The efficiency and cost-saving capabilities offered by chatbots have many organizations champing at the bit to deploy one – but with the vast array of vendors on the market offering varying solutions, choosing the best bot for your business can be tricky.
Chatbots aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Before you start considering your options, it’s important to step back and clearly define what you want your bot to do. What will success look like to your organization?
Once you have a solid idea of what you’re looking for, you can assemble a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will get answers to your organization’s most critical questions, and help you narrow in on the right vendor much faster.
The following are some things you should consider as you set out to find the right chatbot for your needs.
Are you looking for something to handle basic customer questions (similar to an FAQ page) or do you want a bot that can understand and converse with customers the way a human agent would, even process and complete transactions on behalf of your organization? There are varying levels of chatbot sophistication, so be sure you understand exactly what your bot will be capable of. Deploying the wrong bot or expecting too much from a simple bot will completely defeat the purpose of your chatbot investment.
Today’s customers want seamless experiences across channels, so keep this in mind when deciding where to deploy your chatbot. Deploying it on some channels (e.g. desktop) but not on others (social or mobile) will provide an inconsistent experience that can end up costing you customers. It’s also much easier to approach your chatbot implementation with a deployment strategy that won’t require you to reinvent the wheel with each new channel, and having that mindset from the get-go will make the process much smoother.
There are plenty of vendors offering low-cost chat solutions, but going this route could end up costing you more in the long run. Most basic chatbots often perform below expectations, which will lead to greater customer frustration and put more pressure on your human agents. Spending a bit more upfront for an intelligent chatbot that will allow customers to converse naturally and solve problems on their own will not only improve customer satisfaction, it will save you money in the long run by deflecting customers from your more expensive support channels.
On-premises solutions might offer your company more control, but there are a lot of associated costs to consider, including real estate, servers, hard drives, network equipment, and personnel, just to name a few. A cloud-based solution from a trusted vendor will be faster and easier to deploy and eliminates many of the associated costs and headaches that come with installing an on-site solution.
Chatbots are not a "set it and forget it" implementation. Are you prepared to devote (or hire) staff members to integrate, optimize, and supervise your chatbot on a permanent basis, or would you rather leave these tasks in the capable hands of a trusted vendor? These tasks can also impact your time to deploy, so be sure you choose the option that’s in sync with your project timeline.
Vendors who have experience working with companies similar to yours will likely be able to offer valuable insight and guidance throughout the process and deliver a chatbot that offers tangible value much quicker than a vendor with little to no experience. It’s also typically much easier to get execs on board with a vendor who has a proven track record for success in your industry.
Choosing a chatbot is not like choosing your next car – there is a lot more to think about! For a detailed overview of the questions and considerations you should take into account when assembling your chatbot RFP, download our eBook, So You Think You Want a Chatbot?