Review of Botsify Chatbot Platform

Botsify is a tool for designing chatbots for non-technical users, much like Chatfuel or Motion AI. The interface is perhaps a little less intuitive than Chatfuel, as different parts of your bot are hidden behind different menus. It does however, come with some pre-built templates that might be useful for specific applications: namely templates for hospitals, travel agencies, restaurants and general FAQs. The user experience with these default bots leaves a lot to be desired, as demonstrated in my conversation:

It asks how many guests I want, but fails to recognise “5 guests”, returning a very unfriendly “Invalid Number” message. Similarly, it doesn’t pick up on my typo with “Tomorrw”, but is happy once I fix this mistake. It feels more like I’m interacting with a command line application.

Editing the bot sometimes feels like a similar experience. I am presented with errors like “There can be no repetitive user says blocks at level 9”. Ok… That’s helpful.

Bot design is in terms of “stories”. A story is a linear sequence of interactions between the bot and the user. It’s not clear whether one story can branch into another or if you would need to create a different story for each possible route in a possibility tree.

One feature that Botsify has that Chatfuel doesn’t is the ability to recognise what it calls “entities”. In fact these are just different words that it can pick up in the users query. It comes with several default entities such as the ability to recognise numbers. I managed to make a simple bot for the Eatalot restaurant that could understand “I want 5 eggs”, but for some reason when I added a similar story for sausages, that didn’t seem to work.

Another nice feature of botsify is the ability to save the users responses to a form. This could be a great way to collect information from users. Form responses can easily be exported to CSV through the web interface.

Botsify has a feature it calls “bot learning and understanding” that allow you to teach it the meaning of new expressions. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be flexible enough to allow multiple entities to be associated with one phrase. I wanted to teach it that “I’d like 5 sausages please” would be the same as “5 sausages” but I had to choose either “sausage” or “number” as an entity. What is nice is that you can look over the training items and remove ones that don’t look right.

Botsify has four payment plans:

All the paid plans allow the integration of RSS and the use of a JSON API.

Botsify also differs from Chatfuel in not focusing solely on Messenger. In addition, it offers a web based chatbot (only available on paid plans) and Alexa skills (currently in beta).

Summary (scores out of 5):