10 Free Chatbot Limitations in 2024 & Switching to a Paid One
According to our article about chatbot statistics, 80% of consumers who have engaged with a chatbot report the experience as positive, and 47% said that they would buy items via a chatbot. This data signifies the impact of using chatbots for businesses who need to find leads, simplify sales, and provide better customer service. Small businesses are looking for free or affordable chatbots to keep up with the trend. Currently there are many free platforms to build and train chatbots such as Chatfuel for different business purposes. However, chatbot platforms tend to limit the number of subscribers or bot features in their free versions.
How to find free chatbots?
We have listed all the top free chatbot providers with relevant criteria such as pricing, references and platforms they are integrated to.
What are the limitations of free chatbots?
The idea of a chatbot that can make you money without making you spend any is tempting, However, free chatbot building platforms provide free bot licenses with limited functionality. Depending on the chatbot building platform, limitations of free chatbots may include:
Limited number of users
Limited number of users can have different meanings depending on what function the bot serves. It could mean a limitation in:
- number of new leads (potential customers)
- number of appointments to be scheduled
- availability of customer service
Limitations in chat automation
Some free chatbot providers limit the training data that developers can use. This results in limitations in automated conversations. As a result, chatbots may fail to provide enough information or generate an engaging conversation with a potential customer.
Limited data retention period
To follow up with leads or users who book demos or schedule appointments the chatbot needs to store the user’s data. A limited data retention period affects the long term relationship between the user and the bot.
Limited integration platforms
A business may have different communication platforms to engage with customers such as Viber, Slack, WhatsApp, etc. Limiting the number of chatbot integration platforms will limit the reach of this chatbot.
No automatic follow up with leads
To follow up with a lead, a chatbot can:
- Schedule a conversation between the customer and a live agent
- Share relevant and/or new content
- Offer deals to new customers
These functionalities may be limited in free versions.
Notifications are a way to increase chatbot user engagement by sending product updates or promotional messages.
No Facebook Ads integration
Facebook ads play an important role to promote the chatbot and drive users to engage in a conversation with it.
No or limited lead routing
Asking a series of questions and recognizing the user’s intent, the chatbot will route users to the necessary place to find the information they want.
Support: Limited support or bot-building help
Free chatbots may not have onboarding sessions to teach the developer how to build their chatbot or fix its errors. Even when they have onboarding sessions, they wouldn’t include any custom support to answer developers’ questions.
Analytics: No pre-launch or post-launch (A/B) chatbot testing
A/B testing is used to compare two versions of the same chatbots to see which one performs better. To read more about A/B testing feel free to read our article Chatbot testing in 2021 covering A/B, auto & manual testing
Benefits of switching to paid
Chatbot pricing depends on the customer’s business goals like customer service , help with website navigation, scheduling appointments or demos, or generating leads. According to CNBC chatbots are expected to cut back business costs up to $8 billion by 2022 saving up to $0.70 per interaction. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the benefits of investing in a paid chatbot and consider the following:
- Paid chatbots serve a larger audience compared to free versions.
- Paid chatbots can accommodate multiple integration domains (e.g. Slack, WhatsApp)
- Paid chatbots are customizable to complete a goal (e.g. book a ticket) as well as switch between contexts if a user sends an unexpected reply.
- Paid solutions may offer pre-trained bots.
- Paid chatbots can be integrated with ad platforms
- Paid chatbots come with stronger support (e.g. live chat, priority emails)
- Paid chatbots provide analytics and reports about user data, demographics, intents, and recurrent queries
Switching to a paid chatbot solution should be considered based on the business’s needs, size, marketing strategy, as well as the size of its current and potential audience.
For more on chatbots
If you want to learn more about chatbots, how they work, and their market size, these articles may be interesting for you:
- In-depth Conversational Bots Guide
- 84 Chatbot /Conversational AI Statistics
- Behind the scenes of chatbots: Natural language processing and intent recognition in chatbots
If you are ready to deploy chatbots, we have 2 lists of vendors to help you choose the best fit for your business:
And if you want us to help you find the best chatbot tool for your business
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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