Build or Buy In-App Chat: Which One is Better?


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To thrive in a world run on quick data sharing, companies rely heavily on seamless customer communications. A typical 2021 consumer expects brands to be a stone’s throw away. They want to connect with brands at any given moment. Did you know that live chat conversations deliver an average customer satisfaction rate of 87%? No matter what kind of business you run, live chat is now an integral part of every application.

There’s no getting around the fact that live chat is the most preferred channel of communication for the convenience it offers.

Build or Buy In-App Chat: Which One is Better

The real question is whether to build a chat app yourself or to buy a live chat SDK that does it all for you.

Building a Chat App Yourself

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of implementing live chat in your application or website is to build it yourself from scratch. This might not be the best way to go about it, and here’s why:

1. High Upfront Cost

Building a live chat app from scratch can set you back anywhere from $20,000 to upwards of $30,000 in upfront development costs. This can be hefty for businesses to build something that is not their core business.

2. Technical Expertise Required

Developing a chat application from scratch involves writing thousands of lines of code and requires solid technical skills. Not everyone has the human resources or the expertise at their disposal to do this well. Outsourcing the development to a third party is also an expensive affair.

3. Debugging Is an All-Time Function

Building an app is not something you can do once and forget about it. It’s an ongoing process that involves debugging and updating the app to meet demands. If you choose to outsource the development, the costs of hiring backend support developers can stack up pretty quickly.

Buying a Webchat SDK

While building the in-app chat feature on your app gives you more control over the dynamics, buying one has more to offer. Here’s why most businesses find purchasing a webchat SDK to be more viable:

1. Cost-Efficient

With many great open-source chat SDKs on the market, the upfront costs are kept to a minimum. You can choose the features you want to implement and pay only for what you use.

2. Lesser Time-to-Launch

Compared to building, buying a chat SDK reduces the time taken to deploy the feature significantly. This means, the faster the feature is ready, the quicker it can be launched on your app.

3. Fewer Technical Barriers

When you opt for a live chat SDK, you get a finished product that’s ready to be rolled out to your customers instantly. You can benefit from all the benefits of a live chat on your website or applications without going through several prototypes and development stages.

  • Easy integration using API
  • Easy to scale as per demand

A chat SDK is thoroughly tested and tried out, which leaves less room for errors.

Buying a Chat SDK: Who Is It Best For?

While building an in-app chat may be a better option for some businesses, buying a chat SDK is best suited for businesses that:

  1. Are Just in the Initial Stage of Execution: Building a company can be cost-exhaustive. Incurring costs on features that can be easily plugged in an app are more viable.
  2. Are Running Low on Time: Building the in-app feature on the app from scratch is considerably time-taking. However, when you buy a chat SDK, all you have to do is assemble and integrate the feature on your app, and voila!
  3. May Not Have the Required Tech Muscle: An open-source chat SDK can be a great addition to your app, but you may not have the needed tech resource to build an in-app chat system.

In Conclusion

Needless to say, buying a chat SDK is tagged with many perks building the feature may not offer.

Using an open-source chat SDK can refine your customer service. It is now so central for a user today that about 84% are willing to go out of their way to spend more on brands that offer great customer experiences.

So regardless of whether you choose to build or buy, an in-app chat feature can step up your app game!


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