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How to Make a Chatbot: Best Practices, Technologies & Business Benefit [Guide]

25 min read

Today, over 1.4 billion people worldwide interact with chatbots on a regular basis.

The use of chatbots is beneficial for both businesses and customers. They can reduce operational costs by up to 30%, provide 24/7 service and improve user experience. Chatbots are predicted to save $8 billion annually by 2022 for healthcare.

How to Make a Chatbot

This article will explain how to build a chatbot from scratch and cover the following topics:

  • how chatbot creation benefits businesses
  • types of chatbots and how to choose the right one for your business
  • two approaches to building a chatbot
  • the technology stack used for chatbot development
  • detailed process to make a chatbot

Let’s find out why build a chatbot today and how to make an AI chatbot.

Benefits of Chatbot Development Business

Chatbot is software that can simulate and process conversations (written or spoken) with a user in natural-like language. Chatbots can be used in mobile applications, messaging apps, websites, social media, etc. The interaction with a chatbot is similar to communication with a real person.

Before we move on to the tech part explaining how to make a chatbot, take a look at the key benefits that a business can get thanks to chatbot implementation:

  • Better customer experience – customers expect to get support 24/7, otherwise they get disappointed and are less likely to turn into loyal customers. Implementation of a chatbot solution will allow to provide high-quality customer service no matter the time or day. As a result, it leads to a better customer experience thanks to the timely support that customers get.
  • Faster purchase process – modern chatbots can provide answers to customer’s questions and even sell products right inside the conversation. For example, if a customer is looking for a product, a chatbot can provide them with all the necessary information and offer the solution right away. Therefore, customers make purchasing decisions faster.
  • Personalized services – chatbots can be used for a number of tasks and provide personalized services. During the customer lifecycle, they can offer them useful information about products, provide customer support, and help customers solve any problems they encounter.
  • Reduced costs of customer support – chatbots can answer the most frequently asked questions, reducing the load on the customer support services. As a result, they reduce operational costs and the load on customer support officers.
  • Customer data mining – you can view chatbots from the data mining point of view. You can analyze what information customers seek the most and improve your services accordingly.
  • Back-end operation optimization – bots can be used for a number of reasons. For example, JP Morgan implemented a bot that reviewed loan contracts and saved over 360,000 hours spent on manual review of contracts by lawyers. The company also uses chatbots that help employees to reset passwords or that provide access to the software.
Potential Benefits of Chatbot Development for a Business

As you can see, the reasons why businesses are wondering how to build a chatbot from scratch are numerous. However, the chatbot development process is a complex one requiring deep technical knowledge.

Do you need to build a chatbot for your business?

Start by getting in touch with a company that knows how to make a chatbot. We’ll provide you with a free initial project estimate and choose the best technology stack.

How to Build a Chatbot from Scratch: Types & How They Differ

It’s impossible to build a chatbot from scratch without knowing their main types and how they differ. This section of the article explains what AI chatbot development is and how it can benefit your business.

Rule-Based Chatbots

Rule-based chatbots are the most basic solutions used for answering simple questions. Users interact with such bots by clicking on predefined questions that lead to the desired answer. The chatbot provides answers from the decision tree.

If you want an example, take a look at Facebook Messenger. The platform allows businesses to perform automated customer support by providing buttons with possible inquires and automatically providing answers.

While such chatbots are comparatively easy to build, they are prone to providing wrong answers and are quite limited in functionality. In some cases, they can frustrate customers by providing wrong answers.

 

You can see how rule-based chatbots work in the image below.

How to Make a Chatbot: Rules-Based Chatbot

AI-Based Chatbots

AI-based chatbots are also called conversational chatbots or natural-processing chatbots. Such bots rely on Artificial Intelligence chatbot algorithms and machine learning to process user inputs and provide highly personalized answers relevant to the content.

Interaction with AI-based chatbots happens by writing questions in the human language. The bot is able to identify different questions written by a human.

After a user types in a question, the bot identifies the user’s intent, asks additional questions if needed, and provides answers using the dialogue tree to specify what problems a user has and how they can be addressed.

You can see how AI-based chatbots work in the image below.

How to Build a Chatbot from Scratch with Artificial Intelligence

Which Chatbot Type to Choose for Your Business

You are probably wondering which type of chatbots to use for your business. The answer fully depends on your business needs and objectives.

Rule-based chatbots are usually used for two purposes:

  • to collect contact details to set a call or a meeting later
  • to provide basic customer support

AI-based chatbots are more advanced in terms of functionality. They can be used to perform the following tasks:

  • handle simple requests
  • process natural language (NLP)
  • provide personalized answers
  • confirm user intent
  • execute transactions on the behalf of customers
  • keep conversations natural
  • form sentences by itself

How to Make a Chatbot: Two Approaches

Chatbot development can be approached in two different ways. Let’s explore how to make a chatbot to meet all your business requirements.

Do It All by Yourself

how to Make a Chatbot by Yourself

Today, you can create a chatbot free of charge if you do all the work yourself. This approach is suitable if you have the needed technical knowledge and require the simplest solution. 

There are numerous chatbot development platforms that require a different level of technical expertise. Some are easier to use while others are more complicate although they provide a wider range of features.

The below table shows some of the most popular solutions. Check them out if you are wondering how to make a chatbot without the help of professionals.

 

Solution

Short description

Pros

Cons

Price

Chatfuel

Check this solution if you’ve ever wondered how to make a chatbot for Facebook and its Messenger. Use this tool to create rule-based bots that can share updates automatically and collect useful data.

Easy-to-use interface

Ready-to-use chatbot elements

Built-in live chat integration

Robust analytics

Out-of-the-box analytics

Integration with Zapier, Integromat, DiglogFlow, Google Sheets

Facebook Messenger chatbots only

No built-in AI

Free plan for up to 50 subscribers

Paid plans starting at $15/month

Botsify

One of the chatbot development tools that supports a number of channels, including websites, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS. The solution allows to create a human-like conversational experience for users.

Multiple channels support

Human-like conversations with users

Growth users for higher user engagement

Difficult to use

Can’t be connected with Facebook Ads

14-days free trial

Paid plans $49-$499/month

Flow XO

Chatbot creation platform for websites, mobile apps, and social media. It’s comparatively easy to use and provides pre-built templates.

Ease of use

Multi-channel support

Built-in live chat

Minimal analytics

No integration with third-party solutions

Free plan for up to 500 interactions

Paid plan at $19/month (additional bots, active flows, and interactions are bought separately)

HubSpot

Among other services, HubSpot allows to make chatbots on its platform. However, its features are pretty limited.

Easy chatbot interactions

Built-in live chat

The ability to customize the style of the website widget

Lack of features

No built-in AI

Facebook Messenger and website chatbots

No connection with Facebook Ads

No Analytics

Free trial and free plan

Paid plans starting at $46/month

As you can see, multiple solutions can be used to make a chatbot online. If you decide to choose this path, remember that you will need to do everything yourself and the result might not turn out the way you wanted and needed for your business.

 

Hire a Professional Chatbot Development Company

If you want to know how to build a chatbot from scratch, you will need to look for a professional company specialized in chatbot architecture design and development. When working with a professional company, you get a number of benefits:

  • You will work with a company that knows how to make an AI chatbot
  • You don’t need to have deep technical knowledge
  • You can create a chatbot designed for your specific business needs
  • You are not limited by the limitations of chatbot development platforms

In the next sections, we’ll explain how to choose the right vendor for chatbot development and how to circumvent some expensive mistakes.

Want to create a chatbot for your application?

Get in touch with our team for a free initial consultation. Our experts know how to make a chatbot based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning.

Technology Stack to Build a Chatbot from Scratch

 AI Chatbot Development Tools

Despite the ease of use, chatbot development platforms don’t provide a lot of features that you can use to build a chatbot. In case the provided capabilities don’t meet your business needs, you might need to choose custom chatbot creation. 

There are a number of solutions that can be used to build a chatbot from scratch. Let’s review some of the most promising solutions available on the market.

 

Solution

Short Description

Programming language

NLP Support

Key features

Integrations

IBM Watson

A popular solution for customer chatbot creation with built-in AI. The solution can be used to create chatbots for a number of platforms, including messaging apps and websites.

Java, C++

Yes

Advanced and capable machine learning engine

Automated predictive analysis

Cloud data storage for maximum security and privacy

10+ supported languages

Facebook Messenger

Intercom

Slack

WordPress site

Microsoft Bot Framework

A set of services that allows to create and connect intelligent bots that are able to talk, listen, and communicate with users.

NodeJS, C#

No

SDKs for multiple programming languages

Speech to text feature based on machine learning

Multilingual support

Skype

Slack

Facebook Messenger

Website

Cortana

Microsoft team

Kik

BotKit

An open-source platform with a number of useful libraries and plugins that provide additional features, statistics, and metrics

NodeJS

No

Simple and easy to use

Active community and great documentation

Fast building bots

High customization

Integration with the most popular platforms

Slack

Cisco Webex

Cisco Jabber

Microsoft Teams

Facebook Messenger

Twilio SMS

Twilio IPM

Google Hangouts

Dialogflow

AI chatbot framework with machine learning capabilities, NLP, and integration with popular communication platforms

NodeJS

Yes

Voice-based and text-based assistance

Rich conversations using natural language

SDKs for 14+ platforms

20+ languages support

Sentiment analysis

IoT integration support

Facebook Messenger

Google Assistant

Slack

Telegram

Viber

Line

Twilio

Alexa

Cortana

Kik

Amazon Lex

A solution that allows to build conversational interfaces using voice and text. Equipped with machine learning and NLP capabilities. 

Java, .Net, Ruby

Yes

Automated speed recognition

Full integration with AWS

High scalability

SDKs for multiple platforms

Free for AWS users

Facebook Messenger

Slack

Kik

Twilio SMS

Wit AI

An open-source chatbot framework with NLP support and human-level intelligence.

Python

Yes

Ease of use with Facebook Messenger

Large and active developer community

One of the best NLP engines

SDKs for iOS, Node.js, Python, Ruby

80+ languages support

Mobile apps

Websites

Slack

Facebook Messenger

Wearable devices

IoT

There are a number of other frameworks and APIs that you can use, for example, Botpress, BotKit, ChatterBot, Pandorabots, MindMeld, Luis, and many more. If you wanted to know how to make an AI chatbot, check the solutions with the support of AI, machine learning, and NLP.

How to Build a Chatbot from Scratch: Step-by-Step Guide

 How to Make a Chatbot from Scratch: Process Overview

In this part, you will learn how to make a chatbot step-by-step. This guide will help you do everything right and avoid costly mistakes for business.

Let’s investigate the key processes involved in custom chatbot development and steps to build a chatbot.

Step 1: Identify Customer Needs and Expectations

The main goal to make a chatbot from scratch is to improve user experience. At this stage, you need to identify customer expectations and align them with business 

The analysis of customer needs will help you come up with a list of possible features for your future chatbot. For example, you have a restaurant application, your users might be interested in knowing available reservation time.

Step 2: Find a Chatbot Development Company

This step is probably the most important in the whole journey. You need to find a company that knows how to make an AI chatbot and has previous relevant experience. The below action plan will help you make the right choice and choose the best chatbot development company that will be able to create a highly customized solution for you.

Here is what you will need to do:

  • Identify prospects

Start with finding professionals providing chatbot development services. While it’s possible to hire freelancers for the job, consider the option of working with a professional software development company. Cooperation with a company involves fewer risks since the company won’t disappear into the waters without delivering your chatbot. Outsource companies also have multiple specialists who can be of use for your project. You can always use such platforms as Clutch, TopDevelopers, ITFirms, etc. to find prospects there.

Places to Find a Chatbot Development Company
  • Check the portfolio

The portfolio of the company might not include a chatbot, since such solutions are often developed as a part of a bigger project – an app, for example. As a starting point, you can single out the companies that have previous experience with mobile app development, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – technologies used to build a chatbot from scratch.

  • Check reviews

Such platforms as Clutch provide reviews of the companies. You can check them on the platform or take the investigation a step further and reach out to the existing clients of your prospect to get their review straight from the source.

  • Get in touch with prospects

Reach out to the selected companies to talk about their experience, provided services, cooperation model, etc. consider the geographical region and any cultural difference that might interfere with your cooperation.

  • Ask the right questions

Learn about the services the company provides, how they can help you with chatbot creation, whether they have previous experience with natural language processing and how they usually work on projects as your own one.

As a result of this step, you need to have a company that will create a chatbot for you.

Check the article prepared by our team to get a step-by-step checklist for finding a perfect company for your project:

Outsource App Development in 2020: How to Make It Work

Step 3: Choose Features and Technology for Your Chatbot

If you want to know how to make a chatbot that will improve user experience, start with identifying the features that can help them move forward in their customer journey. Below, you can find a list of some key features that you need to consider:

  • Seamless cross-channel communication

If your company is active across different platforms like an app, a website, social media, you need to provide a seamless and unified user experience across all of them.

  • Rich messaging

Your chatbot needs to support different types of content. Aside from answering with plain text, it needs to have the functionality to share links, useful articles, or even to help find products.

  • Integration with third-party systems

You can integrate the chatbot with a number of third-party solutions and systems such as CRM, accounting systems, marketing analytics, payment gateways, etc.

Possible Integrations for a Chatbot
  • Human handoff

In some cases, even the smartest AI chatbots can’t help users with an issue or question. Such scenarios need to include the automatic handoff of the conversation to your employees.

  • Accessibility

Modern systems allow building highly accessible chatbot solutions with the support of voice messaging, zoom in, support for screen readers, etc.

  • Security

Depending on the industry you operate in, a chatbot needs to meet the security standards and such regulations as HIPAA, PCI, etc.

  • Advanced analytics

Chatbots generate a lot of data that you need to be able to analyze. It can be either integrated with one of the third-party analytics systems via API or has built-in analytics tools.

Step 4: Design the Conversation Flow

A professional development company will know how to make a chatbot and design the conversation flow. While using chatbot building platforms, you are limited in the choice of possible conversation formats. You can only choose, drag and drop ready-to-use blocks with answers.

When you will be working on chatbot script creation, you need to keep it close to the topic and the purpose of the chatbot. You should aim for conversation flows that will allow customers to communicate naturally with your chatbot.

Step 5: Train Your AI-Based Chatbot

This step is only necessary if you decide to build a chatbot AI project. Before you launch it, you need to train it on a massive data set, such as support tickets, email, etc. You can also get a third-party data set with the information that your chatbot needs to know. If you work with a software development vendor, it will take on this part of the process on and you won’t need to worry about it.

Step 6: Test a Chatbot

Before you launch the chatbot, you might want to test it with a few users to see how they’ll interact with it and how it will meet their intent. Chatbot testing differs from classic software testing since here you need to foresee even the most unpredictable scenarios and specify how the chatbot will react to them, for example when users ask questions not related to your business.

Step 7: Deploy and Maintain

The work on chatbot doesn’t end with its deployment. You can use the collected information and statistical data to refine answers and conversational flows to make your chatbot even more useful for customers.

How to Make a Chatbot: Final Thoughts

The development of a chatbot is not a simple process that requires the understanding of modern technologies and how to align them with business requirements.

Now that you know how to make a chatbot, you can start looking for a company that will help your chatbot idea into a project.

If you need the assistance of professional developers, Addevice is here to help you. We have years of experience working with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning and know how to create an AI bot of any complexity.

Want to create a chatbot that will help your customers 24/7?

Get in touch with us for a free initial consultation and project estimation.

Frequently Asked Questions

💻 How can I build a chatbot from scratch?

Custom chatbot development is a process that consists of a few steps:

  1. Identification of customer needs and expectations
  2. Finding a chatbot development agency
  3. Choosing features and technology stack
  4. Designing the conversation flow
  5. Training an AI-based chatbot
  6. Chatbot testing
  7. Deployment and support
⚙ What technologies can you use to make a chatbot?

There are numerous technologies that you can use for chatbot creation. 

If you are wondering how to make a chatbot with the simplest set of features, take a look at ready-to-use chatbot platforms such as Chatfuel, Botsify, Flow XO, HubSpot, etc.

If you want to build a chatbot from scratch, such APIs and frameworks as IBM Watson, Microsoft Bot Framework, BotKit, DialogFlow, Amazon Lex, Wit AI, and others are at your disposal.

🤖 What are the advantages of custom chatbot development vs. template-based chatbot?

Template-based chatbots have limited functionality and, in most cases, are rule-based solutions. If you want to have a chatbot highly customized for your requirements or a bot built with AI and machine learning to process natural language, you will need to opt for custom chatbot development.

‍💻 How can I choose a chatbot development company?

You can find a company that will help you with chatbot development by following the below plan:

  • Identify prospects by visiting such platforms as Clutch, ITFirms, TopDevelopers, etc.
  • Check the portfolio of the selected companies.
  • Check reviews provided by both current and former clients.
  • Get in touch with prospects to discuss your project and learn more about companies.
  • Ask the right questions and make the best choice.

If you need help with chatbot building, you can always get in touch with us.

💸 How does a business benefit from chatbot creation?

The benefits of chatbots for business are numerous, including better customer experience, faster purchase process, personalized services, 24/7 customer support, reduced cost of customer support, customer data mining, and optimization of back-office operations.

💡 How does a chatbot work?

A chatbot is software that simulates and processes conversations with users in natural-like language. Chatbots can be used in mobile applications, messaging apps, on websites, on social media, etc. Bots interpret the words given to them by a person and provide pre-set answers.

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