The best AI chatbot platforms used well can dramatically change how your brand converts new customers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly and gaining traction with companies as they convert more traffic into customers.
Today most people use some form of messaging app like WhatsApp, Slack and Skype. In fact, Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion monthly users.
In addition to converting customers, AI chatbots in China, WeChat bots, already set medical appointments, call a taxi, send money to friends, check-in for a flight and have found many other uses. It is no wonder then that the size of the chatbot market is growing exponentially.
In fact, Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human.
According to a recent by Intercom study, business leaders saved an average of $300,000 in 2019 from their chatbots. Chatbots increased sales by an average of 67%, with 26% of all sales starting through a chatbot interaction.”
According to a study by Juniper Research, the technology is forecasted to drive $112 billion in retail sales by 2023.
What is a Chatbot
A Chatbot is a program built to simulate a conversation with a human while they are online. Other names for Chatbots include chatterbot, bot, IM bot, talkbot, interactive agent and Artificial Conversational Entity. Chatbots often are related to social media platforms and/or messenging platforms such as Facebook Messenger. The rise in Facebook messenger Chatbots is particularly important.
The Facebook messenger chatbots work and integrate with Facebook itself. That enables them to be data-rich and to target people.
Overall, Chatbots respond to conversations via text or auditory, although the text Chatbots are generally more popular. They are designed to interact like a human and have a natural flow as if you were talking to a real person. One of the reasons for the growth in Chatbots is that they work well in B2C sales, marketing and customer service applications. Here’s a very simple explanation about how chatbots work:
- The user enters a word or a statement.
- The system scans for keywords in the user’s statement.
- The system searches a database for a reply that contains the keywords.
- The system selects a response that contains the most matched keywords.
- The system sends this response to the user.
Chatbots come in two different types – one type works from a list of rules or commands, and the other type uses Artificial Intelligence. What’s the difference?
What is an AI Chatbot?
So what is an AI chatbot?
A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.Oxford dictionary
Essentially, an AI Chatbot is a virtual assistant that communicates with us through text messages.
Why does a business need chatbots? A lot of tasks are routine. That is they have common processes. In the case of ‘chatting’ with customers, you often find that the questions they ask are very similar. As you learn what these are and the best responses you can automate these tasks.
According to research, the main factors that motivate people to use chatbots are:
- Productivity. Chatbots provide assistance or access to information quickly and efficiently.
- Entertainment. Chatbots amuse people by giving them funny tips, they also help kill time when they have nothing to do.
- Social and relational factors. Chatbots fuel conversions and enhance customer experiences. Chatting with bots also helps to avoid loneliness, gives a chance to talk without being judged and improves conversational skills.
- Curiosity. The novelty of chatbots sparks curiosity. People want to explore their abilities and to try something new.
Why Use Chatbots?
Organisations use Chatbots to reduce time and costs. In other words, the cost of scaling Chatbots is small, but the cost of call-centres and employing people is high. Unlike people, Chatbots can analyse huge amounts of data to spot patterns and make improvements to customer interactions.
Other benefits are that customers get a far quicker response and that can be 24/7, which can improve customer satisfaction. Support agents focus on much more complex issues. Chatbots are not perfect though. They are still evolving. Nowadays most are programmed to handover to a live agent after a few cycles in case when they are unable to answer the customer.
In short: Chatbots reach your customers where they want to be reached. People are now spending more time on their messaging apps than their social media app. Adding a chatbot into the mix gives you another channel and distribution method to reach your audience.
The Best AI Chatbot: Benefits?
Most brands now are using some form of AI Chatbot in their daily operations and communications with customers. The best types of AI Chatbot can help you to:
- Improve customer service.
- Streamline the shopping process.
- Personalize communication.
- Improve response rates.
- Automate repetitive tasks.
- A Chatbot never sleeps – customers get 24/7 service.
- Customers don’t need to queue/wait.
The Best AI Chatbot: Scripted vs. AI
There are two kinds of chatbots: scripted bots and A.I. Chatbots.
A scripted chatbot essentially is a set of responses that are written by a person. By building decision trees that are triggered based on responses, scripted responses can deal with quite complex scenarios.
Scripts through are limited and can be flawed. In other words, you might find that some responses aren’t the answers that customers want or do not completely help customers.
AI Chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to recognise text. The intelligence basically means that they learn what responses are best and also identify gaps. The learning process continually refines and adapts to enhance and optimise the experience.
In terms of sales process then this means they optimise conversions.
How To Build An AI Chatbot
There are 4 main stages:
- Define the goals. What should your chatbot do? Clearly, indicate the list of functions your chatbot needs to perform.
- Choose a channel to interact with your customers. Be where your clients prefer to communicate — your website, mobile app, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or other messaging platforms.
- Choose the way of creation. There are two of them: using readymade chatbot software or building a custom bot from scratch.
- Create, customize and launch. Describe the algorithm of its actions, develop a database of answers and test the work of the chatbot. Double check everything before showing your creation to potential customers.
The Two Approaches
You have two choices in how you build a Chatbot:
- Create from scratch
- Use existing platforms
The 14 Best AI Chatbot Platforms
Chatbots offer a conversational experience using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to mimic conversation with real people.
Due to improvements in Natural Language Processing, Chatbots are shifting from command-driven towards more intelligent, conversational driven ‘Virtual Assistants’ much better at determining context and user intent.
These are some of the best AI driven Chatbot platforms that you can use today.
Platform #1. Landbot.io
Landbot is a chatbot tool that lets you create personalized conversational bots to interact with your prospective customers and generate leads. It offers a clean and easy to use drag-and-drop user interface which means you do not need to get into any coding. Other features include:
- Design flows, integrate with messenger apps and tools, test and analyze your chatbots without a single line of code.
- Embed into your website to create landing pages, form and popups.
- Qualify your leads during the course of conversations and trigger human agent takeover for the high-value prospects in real time.
- Customise and brand your chatbots.
Platform #2. TARS
Tars delivers a personalized landing page experience to potential customers who click on your PPC ads. Instead of having a static landing page, Tars provides allows you to start conversations. Not surprisingly this then results in a massive 50%+ increase in conversion rate.
Use Tars to create chatbots that provide relevant and contextual conversations. This reduces the time taken to close leads.
The platform has 450+ lead generation and qualification chatbot templates for all sorts of industries including mortgage, insurance, legal, healthcare, real estate, travel and more. Each one can be customised to your own brand.
Platform #3. Botsify
Botsify is a chatbot builder with a large library of pre-set templates that are incredibly easy to tailor to your own business. Botsify allows you to design a sequence of interactions that deliver a natural flow of responses. This can be focused on sales or equally on customer service.
It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop UI which is powered by AI and machine learning. You can also seamlessly transfer the conversation from a bot to a human agent to optimise conversions for high-value opportunities.
The platform also introduces conversation forms which collect information about your leads through chatbot conversations. Additionally, Botsify offers multiple plugins to help you integrate it with your RSS Feed, Google Sheets, Shopify store, or Google search.
Platform #4. Chatfuel
Chatfuel’s mission is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to build their own chatbot. You can easily create a Facebook bot in 7 minutes without any technical knowledge.
In other words, it’s straightforward to add and edit the content as well as set up conversational rules in the dashboard. Furthermore, the chatbot will recognize similar phrases from users and add these to your chatbot.
Famous brands such as Adidas, BuzzFeed, TechCrunch, MTV, British Airways, Volkswagen, Uber use Chatfuel for their Facebook Messenger chatbots.
Platform #5. Mobilemonkey
MobileMonkey allows you to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot in minutes with no coding experience required, enabling automated mobile messaging between businesses and their customers.
The training process requires you to review and answer a few questions every couple of days. This helps your chatbot to learn to ask and answer any question about your business.
Platform #6. FlowXO
Flow XO enables you to create chatbots without having to learn any coding. The easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor lets you create logical workflows. Once finished, you can connect your chatbot to a platform of your choice.
Flow XO integrates with a large number of third-party applications. You can create bots that integrate with services like Salesforce, Google Sheets, Twitter, Zendesk and many others. Their hosting and management features make it one of the best AI chatbot platforms.
Platform #7. ManyChat
ManyChat is focused on businesses that sell products online. In other words, eCommerce store owners who want to maximise the sales of their products at the time when potential buyers are reviewing them.
Their chatbot developer tool helps you to install their FB Messenger bot quickly and easily. It also provides you with a set of tools to help you grow your Messenger audience as well as broadcast your messages effectively. You can automate your Messenger marketing and send messages based on time delays or based on triggers that are set in motion based on user behaviour.
Platform #8. OctaneAI
With this platform, you can engage with your clients in different social profiles. Octane.ai has predefined features that simplify adding content, messages, discussions, etc. to your chatbot.
Also, they have a revenue dashboard that lets you launch different campaigns, see how much revenue you’ve earned and to analyze customer behavior. Octane.ai provides cool targeting opportunities. That means you can create customer lists and target your messages based on location, new customers, spending and conversation history.
Platform #9. ItsAlive
ItsAlive is one of the best AI chatbots for Facebook Messenger. It enables you to engage with your Facebook community 24×7 with automated content.
It deals with regular inquiries by recognizing watchwords in Facebook Messenger. As a result, you can handle more conversations and frequently asked questions directly through the chatbots by detecting keywords in Facebook Messenger. However, if needed it can seamlessly hand over the conversation to a human agent.
Platform #10. Pandorabots
Pandorabots is one of the open source chatbot building platforms with a huge community. It’s full of very a variety of features tools to help you create, launch and develop a chatbot. The platform is unique because it not only offers a wide range of services from DIY solutions but also offers full turnkey chatbot development.
Platform #11. Replay.AI
Reply is an enterprise level bot-building and management platform. Not only does provide a scalable set of solutions but it also has a full set of features that you would expect.
Their visual bot builder makes it easy to build bots. The dashboard has built-in CRM, machine learning, and real-time insights to make smarter and faster bots. Moreover, you can extend bot functionalities across the whole customer experience. Their visual bot developer makes it simple to create bots. The AI and machine learning continuous learn through customer experiences and then improve bots.
Platform #12. Xenioo
Xenioo is an easy-to-use chatbot-creation platform that does not require any coding. You can quickly create and publish intelligent chatbots for your website or use it across other channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, Amazon, and more.
Furthermore, the chatbots are capable of understanding and responding to complex, multi-lingual expressions with the help of the platform’s in-built NLP engine. It even has a training module that lets you train the chatbots by creating intents and expressions.
Platform #13. Aivo
This platform was created for Latin America, so it’s available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. It leverages Avio’s proprietary natural language processing technology.
Aivo powers your client support with the assistance of AI bots. It causes you to react progressively with content or voice. You can streamline your assets and increment transformations. Aivo’s Agentbot comprehends the standards of each channel and adjusts naturally to respond. You can give your clients a customized involvement. It can coordinate effectively with outsider mixes like Salesforce, Zendesk, WhatsApp, and so on.
Aivo collects customer data for customized solutions and has enough memory to deliver coherence during long conversations. The platform integrates with any CRM, human chat or a third-party app.
Platform #14. Imperson
This platform develops enterprise chatbots that support text, audio, video, AR, and VR on all major messaging platforms. Their conversational bots provide authentic and engaging customer chat experiences.
The conversation navigator uses relationship memory, NLP user intents, and deep dialogue context to lead conversations. And the AI moderator helps to achieve customers’ goals. Imperson provides an end-to-end bot solution by hosting and deploying your bot and providing real-time insights to improve its performance.
Choosing the Best AI Chatbot
There is a wide variety of capabilities and features in Chatbot platforms. Below are some of the main characteristics that you should take into account when choosing the right platform for your business.
- Intent Recognition. The ability to“guess” what the user is requesting, even if the phrase changes unexpectedly. Good intent recognition is vital if you don’t want to annoy your users.
- Dialogue Management. The Chatbot can manage complex and meaningful conversations with the user.
- Reporting & Monitoring. Are your customers being helped? Are they happy? Does your contact centre get fewer calls? Choose a Chatbot platform that gives you the key metrics that relate to your business goals.
- Natural language processing. Natural language processing (NLP) is the artificial intelligence engine that powers your chatbot’s language.
- Humanization. Users become more engaged in the conversation if a Chatbot acts more humanlike. Some Chatbots are able to detect and show emotions.
- Machine learning(ML). ML improves your chatbot’s effectiveness and makes your data work harder for you. Can your Chatbot deliver insights?
- Sentiment analysis. Do you need to be able to identify and categorise your users’ sentiment throughout their interactions with your chatbot? Do you need to keep a pulse on your user mindset?
- Human fallback. Prevent users from getting stuck in infinite conversational loops. After a series of failures, your chatbot steps aside and lets a human take over.
- Exit feature. Always offer your chatbot users a way to skip the ‘robotalk’ and get to a human, in one click of a button.
- Frequently asked questions. Do you need to give your users FAQs to make it easier for them?
- Channel(s). Choose a platform that connects easily with your webchat, app, social media platform or voice interface.
- Integrations. Does your Chatbot need to perform tasks for users? Make sure it has enough dialogue capabilities and that it can connect to your back-end systems.
Summary of Best AI Chatbot Platforms
By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017Gartner
Chatbots are a clear signal that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is beyond just the hype. You will see more and more businesses adopt chatbots with self-learning capabilities that interact with humans in a more natural way.
AI will become more sophisticated and accurate and consequently AI chatbots will become more robust and used for a wider range of applications.
There are still hurdles to overcome with improvements in natural language understanding needed to produce a more natural flow. However,
with high levels of investment and research going into AI, these capabilities are not that far away.