The Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Chatbot

Monday, October 10, 2022
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Many companies now offer chatbot development services, while CRM systems, such as Salesforce, offer chatbot modules to plug into the platform environment. But what are the pros and cons of building your own chatbot? We discuss them here.

Chatbots are computer programs that can mimic humanconversation. They are increasingly used in providing customer service online.Many companies now offer chatbot development services, while CRM systems, suchas Salesforce, offer chatbot modules to plug into the platform environment. Butwhat are the pros and cons of building your own chatbot? We discuss the prosand cons below, or you can listen to our podcast.


The pros of building your own chatbot

1. Potentially cheaper

Most businesses that decide to design their own chatbot doso in the belief that it will save money. However, this relies on having staffin-house that know how to build a chatbot and also have the skill to writeconversation flows that feel organic and natural.

2. Fine control over the project

In the right hands, the self-development of chatbots givesthe owner fine control over the output and how the chatbot interacts withcustomers or employees. This fine control can lead to more natural interactionsand a better user experience, as the business has complete control over how itschatbot looks, feels and works.

3. Grow in-house skills

As with any software development, creating the productin-house allows for growth in staff skillsets. If chatbot development is a partof your business's direction, this can be a great investment in time and money,but less so if the chatbot product is intended as a one-off project and onlyfor your organisation.

4. Adhere to business ownership policies

The resulting chatbot will adhere to your business ownershippolicies. This means that the chatbot will only be used for the company'soutlined purposes and not for any other purpose.


The cons of building your own chatbot

1. Lack of skilled chatbot designers

Most companies lack the skilled designers to build aneffective chatbot, which leads to a steep learning curve, long project deliverytimescales, and a final product that does not meet the company's or user'sneeds.

2. Poor user experience

Like an employee that isn't focused on the job, a poorlyplanned chatbot is a bad user experience that can turn a potential customer offfrom using your business. This leaves you in a development cycle to improve theresults to beat the competition.

3. Inefficient use of the platform

Most chatbot environments have many features and designelements you can use to create a chatbot. If you don't have the skill setin-house, you'll likely end up using only a fraction of what's available,leading to inefficient use of the platform.

4. Scoping challenges

When you start a chatbot development project, it can bechallenging to scope out all possible conversation flows and design elements.This leads to changes mid-development, which can impact the project's timeline,quality and cost.

5. Time is money

The perception that creating chatbots in-house is cheaper isoften incorrect. While it may seem cheaper to develop software in-house usingexisting staff, the long-term costs of maintaining an in-house development teamcan be prohibitively expensive. In addition, building a chatbot in-houserequires significant technical expertise and can be time-consuming.

Thus, outsourcing chatbot development to a third-partyprovider is often more cost-effective. These providers have the technicalexpertise and experience to quickly and efficiently develop a chatbot thatmeets your needs. They also have the resources to maintain and update yourchatbot as needed, ensuring that it continues to meet your business needs.


Is there a middle ground?

Working with an agency that has years of experienceproducing chatbots for projects big and small, they will be very aware of theimportance of scoping out projects efficiently. Each project begins with clearbaseline needs, but the abilities of the chatbots that can be produced are virtuallyendless. Where you might use an out-of-the-box solution, such as the chatbotsin Salesforce, Hubspot and other CRMs, a lack of experience with such projectscan lead to missing out on various features. These features can be thedifference between a flat, useless chatbot and a chatbot that is invaluable toyour customers and your staff.

So a very real option is to use experts similar to ourselveshere at Disruption Works, where we can design a chatbot that works perfectlyfor your company and then transfer knowledge to your in-house team. We areparticularly software agnostic as a company - we don't believe in sticking witha single platform. So taking this approach, we can build what works for you. Thisallows us to use our skills even if you're reliant on interactions with aspecific CRM or engaged in a chatbot service on a platform you wish to continueusing. This also allows the stakeholders in your organisation to be as hands-onas they like to be.

Not only does this provide a better experience from day one,with a richer, more natural and more intelligent journey for the customers, butit brings that day one much sooner than the in-house team will achieve. Achatbot project with experts on board will then be much more likely to bedelivered on time and within budget, with no risk of spiralling in-house costs,providing you with a pre-defined return on investment that you can measurewithout impacting your internal resources.

With the documentation that our experts can provide to yourdev support team, they will be able to take over the chatbot's maintenance andfuture development themselves, or can lean on us for any ongoing support andmaintenance package as part of your investment.

Posted by:
Dave Antwis
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