A statement I often hear from sales teams is “chatbots are cheap”, this is either due to cheap API call rate e.g IBM Watson @ $0.0025 per call meaning even millions of calls provides little return commercially. My view is this is old hat thinking, chatbots are not a commercial product that can be sold transactionally.
Of course, an agency has to deliver value to their clients beyond the creation of a simple bot, which a client can easily replicate. Using advanced features, such as JSON, offering value-added ideation, bot promotion and management services helps. In those cases, clients don’t think that they can easily replicate a bot they paid for.
What are your experiences/thoughts as bot developers, bot development consultants on the pricing and commercialisation of something that can in theory be made for free?
A lot of Slack bot businesses charge a subscription fee to use their chat bot. Chat bots are really just a service and with like any service you can charge for it if the problem it’s solving is a big enough pain.
From a consulting point of view… I look at it this way, you can either go to IKEA and buy all the parts you need for cheap and make the furniture yourself or you can pay a little more and buy it built for you and delivered to your house.
It’s the same reason why we see so many bot platform services popping up because making a bot and getting it on each platform is not trivial task to do. Id rather have every thing done for me then struggle and waste lots of time doing it myself.
Id say thats a damn good selling point! Figure it all our yourself or pay us a small fee and we will handle it all for you.
I think the notion of what it takes to build a good Chatbot is misunderstood to people who are not well versed in what a Chatbot is. By good, I mean drives business results and if a bot can drive measurable improvements to metrics that a business uses to indicate success then commercialisation it is easier.
I believe building a Chatbot follows the same principles of building a good website or app. Building a “good” Chatbot requires expertise from a broad range of disciplines; design, content strategy, programming and business to create an experience that demonstrates it can deliver measurable value to a business.
In theory, anyone can start building a website, an app and a Chatbot but we are always seeking high value expertise and outcomes to get us their faster or to set us apart from others - thats why some people go to agency A to build their app and not agency B.
I believe the industry is still in its infancy around best practices which is down to an issue of people not sharing more insights into the outcomes their Chatbots are driving.
Feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com to talk in more detail.
great response joseph, adding to that I see the subscription model as a great play for consumers, probably unsure around B2B services??
Maybe being involved in community like ours, we take for granted how “easy” it is to build a bot using AI and deploy to multiple channels.
Agreed a damn good selling point! For the side of stirring debate what next… when it has been purchased fully assembled for that little extra fee…
Totally get it! the infancy issue, no real use cases of what outcomes we are really driving.
However I am inclined to think, often an oversight is this question itself “What outcomes are we trying to drive?”
Growbot is probably one of the most popular Slack bots right now and it’s a subscription based B2B bot. https://www.growbot.io/ It lets each of the employees of a company know how good of a job they are doing. So I think it can for sure work and B2B probably the area it will make the most money
Oh, totally! We are all deep in it so it’s super simple to use but to the “normal” people it’s HUGE barrier of entry and very overwhelming. Why all these platforms so important
Monetizing chat bots is still a pretty new area, unlike the other platforms all the existing messaging platforms are very much walled gardens and don’t allow you to show ads and other stuff… So will be interesting to see what the future holds in that area. I found this to be a great read by the head of developer relations at Slack discussing the different ways to make money with bots. https://chatbotslife.com/revenue-models-for-bots-and-chatbots-702ca78a1b07#.kq21taktr
@reece.medway Reece, good question. For a development agency side subscription model, could be very perspective as monthly / annually recurring revenue with a long tail.
Such subscription REV could be based on consumed by bot resources (API calls, cloud instances, upgrades etc.). this is pretty simple and transparent basic model perspective for SMB clients, so they have a bot and don’t need to care about any tech issues.
@cameronjjenkinson Cameron, this’s also a good point about an expertise. there’s something good that can built on expertise and consumed resources subscription model
if your chatbot delivers
a very special experience with no strong alternatives on a market
you’re on the TOP of a great customer acquisition channel eg, local market, your current business clients base etc.
or you have other strong points for multiplying your customer base easily selling customised ‘template’ of a chatbot, you can benefit as a development agency from this A LOT charging extra for business values over just consumed resources.
this is the win-to-win business model for customers too — they receive a chatbot based on a template framework owned by an agency that consistently works on polishing it, adding new features and possibly able to deliver custom features that can be purchased as add-ons.
there’s an article about How should we price our chatbot development services? written by Alex Gamanyuk. There’re some numbers and examples based on botmaker companies that are partnering with us.
If you want to validate your chatbot ‘template’ perspective against different price models feel free to drop me a line about it at firstname.lastname@example.org