Welcome back to Top Dog Apps. Today we are reviewing Botstar, a relatively new entry into the chatbot world. Will this new chatbot be worth your chat dollars? Read on to find out 🙂
What is BotStar?
Botstar is a new entry into the world of chatbot software, coming out of Vietnam. Actually the origins of the company are somewhat confusing, as some pages say that Botstar is based out of Singapore, whereas most of the LinkedIn profiles of Botstar employees are from Vietnam. Not that it really matters, I just like to look into the background of these newer companies.
Botstar provide a chatbot service that is aimed squarely at small business owners and solopreneurs. On their website they state that they want to become the “WordPress of chatbots”, giving everyone an equal opportunity to make high quality chatbots.
Most new entrants into the smaller scale chatbot market are following the Manychat business model, and Botstar are no exception.
They give you the ability to make simple bots using a flow builder. I have played around with the Botstar bot builder for many hours and have built a handful of bots. It follows a similar flow builder style as Manychat. You basically have different actions available on the side of the screen, which you drag onto your canvas to edit and connect together to make up the main conversation flow of your chatbot.
Below is a screenshot of the flow of one of my chatbots made on the platform. As you can see, these can get pretty complex pretty quickly! But you don’t need to learn hours of coding to be able to make a chatbot! With the spaghetti of connectors, you sometimes do hit a point where your bot is bugging out and you don’t know why. But this is pretty much the same for all recent chatbot builders that use the no-code route of building. You get used to it 🙂
When you have built your bots you can choose to publish to a website or Facebook Messenger.
Once set up, your chatbot not only becomes a connection point between yourself and potential customers, but also a way to add them to a list and broadcast to them in the future. Think of it as the evolution of email marketing.
Here are some of the other features Botstar offers:
- Powerful Drag and Drop Visual Bot Editor.
- 1500 Apps can be integrated.
- Centralized Inbox to see all your chatbots messages in one place.
- Add your own custom scripting to a bot.
- Powerful CMS content management system to allow you to add your product details to a chat flow.
- Integrates with popular CRM platforms such as Hubspot and Salesforce.
How Much is Botstar?
Botstar has a generous free plan that they label as ‘Beginner’, which allows you to make 3 bots and have 50 sessions monthly for these bots. Granted, this won’t be enough for real world business use but will give you a good amount of scope to test out the platform before you commit any money.
The first paid plan is $15 a month and gives you the ability to build unlimited bots and have 500 sessions monthly for those bots.
A session is basically when someone connects to and uses your chatbot. You can go to the frequently asked questions section of the Botstar website to get the exact definition.
What I Like about Botstar?
For what they offer, Botstar have a much cheaper pricing structure than a lot of their competitors. The fact they give you 2 team members on the $15 a month tier is impressive in itself. As well as the fact that you are literally only paying for what you use, as the pricing is determined on the number of sessions your chatbots are using. I like this way off setting up chatbot pricing.
Botstar is a very flexible chatbot. As you will see from the templates they offer, you can pretty much make any kind of chatbot with this service. From a simple tool to answer customer questions to full on conversational messenger funnels.
Combined with the fact that Botstar is one of the few bot builders to allow you to insert your own custom code, means you can make pretty much whatever type of chatbot you need for your business.
Open to AI
It always surprises me the amount of bot builders that are not plugging into the potential of AI, including the ever popular Manychat that I reviewed recently.
Yes, at the moment, Botstar do use third party AI platforms Wit.AI and Dialogflow. However, these are deeply integrated into the platform and are not just tacked on as an afterthought. Botstar clearly have plans to implement AI more natively within their platform going forward too, which is great to see.
I myself have made several AI chatbots in Botstar, and have been impressed at the results.
Easy to Use
The Botstar platform is very easy to use. The user interface makes everything simple and easy to find, and the drag and drop bot builder means that bot building is essentially turned into ‘Lego’ for adults.
I didn’t have much bot building experience when I first started in Botstar and yet I was building bots in there within hours.
Add to this the massive library of templates, and the whole bot building process almost becomes fun 🙂
I have also never had issues with publishing my chatbots, although I have to admit that most of mine have been connected to websites rather than Facebook Messenger.
Even though Botstar is fairly new on the market, I have been impressed with the number and regularity of the updates they provide. They are clearly on a mission to provide the best and most feature complete chatbot service around.
I have owned Botstar myself around a year and have witnessed a great deal of improvements and changes in that time. I have also noticed that Botstar are good at listening to their community, and have implemented several features and improvements based on customer feedback.
Excellent Help Articles
If you are new to chatbot building Botstar is a great place to start. Not only do they have an amazing selection of constantly updated help articles around their platform, they also offer a free bot building course. You will never be lost when using their service. And, if you do get really stuck, they have a Facebook group to get advice from long time users.
Botstar also have an excellent blog section to their website, which they update regularly. This is a great way to find out the different features and applications Botstar offers, among other things.
Good Bot Customization
Botstar doesn’t limit you to the Facebook messenger look and feel for your chatbots. You have the ability to customize the look and feel of your bot to make if feel more unique.
I suppose some platforms purposely make their chatbots look like they are from Facebook Messenger, as they believe this is a well known and trusted platform that customers would often feel comfortable to use. On the other hand, I would prefer to make something more unique and in keeping with the style of my website.
Although, to be clear, you can go with the Facebok Messenger styling if you want to 🙂
What I Don’t Like about Botstar?
Not Enough Pricing Tiers
For the life of me, I don’t know why they decided to only have one pricing tier and then go to custom pricing. I don’t know about you, but any time I see ‘contact us for custom pricing’ I assume that the service will cost me an arm and a leg.
They really need to add in some more pricing tiers for 1000 and 2000 sessions monthly to not scare off potential customers so much 🙂
Still New and Somewhat Buggy!
As I have stated above, Botstar have done amazingly well to update and improve their chatbot platform. However, you should be aware that this is still not a mature service and you may encounter the odd bug whilst building your bots.
Personally, this has not been a deal breaker for me. I do believe that the Botstar team will get there, we just need patience.
Can’t Create Templates!
Although you can duplicate your own bots, you cannot make your own chatbot templates. This means creating similar bots or sharing your chatbot with others can be more difficult than it should be.
Limited to Facebook Messenger and Websites
Whilst a lot of Botstar’s competition have been moving into other chat platforms such as Whatsapp, Botstar are still using Facebook Messenger and website chatbot channels exclusively.
This limits where you can connect with your audience. As you know, different audiences can be found on different chat platforms, so it is vital that Botstar address this in the future.
In my opinion, I feel that the Bot Star team have been focusing on their products feature set and functionality firstm and I am confident they will address this in time.
Should you Subscribe to Botstar?
I really like the Botstar platform and have been using it for a while now to build bots. Just be aware that this is still a relatively young and developing platform, so they don’t yet have a complete set of features.
If you are willing to take on an exciting new chatbot platform, you can’t go far wrong with Botstar.
Although Botstar has a lot of potential and is looking like a chatbot star of the future, at the time of writing I would still recommend you go with the chatbot titan that is Manychat instead.
Simply put, Manychat is a more mature and fully featured product, you can go with Manychat by clicking HERE. Just be aware that you will likely have to pay more for the pleasure 🙂
Happy bot building!