You already know chatbots and you know that you want to use one for the service you offer, but you don’t know how to create one, or which tool to use? You have come to the right place! There are now several websites that allow you to create your own chatbot and broadcast it on the channels of your choice (instant messaging, email…). Here, we will compare different web platforms that allow you to create chatbots, and briefly explain their features.
There are several aspects on which we can judge a chatbot creation platform. Let’s start with infrastructure. Each platform will give you at least one of the two following options: chatbots stored « at home » (on your computer or server) and chatbots stored in the cloud, by the provider. The first option can be interesting to fully control your chatbot especially regarding security issues and ownership, the second case allows you to avoid having to take care of server maintenance. Snatchbot and Chatfuel platforms allow cloud deployment, while Dialogue Flow and Luis.ai offer a home installation (referred to as “on site”). Finally, the Kore.ai and IBM platforms offer both.
As for broadcasting channels, all platforms allow you to broadcast your chatbot on the most popular messaging systems such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype, or through a web interface, by email, text message… except Chatfuel which only allows FB Messenger and Telegram.
In terms of creation difficulty, if you are new to programming – but also if you are an expert – you will probably prefer a graphical interface, because chatbot editing is simpler this way, and more instinctive for visualization and design. This is what all the platforms mentioned above offer, with the exception of Dialogue Flow and Luis.ai.
To continue on this distinction between developer and non-developer, it should be noted that most platforms are designed for, or even limited to, use by developers. Two exceptions, however: SnatchBot.me and Chatfuel define themselves as open to any user. And they are indeed quite simple to use, if you’re familiar with chatbot editing, you can make a simple one in less than an hour.
Templates or “preconfigured chatbots” may be of interest to you if you are new to chatbots. Indeed, these are already existing chatbots that you can recuperate and modify according to your needs, so you don’t have to reinvent chatbot bases every time. On this point, SnatchBot.me offers you a very rich and attractive SnatchBot Store. Kore.ai also has a chatbot directory.
Now, let’s see advanced features. Two tools will be of interest to us here: natural language processing and synonym search. Natural language recognition and processing allow the chatbot to act autonomously in its response to messages. Indeed, it will have the ability to understand what the user means, with analysis of feelings, and by learning common expressions. The automatic synonym search makes the phrase-finding easier for you, so that you don’t have to describe all the possible answers. All platforms offer, at least in a basic way, these two functionalities, except Chatfuel. However, SnatchBot, Kore.ai, Luis.ai are the most complete because they offer the analysis of feelings, which is a very powerful tool once implemented.
Finally, and this is perhaps the most important thing, let’s talk about the prices. Most platforms offer a pricing model that is as follows: free for non-professional users and not free for companies. Kore.ai only offers solutions on a case-by-case basis, so you should contact them to find out the price. The SnatchBot.me and Chatfuel platforms stand out here by being completely free, both for the creation of chatbots and for the support it offers. They do offer a premium option, though, if you want somebody of their team to entirely design a chatbot for you according to your needs.
In conclusion, one of the main criteria for choosing an infrastructure may be the type of infrastructure you want, depending on whether you are a company with security requirements (in which case you may want an on-site solution) or a private individual (then cloud is simpler). The second criterion will probably be the price. If you’re a non-professional user, then just choose the one that gives you the best feeling, since most of them will be free for you. If you’re a professional, you might want to study all options to find the one that’s best adapted to you, but the price range should be fairly the same with all of them, about $15/month per chatbot.
Whatever platform you choose, know that new chatbot edition solutions are constantly being developed and improved. Creating a website was expensive and complicated in the beginning, now it’s simple and cheap. For the chatbots, we have already reached this stage and they are now within everyone’s reach!
Lorcan is an IT engineer and a specialist in AI and Robotics based in Barcelona, Spain. He worked for the European Space Agency and then decided to devote himself to writing articles to spread knowledge about new AI technologies.