Just tell me how much it costs
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
How much does an HR chatbot cost?
“How much does a chatbot cost?” or, “What’s the price of a chatbot?”. It’s always one of the questions that people have when starting to look for an HR chatbot. Here at Human Resources intelligence, we have received this question many times within the first couple of minutes of any conversation.
We know that budget matters, along with many other factors. It can dictate whether this is something that you can immediately afford or need to plan for.
As you might imagine, though, the problem with answering this question is the fact that hardly anyone publishes this information and there are some key elements to consider that can impact the cost. As a result, it can be very tough to know what the price to automate this part of your HR offering could be.
Still, I’ll do my best here to give you some understanding of what to consider that may impact your spend.
Not all HR bots are created equal. Differences in purpose mean that some focus on different activities. Recruitment, HR Helpdesk, holiday or leave approvals or employee engagement. Identifying what you need your bot to do is key.
It impacts your choices as some types of bot (e.g. recruitment) perform activities that are better suited to automated workflows.
Why would that be? The main problem area that they can tackle is the co-ordination of diaries – candidate, hiring manager, hr and/or other attendees. This can be very time-consuming work for a recruiter to undertake but much quicker response time for a bot to filter availability into diaries. Resulting in better candidate experience and reduced time to hire (saving money in the long term).
Some companies have more than one bot – each with different functionality: e.g. recruitment and automating HR helpdesk operations.
There are options for you to extend your capabilities in the future, should you select a supplier with many bots on offer. But, do consider how users may use these different options
We are often told that this is a “deal-breaker”. The HR chatbot needs to integrate into the HR database and/or another system like Microsoft Teams. And we get it, having a system that doesn’t talk to your other systems is another thing you need to think about. But this comes back to what purpose your bot has and thus what’s the purpose of the integration.
There are 2 different things to think about:
1. Is integration essential to the purpose or functionality of your bot? If it’s processing holiday approvals that's critical.
2. GDPR legislation means that the sharing of information needs, of course, to be justifiable in the context. Because you can share it, it doesn’t mean you should. This is an area that we keep an eye on in HaRi-Bot. We are constantly checking to see what data is being used. If we don’t need it, we don’t want it.
Implementation and training (of people and the bot)
Depending on the size and scale of your organisation there can be implementation charges or set-up fees. These are one-off fees that are due upfront to set the system up for your company. These can be sizeable, running into thousands of pounds but are accompanied by support to ensure that the system is up and running in your organisation and working at its best.
Training takes two forms with a chatbot:
People who are using the system and making sure that they get the competency to use it; and
Training your bot to understand your organisation (any quirks and abbreviations in language for example) and ensure that it is responding in the right way.
Both of these activities can take time and attention and so, impact the cost. Training your bot can take longer than training your people. Depending on the complexity of the system (and you want one that isn’t complex) you should be training your people within a couple of days.
Training your bot may involve both your supplier and your team spending time and effort on bringing its understanding up and the longer this takes the more cost. Remember that this has both direct costs (your supplier will likely charge for the time or put a cap on the number of days provided) and indirect (for your people and the time that they are spending on this activity). This pays off for you in the longer term as the better trained the bot, the fewer questions come in through other routes (email, in person, by phone).
Training is separate from testing. Testing your bot is making sure that all connections, flows and whiz-bang bits are working as they should. It could also impact on cost.
These elements are just to get your bot up and running in your organisation. Phew!
Now that your bot is out and launched with your employees, it’s about running or maintenance costs.
Most HR software is charged on a per-employee basis, whether that’s HR databases or employee engagement software. Bots are currently less clear. It would be sensible to have this based on a per-employee basis in the same way as other tech and indeed that’s the approach that we’ve taken with HaRi-Bot. It means that you know what you’re getting.
Depending on the type of bot functionality that you have, the user audience may be limited in some way. For example, recruitment bots can deal with huge volume but only for applicants to your organisation; people currently working for you may use it a little or not at all. The bot is still performing a critical role and saving time and effort but its usage is specific and narrow.
We see a similar thing with Hari-Bot; it critically matters to an employee when they have a question. But they don’t have a question every minute of every day. That’s why our pricing starts at £1.50 per employee, per month (excl VAT).
What other things do I need to think about?
An annual license fee model which means that you pay annually in advance for the use of the bot for the year ahead. The annual license typical for the subscription-based cloud support model (e.g. per employee, per month format) but of course it should include a number of things:
- Software maintenance & hosting (a given)
- Training support (some form of online, documentation, in-person)
- Ongoing technical support
- Other key functionality
We’ve touched on a little throughout this but there will likely be a time and effort cost within your organisation to get any bot up and running. Sometimes providers (like us) will be able to provide you with extra support, but there is a separate cost for this but here’s a helpful little checklist to use:
Integration: Think about the functionality and purpose (especially around GDPR). Costs will depend on the complexity and systems involved;
Implementation: These costs are likely to be one-off to get your bot up and running. Costs will be your own internal time and effort plus any supplier support;
Training and testing: Some level of training is normally included in the cost. Testing could be included in the implementation costs but double-check. Costs will be your own internal time and effort for attending training and testing the bot;
Running costs: Most HR software is on a per employee, per month basis. Potentially discounted for longer contracts. Costs are the annual subscription fee with minimal internal time and effort to maintain the bot; and
The future: Remember to ask about future capabilities.
Is There a Perfect HR Chatbot for You?
By now, you’re wondering if you can afford to have a chatbot in your company? Of course, for your HR Helpdesk general questions and queries, we have our very own HaRi-Bot. We’d love to tell you about it and you can book a free demo here.
We hope you found this information useful and wish you the best on your journey to find the perfect HR chatbot for your organisation. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and remember to check out our Knowledge Centre for more answers and visit us again for more blogs.