How to Choose a Next Generation AI Chatbot

How to Choose a Next Generation AI Chatbot

When ChatGPT went viral in December of 2022, everybody was all of a sudden an "AI expert". All the usual suspects from the dark corners of crypto and NFTs immediately started selling ChatGPT cheat sheets, courses in prompt engineering, cheap chatbots, and the gold rush was on.

This effect made it almost impossible to navigate the AI chatbot space, since it was scattered with unrealistic claims, FOMO, and flat out scams.

In this article we will help you navigate the jungle of AI chatbots, to help you avoid the FOMO, and give you neutral information required to make an intelligent decision - By arming you with questions you need to ask your AI chatbot provider before choosing a vendor.

1. Price

The first you need to ask yourself is what's your budget for an AI chatbot. You can get chatbots in all price ranges. The cheapest we've seen are in fact free WordPress plugins. Other are selling AI chatbots for $10 per month. The most expensive bots we've seen are more than $3,000 per month. We're in the medium to upper scale, with a starting price of $300 per month. If you've got a personal website, and you're just looking for a simple AI chatbot to answer questions about your consulting services, you would probably not choose us for these reasons.

We're targeting medium sized companies and larger enterprises with our chatbot

When you know your budget, you can easily remove 90% of all AI chatbot vendors out there.

2. What's the purpose of your AI chatbot?

The next question you need to ask yourself should be; "What's the purpose with the chatbot". If you've got a complex software product, it might be do reduce manual support by automating first level support using AI. We've delivered several such AI chatbots to for instance Resolve Systems and Spotware Systems.

On average you might expect reducing manual support labour by 30% assuming you're choosing a high quality support AI chatbot. This number originates from IBM having conducted a study into the domain several years ago.

If you've got 15 support engineers, such as Resolve Systems used to have, this implies 5 full time employees being freed up to do other jobs - Which of course have drastic consequences for your costs, implying your budget equation from above might change.

If you're looking for an E-Commerce sales assistant instead, the equation becomes different, since it's no longer a priority to reduce costs, but rather how to increase conversions and sales. One really great example of such an AI chatbot we've delivered is Seattle Ballooning. Another excample of a sales assistant we've delivered is Club de Mode.

Once you know the purpose of your AI chatbot, you know which questions to ask your chatbot provider. We know that in an E-Commerce setting and in a support setting with complex software products, images and screenshots are important. You can ask our chatbot if it can display images below to illustrate the concept.

Frank might not be the best example, but imagine product images in an E-Commerce setting, or screenshots for complex software, as an integrated part of the conversation, such as illustrated below.

3. What analytics does your chatbot provider give you?

An AI chatbot can be a great addition to your business intelligence. Some months ago we created an advertisement campaign which was about "The AI chatbot that displays images". A couple of days later we logged into our Magic Dashboard and looked through our chatbot's history. 90% of image related questions was basically ...

Can you show me a picture of a naked woman?

We obviously just stopped the campaign.

The above illustrates the importance of business intelligence. How you perceive your company and how others perceive it are often two very different things. An AI chatbot gives you high value insights into how others look at you, because if it has great analytics, it shows you what questions others have about your company.

Once you know which questions others are asking about your company, you can more correctly apply intelligent business decisions, based upon facts, allowing you to improve your business and grow.

The AI chatbot becomes a mirror through which you can see how others see you

4. What level of support do you need?

Are you technically savvy and can do everything yourself? Or do you need a lot of help? Most of the inexpensive AI chatbots out there we've seen deliver zero support. Setting up an AI chatbot can be very challenging, and unless you're a software engineer or extremely technical, you will need help - A lot of help!

Although we're extremely proud of our AI chatbot, what we are charging for isn't as much the chatbot, but rather the amount of support and help we provide to our customers - Especially in the initial phase of implementation.

In fact, during the first couple of months as we are onboarding a new client ourselves, we are loosing money, due to the amount of support and hand holding the implementation needs. For us the idea is that if we provide an extreme level of initial service and support, the long term effect will be positive for us. But thinking about the AI chatbot as a product you can just pick off the shelf and install for then to reap its benefits is a very skewed way of thinking about it.

You need to ask yourself how much help you need to implement your AI chatbot!

5. Technology

This should be your last question. However, in our intial customer conversations it's often paradoxically question number 1. Typically the first question our clients asks us about is based upon technology, when the tech parts of the chatbot should actually be the last question you ask.

However, technology is still important. If a lot of your users are coming into your website using their phones for instance, the AI chatbot obviously needs to render correctly on phones. This is called "responsive design". Our AI chatbot renders perfectly on your phone for the record. You can try it out by visiting from your phone now if you wish.

If you have a lot of new users, then page load speed becomes important. If you're caching all chatbot resources, and 99% of your daily visitors have visited your site before, you can get away with an AI chatbot that contains several megabytes of resources that needs to be downloaded. If a substantial amount of your users are new users on the other hand, the chatbot needs to be blistering fast.

Our AI chatbot is fast, very fast, something you probably noticed if you tried it from your phone. This is because it doesn't need more than 100+ kilobytes of initial resources, and it postpones downloading other things until it actually needs it. This makes it less likely users clicking the back button because your website takes "forever" to load. This also has search engine optimisation consequences.

In addition to very fast initial page load times, we've optimised the chatbot's responses. Our AI chatbot typically starts writing its answers in less than 4 seconds. 4 seconds is the amount of patience a user has when investigating new products according to research.

In addition to optimising page load time and response time, we've also applied all the science related to UI and UX, such as using animations to reduce the "feeling of wait time". Animations of 400 milliseconds is the correct animations to apply to ease the user's experience of responsiveness. If you use animations correctly on an AI chatbot, its users will actually be more patient when waiting for answers, and have a feeling of that the chatbot is more responsive when compared to a similar chatbot without animations. A shoutout to Dr. Richard Matthews for helping us here.

Wrapping up

If you follow the above list when purchasing an AI chatbot, the answer should give itself automatically once you've answered all of the above questions.

  1. What is my budget for an AI chatbot?
  2. What's the purpose of getting a chatbot?
  3. What analytics do I want from it?
  4. What level of support do you need?
  5. What technology does my different options provide me with?

Once you've asked all the above questions, the answer gives itself 100% automatically. If you're looking for an AI chatbot, we would love to help you out in your choices.

Thomas Hansen

Thomas Hansen I am the CEO and Founder of AINIRO.IO, Ltd. I am a software developer with more than 25 years of experience. I write about Machine Learning, AI, and how to help organizations adopt said technologies. You can follow me on LinkedIn if you want to read more of what I write.

Published 15. Mar 2024