For context, 79% of consumers prefer live chats because they offer instant responses. Chat functions are almost a mandatory requirement for operations to push themselves to the next level of marketing. However, businesses are often faced with the challenge of deciding whether to build chat functions in-house using their resources or license a chat API through a third-party provider.
Both have significant advantages and drawbacks. Cost, time, expertise, and even projected returns on investment are all factors that determine if implementing a chat function in-house or through licensing is right for you.
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Why consider implementing a chat function?
Chat features that operate in real-time improve your brand’s perception and performance substantially in your consumers’ eyes. A direct line for resolving inquiries, for example, is an attractive benefit for consumers who work with you. Chats eliminate a lot of the high turnover times for addressing your consumer’s questions.
A chat function also allows you to gather useful data by communicating with your clients and consumers. Chat logs can show the most common questions, stockpile resolution protocols, and make resolutions for multiples of the same items much faster.
Perhaps even more powerful, a real-time chat function allows users to connect with other users, giving them the ability to exchange information without losing privacy. While forums are an excellent choice for centralizing queries and community attitudes, chats offer the bonus of security, privacy, and immediacy. Users can find resolutions for their questions quickly and easily without waiting for their forum post or service email to receive a response.
Building your chat in-house
There are notable advantages to building your chat function with resources already on hand, especially if you have the proper balance of experience, finances, and time. Not everyone is well suited towards building their chat, but it can be one of your business’s best additions if the cards line up correctly.
All of the implementations are entirely yours. You have complete control of how your chat stores data and integrate into your general pipeline. You’re also in full control of the interface and how the chat function appears to your users. When you build anything in-house, the added benefit of total oversight is attractive.
A real-time chat function is not something you can just mash together without thought. The infrastructure necessary for the complexity that comes with a chat needs to be able to handle peer-to-peer messaging, features like being able to share multiple file types, as well as a robust system for logging chat history for immediate access.
On the security side, you have to implement customization, such as better encryption standards for more safety, requiring specific expertise. If you don’t iron out these factors early on, your resources may end up being spent on correcting buggy chats. This could be a significant draw of time and money. Building a chat function itself is already a considerable cost. The last thing you want to worry about is fixing your chat while implementing new features.
License a chat API
Going through a third-party provider license for your chat function is often the fastest and less hectic option for companies. You have a whole team separate from your overhead that will maintain, implement, and modify your real-time chat. This option is desirable for groups that may lack the specific expertise for building a chat function, and outsourcing to a third party can fill that gap nicely.
License a Chat API – Pros
Licensing means that you will be contracting with a group with verified experience in building necessary chat infrastructure. This removes much of the legwork placed on your team, allowing you to refocus your efforts effectively. Providers will typically bill monthly. This depends on how many users are using the chat and provide all estimated costs to clients upfront. This eliminates the added stress of compiling costs since you will never be caught off guard.
You have less control over the specifics of the user interface and some functionality. Things may not look exactly how you envisioned. While licensing with a third party will eliminate unanticipated costs in the short term, you need to consider how expensive the license itself will be on its own. Furthermore, it is essential to thoroughly vet the company you are licensing with. You need to ensure that things like their security protocols and encryption are up to standard to keep your user’s data safe.
Should you build or license a Chat API?
Each company has unique circumstances. As you can see, there are numerous pros and cons to building vs. licensing chat functions for your website. It comes down to if you have the resources, expertise, and time to implement your in-house chat. If you don’t or if it would be a considerable cost inconvenience, licensing through a third party is the way to go.
If you decide to go through a licensed chat function, you must work with the right group. The last thing you want to worry about is if you can trust another company with your clients’ data.
Regardless of the method you choose, adding chat functionality can only improve your business operations. It expands your time with your consumers, and frames you as a responsive, integrative group willing to innovate.
Do you need a trusted, comprehensive service for setting up your chat functions? Work with us, today!