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Nearly every business today make good use of Facebook Messenger Chatbots and for a good reason. According to a study by Statista (a business data platform), Facebook Messenger has over 1.3 billion monthly active users around the world. Hence no matter what business you are into, it is more than likely that it is where most of your customers are. Chatbots offer a golden opportunity for businesses out to hundreds of customers 24/7 and be there to answer questions, resolve customer issues and even sell products or services directly.

If you’ve been into the market for premium tools that you can use to build a chatbot for your business, then you will find that two names often crop up – Chatfuel and ManyChat. Both offer businesses the ability to set up and manage their own Messenger chatbot with no coding and technical knowledge required. That said, one question remains – which is better?

In this article, we do a comparison between Chatfuel and ManyChat across the following areas:

  • Price
  • Customer support
  • Data analytics and reports
  • AI Tools
  • eCommerce tools
  • Managing contacts
  • Available templates
  • Getting Started
  • Conclusion

Such information ought to prove useful in helping you decide which Chatboot tool is most suitable for your business.

Price

If you’re only getting started with Messenger Chatbots, then pricing is probably one factor that you are most concerned about. The good news is that both Chatbot tools offer free plans that users can test for free (with limitations) if only to see which one is most suitable for your business. The following is a breakdown of the differences between the two with regards to their free plan:

  • Chatfuel’s free plan is limited to 1,000 users and will have the Chatfuel branding (disappears once you upgrade to a paid plan. No support for user segmentation although they do offer the option to set unlimited variables and integrations.
  • ManyChat’s free plan is unlimited (users and messages) and supports user segmentation (up to 10 tags) as well as automation for up to 2 broadcast sequences. Businesses can also set up to 3 custom variables. The downside is that there is no support for integration and in-bot purchases. Their free chatbot also bears the ManyChat branding (also disappears after upgrading to a paid plan).

As you may have already realised, Chatfuel’s free plan is not as restrictive as that of ManyChat and offers free users the opportunity to create unlimited variables and integrations. That said, users are limited to only  5000 subscribers while ManyChat has no such restrictions. However, it is worth mentioning that Chatfuel gives you more features for creating a fully functional chatbot for free.

Upgrading to a paid plan removes all of the restrictions for both chatbot tools. Again, the prices depend on the number of active users:

  • 500 users – $15 per month for Chatfuel versus $10 per month for ManyChat
  • 1,000 users – $55 per month for Chatfuel versus $45 per month for ManyChat
  • 10,000 users – $85 per month for Chatfuel versus $65 per month for ManyChat
  • 25,000 users – $180 per month for Chatfuel versus $145 per month for ManyChat

As you can see, Chatfuel is significantly more expensive compared to many ManyChat across all subscription tiers. On paper, the higher cost seems reasonable since Chatfuel offers more features (integrations and in-bot purchases). Of course, this would depend on whether or not your business actually uses said features.

Customer support

There is a steep learning curve for setting up and managing a chatbot and new users will need all the help that they can get. ManyChat addresses the matter by creating a knowledge base that provides answers to frequently asked questions as well as basic and advanced tutorials. They also provide a collection of video training courses that are suitable for visual learners. The downside though is that ManyChat does not make it easy for users to get in touch with their support team. Users will have to do some digging to access their ticketing support system.

Chatfuel, on the other hand, provides accessible chat support (not live) for new users although their self-help documentation is not as good as that of ManyChat. The upside is that new users can always reach out to one of their support staff and get a response within 24 hours which is always a good thing.

Data analytics and reports

Messenger Chatbots offer businesses a tonne of customer data to work with. ManyChat and Chatfuel both provide a basic overview of user activity accessible through the dashboard which provides information on subscribe/unsubscribe rates, open/click rates and user retention. Nevertheless, both tools lack support to handle a major analysis and businesses are better off exporting the data to a third party tool like Dasbot.io and Botanalytics.

AI Tools

ManyChat’s chatbot relies on keywords and phrases such as “ make a reservation” or “shipping fees” to automatically respond to relevant questions and inquiries. While you can set an unlimited number of keywords and phrases, the process is time-consuming and prone to errors. For example, a user might send you a message saying “I have some reservations about your service”. Your Chatbot may respond with an offer to help schedule a reservation. As you might imagine, the latter can be a recipe for disaster. This makes your business appear callous and unprofessional. That said, your business can spend time mitigating such issues and carefully crafting relevant responses. Users just need to be mindful of its’ limitations.

Chatfuel’s AI tool, on the other hand, uses a rudimentary form of NLP (Natural Language Processing). This enables their chatbot to recognise certain terms and phrases and respond accordingly. Hence Chatfuel’s chatbot is generally more efficient and reliable out of the box as it is less likely to make mistakes.

eCommerce Tools

One of the features that make messenger chatbots so effective as a marketing tool is that it has the potential to promote sales 24/7.  Chatfuel takes this advantage a step further by enabling users to purchase a product or service directly off messenger without having to redirect customers to an external site or application. They support native Facebook payments (only for North American users)  and Stripe (online payment processing for Internet businesses).

ManyChat also offers the same feature but only limited to Stripe payments. If you have reason to believe that a sizeable portion of your sales is coming from messenger chatbots catering to users in the US, then this is a limitation that you’d want to consider.

Managing Contacts

The contact management interface on Chatfuel and ManyChat are similar in many ways. Both enable users to filters and segment their audience across a number of variables/attributes. Businesses can directly message customers from one interface. This is useful for say, keeping track of people who’ve contacted you on messenger for an urgent problem.

Available Templates

Templates spare businesses from having to create and program their chatbot from scratch which requires a significant amount of time. Chatfuel understands this which is why they offer more than 75 templates for businesses to work with. These templates range from opt-in sequences to handling reservations for specific industries such as hotels and restaurants. Most of the templates are free although Chatfuel charges an additional fee for some of the more specialised ones.

ManyChat on the hand offers only five templates. Well, six if you count the “For Beginners” template. That said, the latter isn’t really useful as it does not relate to any specific industry). With ManyChat, it is clear that users are encouraged to create their own template that is tailor made for their business. Doing so will take time, although you can copy and edit templates. Hence you don’t have to start from scratch every time. Still, this can be a hassle for most beginners.

Conclusion

So there you have it – a brief comparison of ManyChat and Chatfuel. The two are some of the best chatbot building tools on the market today. As you may have already realised, neither of them is perfect and has its’ own pros and cons. It all boils down to choosing the right chatbot tool that best fulfils your business requirements and preferences.