the enterprise. Some chatbot platforms support direct integration with other platforms. A wide range of integration support makes it easy to deploy. This information is publicly available and is part of our comparison of top chatbot platforms below.
- Ease of use:The user interface of a chatbot platform should be easy-to-use. Especially for non-tech employees to develop a chatbot, ease of use is a critical factor for the process. A drag and drop system is easier than coding. While the availability of a drag&drop system is public data for chatbot platform, the ease of use of the chatbot system requires a personal evaluation of the platform.
- Security: As chatbots get information about the customer and as they get integrated to other platforms to provide data, security should be an important factor. Chatbot platforms should provide the necessary security measures such as the encryption of sensitive data.
- Pricing: There are different pricing plans for chatbot platforms like pay-per-request, pay-per-text, or paid plans for monthly use. There are chatbot platforms that offer free usage for some point. Also there are completely free chatbot platforms like Wit.ai.
We compared top chatbot platforms in detail, feel free to visit our research on top chatbot platforms.