Should You Build Your Own Chatbot?

[24]7.ai | September 11, 2018

In recent years, chatbots have surged in popularity, with more and more companies using them to automate and improve their customer experience. There are a number of chatbot solutions on the market, and if you’re ready to deploy, the upfront savings offered by a do-it-yourself (DIY) chatbot solution might be tempting – but a DIY chatbot will almost certainly cost your organization more in the long run.

Not all chatbots are created equal, and for enterprises, chatbots need to be smart to be effective. Basic, DIY bots won’t be able to offer the level of assistance your customers expect, and can actually damage your brand’s reputation by complicating your customer service experience.

Here are eight disadvantages of building your own chatbot.  

1. Not as Intelligent

Do-it-yourself chatbots typically don’t employ machine and self-learning, and many don’t understand true intent. For instance, a simple DIY chatbot might not know that canceling a check is not a bad thing, but canceling a service can be.

2. Limited Scope

An intelligent chatbot from an experienced provider can handle hundreds of different requests right out of the box. It’s been industry trained across millions of interactions. DIY chatbots typically require the user to build the understanding and intent from scratch. This can take time and careful training.

3. Higher Risk of Failure

If the chatbot doesn’t help customers, they aren’t likely to use it in the future. Worse, what if your chatbot misbehaves (e.g. provides customers with the wrong information)? For a customer experience that is meant to be entertaining, an incorrect answer doesn’t carry nearly as much cost and risk as it does in the enterprise.

4. Expensive Custom Development

While there are chatbot tools and smart-machine platforms (e.g. IBM Watson, Microsoft Bot Framework, and Facebook Wit.ai), these platforms are primarily used for general purposes. Deploying them in the enterprise will require extensive development efforts and big budgets.

5. Integration Burden

Enterprise chatbots from a proven provider often deliver ready-made integration with popular enterprise information systems as well as standardized interfaces for integration with custom applications. DIY chatbots must be integrated from scratch.

6. Longer Time to Deploy

You likely want your chatbot to be available yesterday. It will take your team much longer to build a natural-language model and a knowledge/context base when you are starting from scratch.

7. Higher Costs

Custom development and longer development cycles can negate perceived cost benefits of DIY chatbots versus proven chatbot solutions.

8. Lack of Analytics

Typically, DIY platforms focus only on the ‘optics.’ One of the true benefits extracted from intelligent chatbots is the ability to meaningfully analyze the conversations to isolate key trends and understandings.

Now that you know all about the disadvantages that come with building your own bot, it’s time to learn how to deploy an effective enterprise chatbot. Get started by downloading our eBook, AI and Digital Self-Service: Everything you Need to Know about Chatbots.