When considering investing in new chat technology, there’s an understandable focus on chatbot cost. However, the potential financial benefits often go unmentioned. Here, we take a look at whether you can afford to invest in a chatbot, then ask whether you can afford NOT to invest.

As always, cost is dependent on quality

chatbot cost illustrationIt may be a cliché, but with chatbots, you get what you pay for. The overall cost will largely depend on the amount of work that goes into developing and implementing your chatbot. If you’re investing in a relatively simple build, you’re going to pay less than you would for an all-singing, all-dancing model. After all, there are far greater chatbot implementation challenges when the process involves a more complex bot.

Want a chatbot that is equipped to handle a relatively small number of basic enquiries? It’s going to cost less than a bot that’s expected to play a major role in your customer service system and that’s equipped with and the ability to learn from each and every interaction.

This means that you need to know what you want from your chatbot if you’re to accurately establish how much it’s going to cost.

Understanding what your organisation needs

When working with a chatbot specialist, the first step is to consult on what the chatbot needs to do, what it can do within your organisation, and how it’s going to fit into your existing customer service infrastructure. This involves asking a number of questions that will have an impact on how much your chatbot costs.

For instance, it’s important to look at the size of the organisation and the extent to which the chatbot is expected to provide intervention-free customer service. At Inform, we’ll look at the processes within an organisation that can be automated by chatbot technology (as these differ drastically from organisation to organisation) and discuss which the client wants to be handled by their chatbot. Other questions involve more technical aspects. For instance, what platforms will your chatbot be operating on and how many customers will it be interacting with on a daily basis?

This initial consultative stage is an important step in determining how much a chatbot is going to cost. It allows us to see where the client is now, where it wants the chatbot to take it, and how much work is required to get there.

How much will your chatbot cost?

At Inform, the cost of a Chatbot including usage for a year starts at around £10,000. However, the vast majority of organisations recognise the benefit of investing in multiple chatbots for various departments, bringing down their overall costs. For instance, should a Local Authority require two chatbot services – one for their Revenue & Benefits department and one for their Environmental department – the cost will be modified accordingly.

For many, this relatively low cost comes as a surprise. It turns out that chatbot technology isn’t anywhere near as expensive as most people assume and is scalable to allow growth to meet the demands and requirements of LA’s.

The cost/benefit analysis

Many organisations considering a chatbot focus primarily on the cost of the technology, without taking the expected savings into consideration.

Our chatbots are capable of automating 90% of website enquiries and more than 50% of telephone enquiries due to the extensive knowledge system built over many years of automated telephony deployment. This results in remarkable savings for those organisations that spend too much time and money processing relatively simple enquiries via human agents. It also increases the value of those human agents by freeing them up to focus on more complex tasks.

Other benefits to organisations include 24/7 customer service, lower wait times, and improved understanding of your service users due to our comprehensive analytics module. In reality, the question is not ‘can we afford to have a chatbot?’ Rather, it’s ‘can we afford to NOT have a chatbot?’

Can you afford to NOT have a chatbot?

piggy bankChatbots aren’t just another customer service tech craze that will be here today and gone tomorrow. They’re shaping up to be a revolutionary technology that’s likely to become the principal way in which users interact with businesses and service providers.

Much of this is to do with the way digital technology is affecting consumer behaviour and altering the way in which people want to interact with organisations. Not only is a definite preference for chat emerging – 73% of UK internet users now regularly use mobile messaging,

25% of UK millennials never use their smartphone to make a call and 75% of them would rather text than talk – but customers are starting to prefer self-serve, too. A recent survey discovered that 67% of respondents preferred self-serve to speaking to a human agent.

Not only does investing in a chatbot make sense due to the financial savings on offer, but it also gives your customers what they want.

So, can you really afford to NOT invest in a chatbot?

What about free chatbot software?

Free chatbot software has one key advantage over a custom-built bot – it’s free! However, there are two major problems when it comes to utilising free chatbot software.

First, it offers you a second-rate product that does not meet the standards set by custom-builds. Compared to bots that are tailored to meet your precise needs, free bots are extremely basic. Not only will this limit their efficiency (and the amount of time and money they save you), but their deficiencies will be noticed by users.

Second, free bots generally aren’t free. Though the software itself typically offers basic functionality at no cost, you’ll have to design, build, test, and implement your bot yourself. This means finding people in-house with the required expertise, taking them away from their existing role and workload, and allowing them to dedicate themselves to chatbot technical and content development.

Even when the chatbot is complete, the work (and expenditure) doesn’t stop. Your bot will need to be refined and improved constantly, while tech support must be provided on an ongoing basis. Essentially, this chatbot cost quickly builds up and soon amounts to something approaching the figure you would expect to pay for a custom-built bot.

What next?

Like any workplace upgrade, chatbots are an investment. They demand an initial expenditure and, in return, allow an organisation to make considerable savings over an extended period of time. Fortunately, this initial expenditure is typically a lot more affordable than most people expect. At Inform, our job is to provide you with a chatbot that meets your specific needs and ensures a healthy return on investment. This typically requires a great deal of expertise. Fortunately, our 30 years of experience put us in a unique position and we’re able to provide powerful chatbot technology and content that helps you maintain the highest standards of customer care and service.

Have a question or want further information on implementing chatbots in your organisation? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.