We are often asked this by clients looking to start their first chatbot project. Like most software projects the price really depends on the scale and complexity of the project. This will govern the effort involved to build the bot and define whether it needs to be a custom chatbot or off the shelf solution.
So, let’s take a look at the key drivers impacting the price for custom chatbot development.
The first one is the channel in which the bot should function. By this, I mean where the bot will be used. It could be as a website widget implemented as a popup interface or webpage (You can learn more about webpage chatbots here) or deployed into existing messaging platforms. Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Viber, Google Assitant are just a few examples with some providing more complex UI elements which can be utilised in your bot.
There are a number of really good bot building platforms for creating UI chatbot interfaces such as Botstar, Chatfuel and Manychat; these offer some free templates and the ability to create chatbots which can be deployed to websites and Facebook Messenger. These Bot building platforms offer some good features: Visual Flow Editors, APIs & Webhook Integrations, Templates, Broadcasting etc. In our experience, we have found that even with free templates there are some costs due to setup and minor customisation. So our minimum price is around £600 with some monthly costs for hosting and chatbot management and training.
Natural Language Ability
If a chatbot is required to support more complex natural language processing features and not just UI elements such as buttons then this will mean that additional effort is needed to train the bot and design and implement a more complex conversational flow. These sort of bots start at around £1500. We utilise Dialogflow Natural Language Processing to offer these types of solutions.
The complexity, scope and volume of the required conversational ability effects cost. This relates to specifics such as:
Number of branches in the conversation tree.
Quantity of questions that have to be handled by the chatbot which can often be in the 1000s.
The complexity of conversational ability ie. support for complex user enquires.
So chatbots which combine richer elements with complex conversational ability can be in the region of £1500 – £3000
The other area which will impact cost is dependent: what the chatbot will need to do carry out its role? Will the chatbot need to integrate with current systems to provide its responses? Will it need to hand over to live agents? Connect with CRM and ticketing solutions? Some chatbots may need to carry out complex interactions to provide answers to customer queries. Bots can even call systems utilising Artificial intelligence to provide relevant information based on historical chat data, for example using, https://www.tensorflow.org. With so many possibilities for bot features It’s hard to estimate the price here, but these types of chatbots cost from £4000. For each integration, we would suggest a cost of £1000-2000 it really depends on the amount of development effort required for each one.
Languages and Features
Chatbots are capable of supporting different languages, as long as these are supported by the NLP engine it’s possible to add different language permutations fairly easily. However, each language will need its own testing so costs can be in the region of £500-1000 for each language.
Finally, depending on which channel the bot will work in there is also scope to provide other functionality such as voice capability for web chatbots or enhanced chatbot interface features. Again costs depend on the amount of complexity and effort involved in building each feature. As an example adding voice interaction to a Web chatbot would be £500.
As you can see, the cost of a chatbot project can vary dependent on the features required. However, the cost of a capable chatbot does not have to be prohibitive and it’s often a good idea to start small and add features as business needs require them.
At The Bot Forge, whatever the cost we propose for your chatbot project our aim is to create value for your business and hopefully form a long-lasting relationship.