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With the right tools today, anyone can build a chatbot. Bot builders are becoming more universally accessible. While some builders require coding skills and an in-depth knowledge of Natural Language Processing (the ability for bots to naturally converse with humans), many don’t.
After testing out a variety of bots, here’s my take on three notable offerings – Landbot, ChatCompose and ChatterOn – that all allow for code-free bot creation.
Anyone who’s had a conversation with me in the past few months knows I’m infatuated with Landbot. I’m a girl who appreciates a good chatbot interface, and Landbot knows how to treat me well. The builder has a large library of templates and an easy-to-use UI if you’d like to build from scratch. You can create a variety of bots, including lead generation, survey bots, simple FAQ/info bots and many more. The builder allows you to remember button clicks, create if/then logic and present checkbox options.
The caveat? Landbot started off as a rule-based builder with no NLP capabilities. This means users can only navigate through a flow using button clicks or keywords. To quote Landbot, they created ‘choose-your-adventure bots.’ But they’ve softened their anti-AI stance. Landbot now works with Dialogflow, a natural language processing platform that can integrate a conversational user interface into various mobile and web apps, bots and more. Keep in mind that you have to register with Dialogflow first, then integrate with Landbot, which may take some time to figure out. Also, this integration is only available for more expensive plans (Professional level and up).
Another thing to note, you have to opt for a more expensive plan to get rid of Landbot’s branding.
Landbot provides a very intuitive, easy-to-use UI. Users build their bot using different types of blocks- or sections that allow you to move the flow forward. You start with a welcome block, which can include a hook, gif or buttons, and as the conversation progresses you can choose between various features, such as image-based selections, buttons and questions. When customers type in their answers, their responses are saved as a variable and can be sent to a predetermined email.
Every feature is clearly labeled and supported by easy-to-understand tutorials. I started having issues trying to organize my multitudinous blocks once my bots got too large. Landbot has the option of combining a selection of blocks into bricks (basically creating a folder for these blocks), but it took me a while to figure it out. The first big bot I built looks overwhelmingly disorganized, but I’ve since found my way.
While Landbot lacks some features, such as scheduling capabilities, it offers integrations. You can use Calendly for this, for example. Other integrations include Zapier, Salesforce, Google sheets and more. It also allows for multichannel conversations like live,WhatsApp and Facebook.
Landbots are clean, fun bots that look great on any platform, including mobile. You can design settings such as button colours, bot icons, fonts, and can even add pics or gifs to the bot for an element of whimsy.
Landbot has a library of tutorials and great customer support. If you can’t find your answer on their resource site, simply use their customer support live chat to ask a question. A customer service rep will get back to you within 24 hours.
This is an expensive builder.
There’s a free option with limited features and only 30 chats/month.
Since Landbot is an international company, their pricing is in Euros. The Starter package costs €30 a month ($36.40 USD), the Premium (which includes Dialogflow and a WhatsApp addon) is €80 ($97.06 USD) a month and the Business package has custom pricing.
Here’s the problem. Landbot recently changed to a limited chats per month format. That means that even the Premium account allows for only 100 chats per month. You can buy an extra 100 chats for €10 ($12.13 USD).
I’ll be honest. I found ChatCompose while searching for scheduling bots. This builder has both a scheduling feature as well as NLP, without the use of any middleman applications. Like Landbot, you can create a variety of bots, including lead generation, FAQ, etc.
The Caveat: Their NLP capabilities may be a bit lacking, but that’s true for most bots on the market. Proper training is key when it comes to a good conversational experience. My main concern with ChatCompose was their UI. It’s not as intuitive as I’d like , and is a little tricky to figure out.
My issue with ChatCompose is that creating a bot seems needlessly complicated.
To create a bot, you need to fill in various sections before combining them into a fully-formed project. For example, let’s say I want to make a simple scheduling bot with some NLP capabilities. First I’d have to click on the Apps section to configure my scheduling hours, then I’d have to train the bot in a different section. After that, I’d have to create a script, which is where components are linked together (including choices, responses etc.) I will say that ChatCompose does provide a variety of use cases (pre-built bots you can customize) and lots of tutorials to get you started. It really is a solid builder if you have the time to spend figuring it out, or if you’re OK with using a pre-built bot.
ChatCompose also has the benefit of working with most messaging and social media platforms (such as WhatsApp and Facebook), which is an added bonus.
The bot itself doesn’t look as modern as I’m used to, but the functionality is there. I particularly like their scheduling feature, even if the fonts and design looks a little outdated.
Users get a tour of the builder upon registration and can access a library of tutorials. There’s also an abundance of YouTube content if you’re stuck.
While ChatCompose’s pricing section says there’s a free option, the most I could get was a 15-day free trial.
The business plan is $9.99/month and includes 5 chatbots and basic support, while their Premium plan costs $69/month and includes 20 chatbots, installation support, 5 additional users and lots of extra features.
The first thing I noticed about ChatterOn is their NLP/NLU capabilities. It’s easy to train a variety of intents quickly, which means this bot can provide an impressive conversational experience. The UI is flow-based, and fairly simple to pick up (there are some tutorials you can use as well).
The Caveat: While the UI is well-built, there are only 3 templates to choose from, meaning you’ll most likely have to build from scratch. The website does say pre-built chatbots are included, so maybe I just didn’t explore enough to find all of them. I have a do-it-myself kind of mentality when it comes to bots.
Tutorials are good but limited, though there’s enough info to get you started.
ChatterOn uses a flow-based builder, similar to Landbot, though creating a rule-based flow with button options is a little more work. The term buttons here means URL links. Instead, you need to use Quick Replies to get from one module (or block) to the next. Training intents (user dialogue) is easy enough to do, and the builder provides an impressive NLP experience. Pre-built intents are already included, so you only have to worry about dialogue specific to your bot scenario. You can also include conditions (if/then actions) for a more advanced flow.
ChatterOn integrates with web, Facebook Messenger and Workplace, but not WhatsApp or any other messaging/social media that I could see.
I’m a fan of the build design, but you don’t have many options to customize the bot.
There’s a library of basic tutorials and a new Get Help option which allows you to message a professional with more complicated issues.
This is a very affordable bot. The free option includes unlimited chatbots, 15,000 messages a month and an AI engine. The next package up (Business package), costs $0.10 per message. The Enterprise option is customizable and therefore comes with a custom price tag.
Landbot is the best in terms of ease of use and customizable design, but its pricetag is steep. ChatCompose is great for scheduling and has some NLP capabilities, but lacks a good UI and design options.
Speaking of NLP, if you’re after natural conversations, ChatterOn’s NLP library is robust and impressive, even if it’ll take more effort to build your bot.
Regardless of the builder you choose, bots have become an affordable, accessible tool in any business’s arsenal.