Today there are hundreds of tools you can use to build your own chatbot. Some of them will allow you to create more structured agents that you can use both for chats and for voice. These tools are Dialogflow, IBM Watson, Rasa, Microsoft Bot Framework, to name the most renowned.
Some tools are designed to create only conversational flows and actual marketing funnels within Facebook Messenger, such as Manychat.
It’s the go-to resource to build Facebook Messenger chatbots. Its AI capabilities are limited, so you cannot expect to build a chatbot that will be able to interact, understand and learn, but you can build captivating flows that will engage your audience.
Manychat is the best platform out there to build marketing flows within Facebook Messenger, recently extended to email and SMS. It is a powerful marketing tool, while as a chatbot builder, keep in mind that due to its AI limitations, you will have to design your flows in a very smart way. Adding buttons and pieces of premade content, so at to limit users’ input of free text, will avoid frustration due to the chatbot not being able to maintain an actual conversation.
- Manychat offers a free subscription recommended to businesses who are new to bots, and a “Pro” option, billed based on the number of subscribers ($10 per month for 500 subscribers, $145 per month for 25,000 subscribers). Additional charges apply for extra emails and SMS marketing.
NLU powered bot frameworks
If you want to design actual conversations powered by AI, which will allow your chatbot to learn, understand and respond, there are many options. Building a chatbot won’t be as easy as with premade tools, but a chatbot that can engage in real conversations with humans is priceless!
Let’s have a look at some of these tools
Google’s conversational agent building platform. Dialogflow is a Google service running on Google Cloud and powered by Google’s machine learning expertise and products. The interface supports impressive 20+ languages and language variations. Dialogflow provides the opportunity for building voice and text-based conversational interfaces, powered by AI.
- Pricing: there are three options: a Standard Free edition and two Enterprise Options (Essentials and Plus). Enterprise editions are priced monthly based on the selected option and the requests made during the month.
It’s a standard infrastructure layer for developers to build, improve, and deploy AI assistants. Rasa can be employed to assist developers in creating both text- and voice-based assistants. It uses machine learning to improve conversations and integrate assistants & chatbots with existing systems and channels. Additionally, you can use it with a private cloud or a third-party cloud provider.
- Rasa Open Source is a free framework to build proprietary AI assistants, which can be coupled with Rasa X – a free toolset to facilitate the review and improvement of your AI assistant. For the custom Rasa Enterprise solution, you would need to get in touch with the Rasa sales team.
Tools to build conversational chatbots
I’ve added to this category platforms or tools that will let you create a chatbot in an easy, step-by-step way. They have different AI capabilities, and each of them is unique in their own way, as it offers some features that the others don’t.
Botsociety is THE prototyping tool everyone should use. This solution provides you with the opportunity to design chat and voice conversations and use them on a variety of platforms. You have the option for real-time collaboration with your team during the process of flow creation. After your flow is created, it can be imported in the platform used by your development team, including the above listed Rasa and Dialogflow, but also to custom codebases.
- Three simple pricing options – one free option to get you started on conversation design, a standard professional and enterprise options with advanced features for bigger teams.
CoCo – Conversational Components
Conversational Components is one of a kind, as it facilitates chatbot building by breaking down conversations into components. The idea is to be able to stack a conversation with pre-built dialogue blocks (“Cocos”). Each block keeps user context through the conversation.
You can modify your CoCos or reuse them in a different project to reduce development costs, increase the quality of conversations, and assist quicker deployment. Conversational components are compatible with the platform of your choice, making your bot framework flexible, and maintaining contextual flow throughout conversations.
- There is a marketplace with a variety of components organized by industry and theme. They are all free of charge.
It’s a marketing platform providing what the company refers to as “conversational marketing”. Drift offers live chat and video conversations, whereas chatbots are an opportunity to optimize and automate live conversations. The Drift Chatbot can ask the questions you would normally ask your online visitors, qualify them as leads in your CRM and book meetings for your Sales Reps.
- Pricing is user-based, providing a free option, handy for trials, as well as Standard, Pro, and Premium options. There’s a custom Enterprise version you can request and consult about. The various pricing possibilities also differ in options and features, and if you want to have a Custom Chatbot you will have to go for the $400 per month option.
The renowned “sales, marketing and service software”, with a forever free CRM, also offers a conversation builder, called Chatflows.
There are two options: with the free plan you can have a live chat installed on your website, something like this
However, if you want to build a bot, you need to be on a “Service Hub” plan
Botstar lets you build a chatbot for your Website and Messenger with a visual flow editor. To make things easier, Botstar offers more than 70 pre-built chatbot templates. The templates are separated by industry and allow you to get your chatbot up and running within a few clicks of the mouse. Industries include e-commerce, local and small business, education and coaching, real estate, news and media, food and beverages, etc. Botstar is marketed to business owners looking for a user-friendly solution, to marketing teams who want to avoid engaging developers and to agencies and freelancers who want to offer a chatbot solution to their customers.
- There are three pricing options – a free version, a pro option costing $15 per month and the enterprise option, which is custom-built and priced.
It’s an artificial intelligence-driven platform for creating and deploying purpose-built chatbots. Thanks to NativeChat’s built-in Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine, developers can illicit structured data and user intent from free text replies. NativeChat supports dynamic training on top of existing enterprise data through web services from your preferred CRM product.
- To get an idea with the pricing for your company, you would need to get in touch with the Progress Sales Team. They will contact you within one business day.
It advertises as “The Most Intuitive No-Code Chatbot Builder”. Landbot allows you to design conversations for WhatsApp, web or Facebook Messenger. Landbot gives the opportunity for “bot-human support” transferring conversations from bot to humans and back. Additionally, the system would allow for integration with your CRM and give you the option to use user data to customize and trigger campaigns over instant messaging.
- Pricing options come in four varieties – “sandbox” is free, allowing you to take your first steps with chatbots; “Starter” and “Professional” both include unlimited chats and blocks, building up extra features and integration opportunities. Lastly, there’s a “Custom” plan promising the maximum business value.
As a Conversation Designer, I have a couple of favorite tools, but I believe everybody should find and use the tool they feel most comfortable with.
I would say that if you want to build a chatbot for Facebook Messenger and SMS, you go for Manychat, as they are so ahead in the game, they’re hard to beat.
If you want to build an actual agent, I would probably go for Dialogflow, but I’ll keep watching for new tools out there, and I’ll always be open to innovation and different ways to engage in conversation design.
What’s your favorite tool?
Linguist and conversation designer, with a background of translator and content writer. An entrepreneur at heart, I founded and closed a virtual assistance agency and I’m now devoted 100% to conversation design.
I’m an empath, I’m passionate about communication and behavioral psychology. My greatest ambition is to contribute to improving the interaction between humans and computers so that machines can be at our service and make our life better.
If you need help with the design of your chatbot, just contact me!