Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly reshaping the customer service landscape. More businesses than ever are using AI-powered chatbots to talk with site visitors and online customers to help answer their questions or find solutions to their problems.
There are many different platforms that offer AI chatbots and bot-creation services, which means you’ll have to be selective with which one you choose as your online customer service representative.
Today, we’re going to narrow down the 5 best AI Chatbots that you should consider for your business, and how each can be leveraged to increase your online customers’ experiences.
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Why use chatbots?
But why are companies beginning to use chatbots in the first place?
Much of the reason stems from the fact that chatbots are just as efficient at serving customers as trained human employees, and far more effective than inexperienced customer service employees. Not to sound overly pragmatic, but companies can save much more money by investing in chatbots that need only to be hired once and produce more leads.
Modern chatbots produce organic responses during conversation and are built to provide appropriate responses to customer inquiries. They can also adapt to their functions with each successive conversation, and provide insights about customers by collecting data and producing reports.
Many sites offer AI chatbot builder tools, and some even allow users to build bots without any coding experience. We’re going to explore some of these platforms in the next section, where we’ll be taking a look at the top 5 chatbots for companies in 2021.
Best AI Chatbot Platforms in 2021
Here are our top 5 picks for the best AI chatbots and chatbot building platforms available in 2021.
ChatBot is the best overall AI chatbot. Easy to use with powerful features.Visit Chatbot.com
ChatBot is a natural language understanding framework that provides business management services to create intelligent conversational and AI-powered chatbots. ChatBot is a telecom service.
To create a fully operating chatbot with ChatBot you don’t need any other tools or apps. Their scenario tree structure and drag and drop interface are very intuitive and quick lessons in the Academy can guide you through more complex topics such as capturing user data, using filters and training your bot.
With Chatbot, you can publish your bot in seconds using one-click integrations with popular messengers, live chat services or just use their Chat Widget.
ChatBot is really focused on simplifying chatbot development and empowering businesses to focus more on solving problems, as opposed to worrying about coding. To build a first chatbot you don’t need any coding skills or development experience. They’ve minimized the number of steps you have to follow to create a complete powerful chatbot.
Beyond their ChatBot builder, they have other powerful features including reporting and analytics. This can give real-time insights on important performance metrics. You can easily see the number of chats and busy periods to find out which of your Stories are the most popular.
In terms of AI, ChatBot provides a number of sophisticated algorithms that work in the background to adapt your chatbots to customer needs. This includes things like Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and continuous training.
I've tested dozens of AI Chatbot software. By far, ChatBot is the simplest to use and get started with. I really enjoyed bootstrapping off of their templates. Their drag and drop story builder with LIVE preview, makes it easy to test your chatbot workflows.
- Super easy to use story building system with drag and drop capabilities
- Customization of the chatbot settings; easy implementation
- Diverse set of third-party integrations, including WordPress
- Ability to collect user data from chats
- Reporting tools and analytics to measure performance
- Open API and webhooks so you can connect to all your favorite tools
- Price might be too high for some, especially if multiple bots and conversations are needed
- Not a ton of templates; easier to just start from scratch
- No easy way to create duplicate messages for different paths within the same story; lots of copy and paste
2. Mitsuku (Pandorabots)
Pandorabots is the best AI chatbot for developers to create complex conversational agents.
Pandorabots is a world-famous artificial intelligence company that’s most well known for developing Mitsuku, a conversational AI chatbot renowned for its realism and ability to mimic human responses. They have helped create more than 325,000 chatbots with over 275,000 developers. Given how their Mitsuku AI has won the Loebner prize multiple times, they are the top option for creating AI-driven virtual agents for advertising, e-learning, education, marketing, and entertainment.
Pandorabots offers AIML (artificial intelligence mark-up language) to create chatbots for any business. They help clients incorporate Mitsuku as the chitchat layer for your chatbot so that users can instead focus on content relevant to the domain without worrying about the functionality of the bot itself. That means with decent programming skills, you can get your chatbot up to similar levels as Pandorabots’ award-winning AI.
Pandorabots also gives an approachable platform with which to build an AI chatbot, offering a free Udemy course that teaches the basics of AIML and how to integrate tools to create conversational chatbots for your business. You can also integrate the chatbots you build across multiple popular messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and LINE.
In terms of pricing, Pandorabots offers a free Sandbox Plan that provides access to the development sandbox, but not much else. Their Developer Plan costs $19 a month and provides a wide range of tools such as API access, a chat widget and landing page, and additional access to third-party channels for $9 each. The Pro Plan includes all of those features but with free third-party integrations, additional email support, and live training for $199 a month. The Enterprise Plan offers customizable features including custom chatbot development, and prices are negotiable with Pandorabots. Both the Pro and Developer Plans have 2 week free trials as well.
Pandorabots’ ability to craft realistic and versatile AI chatbots is second to none, exemplified by their award-winning Mitsuku bot. They also provide a user-friendly set of tools for clients to build their own chatbots, though some programming experience is likely needed. Their monthly plans are relatively affordable and are good options for midsize businesses.
- Versatile set of tools that lets users create realistic chatbots
- Affordable pricing
- Lots of additional customer support
- Some programming experience is necessary to get everything to work
- You’ll have to pay more for third-party integrations
Imperson is the best AI Chatbot for enterprises.
Imperson is an AI chatbot creation service that partners with organizations to build conversational robots with specific parameters. These chatbots are meant for building connections with site visitors that eventually lead to conversions. They aren’t so much meant for customer service as in the other platforms and chatbots on this list, but rather for creating unique user experiences to drive engagement and sales.
Imperson has helped companies like Disney and National Geographic create bots that mimic the mannerisms and behaviors of famous characters and historical figures, such as Judy Hopps and Albert Einstein. Their bots offer natural and smooth conversations under scripts built through client specifications.
Imperson developed a conversational flow engine that creates organic conversations through multiple, real-time factors such as customer goals, user profiles, conversation history, support case history, and past purchases. They also provide analytics dashboards to monitor how well chatbots are performing, and how well they’re converting sales. Users can improve chatbot knowledge by adding information through an accessible user interface, while integrating their bots across multiple social channels like Facebook.
Unfortunately, their pricing is not listed on the website, as the customizable nature of their chatbot building system requires users to talk to Imperson staff themselves for proper setup.
Imperson’s AI building platform is certainly not for smaller or even midsize businesses. Their work with corporations like Disney shows that their expertise lies in creating unique customer experiences through chatbot functions. Some companies might find this to be an attractive option, however, especially if they’re using AI bots as a large part of their marketing strategy. That being said, they are a more highly specialized service that likely reserves their expertise for a select few.
- Incredibly versatile AI toolkit that can create realistic and engaging bots
- Intricate conversational flow engine that leverages past conversations to improve responses
- Useful analytics dashboards to track sales and other conversions
- Prices are variable and likely on the higher side
- Not a great solution for general customer support and administrative communications
Botsify is a machine learning AI chatbot building platform that provides users with chatbot creation tools for their businesses. Claiming to allow users to get five times greater ROI within the first two months of use, Botsify is a popular tool among many businesses that have no prior experience with AI chatbots. Their services are well-suited for education sites, sales, customer service, and HR departments looking to automate some of their functions.
Botsify allows users to create AI chatbots that can immediately greet visitors upon entering their site, and store user data for future contacts or upselling. Clients can establish a story tree that lays out chatbot responses to customers’ inquiries, and allow users to make any changes within the response tree as needed. Botsify can even implement bots on Facebook to reply to post comments if need be.
Botsify’s AIs can be integrated with Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and standard text messaging systems. The platform offers a live chat tool to allow users to monitor all chatbot conversations as they’re happening, and each bot can be optimized for over 190 different languages.
Botsify’s plans start at $49 a month or $490 a year for the personal plan, $149 a month or $1490 a year for the Professional Plan, and $499 a month or $4990 a year for the Business Plan. Each successive plan includes more user training tools, onboarding sessions, chat history storage, and more. Each plan also comes with a 14-day free trial to test out Botsify’s services.
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Botsify is a chatbot creation platform tailor-made for businesses looking to bolster their customer support team. The ability to customize story trees and monitory conversations on the fly are valuable tools for businesses trying to deliver the best possible online experience to customers through AIs. Though the price may be a little high for some, their third-party integration tools make it wholly worth it.
- Excellent set of tools to set up an effective customer service chatbot
- Real-time monitoring tool makes converting sales more efficient
- Diverse set of third-party integrations, including WordPress
- Price might be too high for some
- AI chatbot not as realistic as other platforms
Read our full Botsify review.
Bold360 is another AI chatbot creation platform that allows users to create AI-powered chat widgets for website live chats, messenger apps, and other mobile applications.
Bold360’s AI is well-versed in conversational functions that can be tweaked for businesses and support over 40 languages. Chatbots can also reference past responses within a user’s database during conversations for specific customers. Bold360 also offers reporting and analytics tools to track users’ AI performance.
Most AI chatbot solutions on the market require complex data analysis and months of implementation before you start seeing results. Bold360 uses Natural Language Understanding to start learning your customers' needs from the very first interaction. Its smart routing capability directs customers to the best resource available and captures data in an intuitive dashboard.
Bold360 covers all of the primary use cases of a chatbot. They have a suite of different solutions including,
- Ability to leverage databases to improve conversations is a huge plus
- Accessibility of over 40 languages makes this a versatile platform
- Live chat messaging and other customer service options can be a benefit for some inexperienced users
- Pricing is variable and requires getting a quote from the provider
Are chatbots worth the money?
This question depends on your company’s specific needs. If you’re constantly going through customer service employees and having to train them over and over again, investing in AI chatbots can alleviate much of those turnover costs.
However, the best chatbot systems require a decent amount of software development experience to really get them working the way you’d want. Although the drag and drop functions are perfectly functional and are still great options, companies trying to get more use out of their AI chatbots outside of simply greeting customers might have to spend more money.
What I like about AI chatbots
- Chatbots alleviate costs for companies looking to hire effective customer service employees.
- They’re usually highly customizable and can be tweaked for specific functionalities.
- Chatbots are known to increase conversions and help generate more leads and sales.
- They work 24/7, and outside of paying for the platform, they work for free.
What I don’t like about AI chatbots
- If you don’t have dedicated developers at your company, you might not be able to customize the chatbot you want, unless you pay for more expensive plans on these platforms.
- Customers might want to talk to a human representative when they need support, and if they get frustrated by poor AI, it may lead to negative reviews, brand distrust, and lost revenue.
Which chatbot should I choose?
AI chatbots differ greatly in the application and the software capabilities of your firm.
If you have a team of experienced software developers in your company, we recommend Pandorabots and using their platform to build a similar AI chatbot to Mitsuku. Their pedigree and overall list of services make them the best choice.
For companies inexperienced with building AI chatbots and don’t have anyone on their team that can handle those functions, we recommend more user-friendly platforms such as ChatBot that offers drag and drop functionalities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a software application. It is primarily used to drive an online chat conversation via automated text. This reduces the dependency on redundant human labor in effort to deliver organizations cost savings and consumers another form of support.
How do chatbots work?
A chatbot is programmed to work independently from a human operator. It can answer questions formulated to it in natural language and respond like a real person. It provides responses based on a combination of predefined scripts and machine learning applications to provide better conversations over time.
What are chatbots used for?
Many businesses use chatbots to improve or streamline customer service and to generate leads and sales. Chatbots are often deployed on websites to help customers locate information, answer questions, and direct users to a desired outcome.