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Nick Schäferhoff
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Best AI Chatbots

Thinking about adding an AI-powered chatbot to your website or messaging platform? Or perhaps you’re looking to upgrade an existing chatbot solution to one with artificial intelligence?

That’s a great idea.

To determine which is the best AI chatbot solution for you, you’ll need to consider a number of factors:

  • Budget — because artificial intelligence and automation come at a price.
  • Channels — do you need help on your website, app, social media, email, or messaging platform?
  • Purpose — e.g. sales and marketing automation, customer support, simple assistance with questions-and-answers.
  • Setup of chatbot and its workflows — so you can factor in the cost of a developer if needed.
  • App integration — so your chatbot can use and improve existing customer data.

With the right chatbot on your side, you can get much more done… and more effectively, too. So, which do you choose?

Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the 10 best AI chatbots on the market today.

The Best AI Chatbots for Your Website

A chatbot can be very useful when it comes to managing the customer experience. A bot powered by machine learning and natural language processing, on the other hand, can be a real game-changer.

That’s because artificial intelligence gives us the ability to give a human-like voice and processing capabilities to what would otherwise be just another piece of software.

As a result, customers can be better attended to while you’re freed up to do more than getting bogged down by having to answer the same questions over and over again.

Of course, this assumes that your chatbot is well-designed. By starting with one of the best AI chatbots, you’ll be part of the way there. It’s then up to you to build the chatbot your customers and your business will benefit from most.

Let’s try to figure out which one will help you do that best:

1. ManyChat (Freemium)

ManyChat - one of the best AI chatbots of 2020ManyChat is a Facebook Messenger marketing service. While the chatbot is the core element, you can do more with this software, including sending SMS messages and run AI-powered Facebook ads.

On the chatbot side of things, there are many things you can accomplish. Your messenger bot can:

  • Start chatbot conversations with first-time visitors.
  • Qualify leads with a series of questions.
  • Provide quotes to interested prospects.
  • Send coupons to loyal customers.
  • Book appointments and reservations.
  • Sell your products or services and process payments.

Basically, a ManyChat chatbot can help you start, nurture, and hold onto customer relationships — all through Facebook Messenger.

That said, ManyChat isn’t a standalone solution. It integrates with other tools you use, like Google Drive, Shopify, MailChimp, HubSpot, Stripe, and Zapier.

In terms of getting started, it’s a piece of cake. You can either build your bot from a pre-designed template or you can use the drag-and-drop builder to create your own chatbot and flow.

If you’re new to chatbots, the free plan gets you set up with everything you need, including drip sequences, audience segmentation, and a visual flow builder.

If you’re looking for an upgrade, the Pro plan costs $10 a month and comes with advanced templates, unlimited access to marketing tools, and integration with other channels (like SMS, Facebook ads, and email).

2. Intercom (Premium)

Intercom - Chatbot solutionIntercom is a full-scale solution for business communications. At the center of it is the Business Messenger, its chat product.

Business Messenger isn’t a one-size-fits-all chatbot though. You can build workflows to complete a number of tasks.

For instance, you might consider adapting your home screen to different users (e.g. new visitors versus qualified leads). Then, have the bot send custom messages to each.

You can also program your chatbot to talk to people in the right context. For instance, with its advanced targeting feature, it can identify high-intent leads, collect pertinent info from them, and then get them over to a live rep to close the deal.

The AI chatbot can also learn to anticipate users’ questions by matching them to ones that have been previously resolved. It doesn’t have to go through a series of questions either. It can anticipate the questions and proactively share answers just by the words the user is typing.

And it can pull in and exchange data with all of your key business apps, for example, Slack, Google Calendar, Stripe, Jira, Zoom. Just to name a few.

Designing an Intercom chatbot is as easy as configuring a contact form in WordPress. No code is needed. Just configure each of the settings, program your questions, and publish your bot.

To gain access to Intercom’s chatbot solution, you’ll have to subscribe to the Start, Grow, Accelerate, or Scale plans.

  • Start’s pricing starts at $39 a month and it’s for basic chat and outbound messaging.
  • Grow’s pricing starts at $99 a month. You can create a lead qualification bot or an article suggestions bot with it.
  • Accelerate starts at $499 a month and Scale starts at $999 a month. Both give you the ability to create custom bots.

If you want to provide advanced customer support or lead generation, it requires an additional upgrade.

The good news with this chatbot is that it comes with a 14-day free trial. That way, you don’t have to commit to an expensive piece of software without giving it a shot first.

3. ChatBot for LiveChat (Premium)

ChatBot for LiveChatLiveChat is a full-scale customer service platform. If you want the benefits of AI automation, though, you’ll need to invest in the ChatBot integration.

With ChatBot for LiveChat, you’re not creating a bot to field basic Q&As. This is meant as a tool for enhancing your existing customer service offering. As such, you can create bots that:

  • Remove spam comments from the queue.
  • Provide support after hours.
  • Qualify and capture leads.
  • Schedule sales appointments with leads.
  • Tag conversations so they’re sent to the right business apps in your arsenal (which you can program through Zapier) and the data is properly filed.
  • Create support tickets with the initial intake already handled.
  • Triage high-priority issues to live agents through LiveChat.

Another great thing about ChatBot is you can program it to work across all your customer service platforms: your WordPress website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, SMS, and more.

Basically, it will turn your customer service operation into a true omnichannel solution.

You have a number of options when it comes to building your chatbot.

You can use a template built specifically for the task you need to be done. You can use the drag-and-drop chatbot builder to create your own. Or you can use ChatBot’s open API to create something truly custom.

It’s also easy to create “Stories” or conversation flows. What’s nice about this feature is that it enables you to copy any given Story across multiple messaging platforms, so you can save a lot of time programming your chatbot.

ChatBot has three plans to choose from:

  • The Starter plan starts at $50 a month and gives you 1 chatbot, 1,000 chats, and basic features.
  • The Team plan starts at $149 a month and gives you 5 chatbots, 5,000 chats, and advanced features.
  • The Business plan starts at $499 a month and gives you unlimited bots, 25,000 chats, and advanced features.

Every user of ChatBot gets a 14-day trial to start. After that, you pay for a plan based on how many chatbots you create, how many chats take place over the month, and what level of features you need.

4. Chatfuel (Freemium)

Chatfuel Facebook Messenger ChatChatfuel is a good option if your goal is to automate your Facebook Messenger conversations with leads and customers.

Take a look at its website and you’ll see that Chatfuel has been the driving force behind some very well-known brands and their Messenger marketing campaigns.

  • LEGO reduced their conversion costs by 71%.
  • Leeds Beckett University generated $3.1 million in tuition in just one day.
  • HelloFresh reduced customer wait time by 76%.

If you know your target users are on Facebook and are ready and willing to engage with your brand, Chatfuel could realistically skyrocket your lead generation and customer service efforts there.

It’s important to understand that a Chatfuel bot doesn’t just answer questions and triage support requests. With Chatfuel, you can do things like:

  • Run A/B tests to refine your chatbot flows.
  • Remind shoppers when they’ve left items in their carts.
  • Create lookalike and custom audiences for Facebook ad campaigns and then analyze results with your bot.

And if you’re an agency that handles Facebook marketing for clients, you can white-label Chatfuel so your clients only see what you want them to in the dashboard.

Chatfuel offers a free plan for businesses just starting out. So, if you anticipate having fewer than 1,000 subscribers and don’t need much more than the standard bot features, that might work for you.

The Pro plan starts at $15 per month (depending on how large your team is). There’s no subscriber limit and you gain access to advanced features and priority support.

A Premium plan is available, though you’ll have to inquire with Chatfuel about pricing. This is the best option for agencies that require additional support, white labeling, and other specialized features.

5. Ada (Premium)

Ada automation chatbotAda calls its AI-powered chatbot platform the front line of customer service.

That’s because it integrates with your existing live chat providers like Salesforce or Zendesk, allowing your agents to hand off the tedious task of answering repetitive questions to the chatbot. And you can use it pretty much anywhere: Twitter, Facebook, Twilio, WhatsApp, and more.

As you can imagine, this isn’t just useful for streamlining customer service and keeping chat support costs down, but it can improve job satisfaction as the work your live agents do ends up being more meaningful.

In addition to providing customer support, Ada chatbot can help in other areas.

For example, you can program it to up-sell and cross-sell customers. You can also use predictive suggestions to train your chatbot to provide answers before customers have even submitted their questions.

And it can do this in over 100 languages.

There’s no coding knowledge needed to build a chatbot. With drag-and-drop building blocks, it’s easy enough for anyone to build, edit, and duplicate conversation flows.

That means you can empower your customer service professionals — the ones who know your customer interactions inside and out — to build automated workflows based on what customers are going to ask and what kinds of answers they need.

Pricing isn’t publicly available for Ada. To find out more, you’ll need to schedule a demo.

6. Flow XO (Freemium)

Flow XO automation chat platformFlow XO is an automation product that simplifies the creation of chatbots while simultaneously advancing your ability to serve leads and customers.

With Flow XO, you create the workflows you need. For example:

  • Display a welcome message to greet new visitors.
  • Provide interesting facts or fun GIFs to bring attention to your chatbot while also showing off the brand’s personality.
  • Gather information from leads and allow conditional logic to determine where the conversation goes.
  • Provide answers for commonly asked questions.
  • Accept payments for products, invoices, and services.
  • Transition leads or customers to a real-time chat with a rep when it’s needed.

Flow XO integrates with over 100 apps, so there are a ton of ways to adapt this to your existing workflows and to automate the exchange of data between all your platforms.

There’s also flexibility in terms of where you use it. Flow XO chatbots can be placed within websites, apps, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Twilio, among others.

And while there are an enormous amount of possibilities in terms of where and how you use your chatbot, building one is very easy. Using a drag-and-drop builder, you can quickly build out your workflows and connect them to the relevant platforms through APIs.

You have two options for signing up.

  • The Free plan allows for 500 interactions, 2 weeks of chat logs, and 5 chatbots.
  • The Standard plan costs $19 a month and allows for 5,000 interactions, 3 months of chat logs, and 15 bots.

If you exceed any of those limits, additional fees apply.

7. LivePerson (Premium)

LivePerson conversational AILivePerson, as the name suggests, is a live chat solution. It’s aimed at helping enterprises keep on-site customer service costs low by providing remote sales and support teams with the tools they need to connect with and convert customers.

While LivePerson makes it easier for reps to manage their multichannel conversations, it also comes with a conversational AI feature.

The LivePerson chatbot works on a wide range of platforms:

  • Websites and apps
  • SMS
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Apple Business Chat
  • Google Rich Business Messaging (RBM)

According to LivePerson, about 70% of the conversations customers have with a chat widget can be automated, so it’s a good idea to have one that merges AI with human support.

The artificial intelligence capabilities of this bot are pretty impressive, too.

It starts with LivePerson’s proprietary AI called Maven. It uses natural language understanding to learn about and detect user intent. It then dynamically routes inquiries to the right channel — be it an AI chatbot or a live agent.

Natural language processing is what empowers the bot to take your customers’ queries and provide the right responses based on the words used and data provided.

Intent Manager monitors real-time chat conversations and helps optimize responses on the spot. It can also automate workflows if it identifies a way to do so.

It’s not just up to the AI either.

The dashboard provides you with data on user intent, satisfaction, sentiment, as well as conversion rates. As you identify friction or gaps in the process, you can make adjustments and change priorities accordingly.

You might be nervous that something so advanced would be difficult to use, but it’s surprisingly not. LivePerson comes with bot templates built specifically for industry use cases, pre-programmed consumer intents, pre-written conversations, and app integrations. Or you can build your own if you don’t find what you’re looking for.

Pricing for LivePerson isn’t available on the website. If you’re interested in learning more about this AI software and to get a custom quote, schedule an appointment.

8. Drift Chatbot (Premium)

Drift automated chatbot assistantDrift is a multi-pronged communication solution that includes email, video, live chat, and chatbot software.

Although you can use Drift Chatbot to do mundane tasks on your website like answer common visitor questions and provide basic navigational help around your site, it’s best used to support your sales efforts.

The chatbot can do things like:

  • Qualify and score leads. Then add that data to your CRM and other marketing software.
  • Book appointments on days and at times when your sales reps are actually available.
  • Route leads to the right person based on factors like company size, territory, and so on.
  • Route existing leads back to the rep they already engaged with.
  • Provide VIP leads with a detour so they can skip filling out forms and start talking to someone right away.
  • Offer support directly from your support portal or knowledgebase.

Drift integrates with dozens of business and sales tools — many that you won’t find supported by other intelligent chatbots on this list. You’ll find apps like MadKudu for lead scoring, Optimizely for split testing, and Front to centralize all your business communications.

Drift also comes with AI email assistants.

Think about how much it would cost to pay for virtual assistants to monitor each of your channel’s traffic and incoming chats around the clock. Sure, you’d recuperate some of your investment with the additional sales you’d close, but your profit margins would be slim.

Drift Chatbot is an expensive tool. However, it’s nowhere near as expensive as a team of agents and assistants trying to attend to each and every lead or customer.

It’s important to note that you’re not just paying for advanced AI capabilities. You’re paying for Drift’s expertise.

When you sign up, Drift works with you to create the perfect workflows for your virtual assistant.

The team will import and analyze previous customer conversations. Then, identify patterns and categorize them accordingly.

The Annotation Team works with you to train your bot to detect intent and provide the perfect answers — not just the right responses, but in the language, you would use.

As already mentioned, Drift Chatbot is pricey.

  • The Essential plan starts at $400 a month and includes lead routing and CRM integrations.
  • The Premium plan starts at $1,500 per month and includes marketing automation.

You have to pay extra for chat seats and calendar seats as well, so keep that in mind.

9. ChatCreate (Premium)

ChatCreate chatbot add-onIn order to build and use a ChatCreate AI assistant, you need to already be providing customer support through a platform like ZenDesk, Chatfuel, ManyChat, or LiveChat. You can also connect it to other platforms using an API.

Because this is an add-on built specifically for support platforms, it’s very easy to get it installed since the connection is already there. It’s simply up to you to create your bot.

As for how this chatbot works, it’s pretty simple.

ChatCreate’s proprietary SuggestionsAI will identify common topics and questions that come up in your customer exchanges. It will load those questions and answers into the system and that’s what your chatbot will be able to handle. More complex topics will be routed to your live agents.

That said, SuggestionsAI never stops monitoring your conversations. So, if it notices that customers start asking about something new and it happens frequently enough, the question will be added to your automated workflows.

In terms of signing up, you’ll receive a 7-day free trial. After that point in time, you’ll have your choice between two plans.

  • The Essentials plan starts at $99 a month for every 1,000 conversations your bot has.
  • The Enterprise plan requires you to schedule a demo in order to get a custom quote. But if you have a need for automation suggestions, API access, increased encryption, and more support, it would be worth exploring.

10. Freshchat (Premium)

Freshchat customer chat platformFreshchat is customer support software that’s part of the Freshworks suite of business tools. So, if you’re a Freshworks user already, this might be the best of the best AI chatbots for you.

With Freshchat, you can add both live chat and an AI-powered chatbot to your website, mobile app, or social messenger services. And it can do a variety of tasks:

  • Send precise answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Take customers through a conversation flow to figure out the right course of action.
  • Proactively reach out to targeted users based on demographics, behavior, abandoned carts, and so on.
  • Qualify leads and get them scheduled to chat with a sales rep.
  • Route customers to a customer service agent to handle more complex matters.
  • Exchange data between the apps you already use (both inside and outside of Freshworks).

When using a Freshchat bot, you’re getting the benefits of machine learning technology and natural language processing. This is what enables your bot to read the intent and sentiment of your customers’ messages and respond with the appropriate answers or guidance.

That said, you have a bit more control over how your chatbot operates than some of the other products here.

Rather than just leave it to study, learn, and anticipate your customers’ behaviors, you can create rules that trigger it to react a certain way. For instance, you can trigger messages based on segmentations like:

  • Pages visited
  • Time spent on site
  • Geographic location
  • Device used
  • Amount of money spent

You can also schedule your chatbot to engage with them just as a sales rep or customer support agent might if they were actively monitoring the site.

When it comes to building a Freshchat bot, it’s pretty simple. While there’s no drag-and-drop, designing your flows and messages is easy enough with a text editor and settings configuration.

To get access to Freshchat’s AI-powered chatbot “Freddy”, you’ll start with a 21-day free trial. After that, you have two choices:

  • The Forest plan costs $69 per user per month if you pay annually (the rate goes up if you go month to month).
  • The Forest Omnichannel gives you even more artificial intelligence power but costs $139 per user per month. If your website and messengers need speech-enabled bots, voicebots, chatbots with answers and flows, agent assist, and whitelisting, you’ll need this upgrade.

Wrapping Up

The better you design your AI chatbot, the more people will engage with it.

The more people engage with it, the larger your repository of data and interactions will become.

And the more data you have, the more adept your chatbot will be to handle incoming queries and anticipate what your customers need.

This, in turn, makes it much easier for your sales, marketing, and customer support teams to focus on resolving more complex issues and having more meaningful interactions with leads and customers. While a basic chatbot might get you part of the way there, AI is the key to unlocking this extra productivity and success.

Now that you know more about the best AI chatbots, which one will you choose?


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