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Customer experience and maximum customer satisfaction are two important factors that defines the success of a business, and chatbot platforms are one way these factors are upheld.
Being more advanced than a live chat, chatbots addresses your customer’s queries instantly across all channels with no human support agent.
Due to these impeccable benefits, chatbots have become a necessity for businesses that want to offer top notch customer service.
So, if you are searching which chatbot platform is best, then it’s your lucky day as this article lists the top 10 chatbot platforms you can use.
But first, let’s consider what it takes to build a chatbot.
Building a Chatbot
Before you can build a bot, there are several things you should consider. There are several aspect of building a chatbot which includes the strategy, conversational flow, technology, process, reporting, and lots more.
Hence, before you start building a chatbot, you need to identify;
- What problem are you trying to solve? This becomes your use case.
- How much time are you/your team currently spending on this problem? This helps you define your ROI later.
- Could you automate 100% of the process with a bot, or do you need human intervention? This helps you identify if you need the platform to have a chatbot to human handover functionality.
- Do you need the chatbot to push/pull data from a 3rd party system? This will help you narrow down to platforms with ready integrations.
- What platform will your chatbot reside on?
- What server setup will your bot run?
By properly assessing your processes, understanding your business goals, the objectives of the chatbot and designing the chatbot conversations to flow seamlessly, you’d make a better bot decision.
Types of Bots
There are three main types of bots that you can build. They include:
#1. Rule-Based Chatbots
Rule-based bots work on a predefined conversation flow that allows the bot to flow logically based on the user’s inputs/choices.
The user can navigate through the conversation by clicking buttons, menus ,carousels ad answering questions.
Generally, rule-based bots are easier to build, and are more comfortable for users to navigate through. Users can’t ask the bot direct questions, but can enter their details when the bot requests for it.
#2. AI Chatbots
AI Chatbots make use of natural human language processing to understand sentence structure and provide relative answers while improving at answering the question at hand over time.
Likewise, you can say that AI chatbots first understand the intent of the question and then provide a relevant and contextual answer instead of relying on a predetermined text given by a human.
#3. Hybrid Chatbots
As the name implies, the hybrid consists of the best rule-based and AI chatbot with live chat functionality to provide a good customer experience.
Generally, to build a chat bot, you’d need to
- Determine the exact tone and personality of the chatbot based on your respective business and reason for use.
- Include a human element in the chatbot to ensure comfortable and fluent conversations.
- The scripting data you use should reflect your target audience as the conversation design’s success will largely depend on the context and user intent.
Top 10 Chatbot Platforms
With a lot of chatbot platforms available out there, we’ve narrowed the list to ten of the best.
Below are the top 10 chatbot platforms in 2021 in no particular order.
Beginning my list of the best chatbot platforms this year is WotNot. This platform helps you build intelligent chatbots, and offer full range of conversational marketing solutions for over 10 industries.
With its no-code chatbot builder, you can easily build bots using the drag and drop interface from scratch or choose from any of their existing templates.
More so, WotNot offers the best of both a chatbot and a live chat tool to aid support, with human intervention required.
- The chatbot conversations are saved in the backend, and the transcripts can be emailed to the sales and support team in real time.
- Has a no-code bot builder that enables you to build bots immediately with an easy drag and drop interface.
- The chatbot to human handover feature allows a human to join the conversation when needed.
- Unlimited conversations and messages
- It supports multiple channels from websites, Messenger, SMS to Mobile apps, Whatsapp
- Offers seamless integrations with Salesforce, Shopify, Zoho, WordPress, Slack, Dialogflow, IBM Watson and many more
- The bot has a limit of up to 10 bots/account
WotNot offers a 14-day free trial for first-time users to explore the platform. Afterward, it offers a pricing plan with access to all its features at $99/month or $949 per year.
Lobster is an AI chatbot platform created by EBI AI for B2C enterprises to deliver instant, engaging, and personalized customer experiences.
By using lobster, you can deploy your assistant to multiple channels, including smart home devices, mobile apps, messenger apps, etc.
- It is NLP agnostic
- Offers flexible integration framework.
- Provides detailed reporting & analytics
- It is available across multiple platforms.
- Has a dedicated account manager
- Branding options
- Regular retraining for AI-based assistants
- An introductory workshop to select the best AI use cases for your assistant
- Expensive for small businesses
- There’s no free plan available.
The pricing structure varies according to business requirements. Hence, for the pricing specific to your business requirements, get in touch with the EBI.AI team.
Intercom has long been providing a range of products in the customer support space. They provide custom chatbots for use in areas around sales, marketing, and customer support.
In addition, these chatbots can be integrated with e-commerce and social platforms, with live chat options.
- Allows you to build a bot without coding
- Proactively engage with every qualified lead by starting conversations using advanced targeting
- Offers high-quality, personalized help at scale
- You can integrate conversations from social media
- Its complex UI makes it difficult to build a bot
- Doesn’t offer a free version
Intercom offers pricing plan starting from $499/month which includes 10 seats. If you have high volume of conversations, you’d be required to pay more.
Smart loop allows you to build intelligent AI-powered chatbots that can help generate high-quality leads and nurture them.
You can have one-to-one conversations with your customers to share engaging content and improve your retention rate.
- Provides detailed analytics
- Offers AI + human agent capabilities
- Point-and-click chatbot builder
- Offers free plan
- The chatbots can be built for multiple platforms
- It is very easy to build the chatbot
- You’d have to opt for custom pricing if you have above 50k subscribers.
Smartloop offers free plans while its premium plan costs about $10 per month.
#5. Drift Chatbot
Drift chatbot primarily started off in the live chat space before it got into chatbots recently. They offer bots that are more specific to booking meetings for the sales team.
The bot facilitates conversations with leads and qualifies websites visiors without using any forms.
- Its chatbot and live chat system goes hand in hand
- It engages people immediately on the website – increasing the chances for them to share their contact.
- The bot answers questions quickly with drift automation
- Allows for a wide range of integrations
- Allows for real-time conversations
- The model plan is expensive
- The mobile app does not clarify conversations through push notifications
Drift chatbot offers a free pricing plan that covers the live chat. However, the paid plan starts at $400/month (billed annually) which covers chatbot and live chat.
Botsify is a popular online AI chatbot platform that helps you create intelligent chatbots for your website, as well as other messaging channels like Slack, without spending time coding.
- Allows you to build chatbots for multiple platforms
- Allows humans to takeover at some point
- Conversations flow seamlessly
- Operates conversational forms using conversational AI
- Integrates with checkbox plugin
- Has a bird’s eye view of the flow
- New users may take some time to get used to the interface.
Botsify offers a free demo and 14-day free trial. While other plans start at $50/month for a self serviced plan, and $300/month for fully managed plan.
LivePerson is an excellent chatbot platform that allows you to comfortably build, use and optimize AI-powered chatbots.
One of the highlights of this platform is that it enables you to leverage advanced analytics for continuous optimization.
- It is intuitive for users and new employees
- Allows you to develop custom pre-written statements to send in chat
- Its other features like hyperlinks, canned responses,a etc aid in offering a seamless customer experience.
- Very easy to use
- Has convenient and rich live chat features
- Allows for flexible communication
- Doesn’t offer any free trial
- There are challenges in reporting
- The program becomes slow when there is a lot of data.
The pricing structure for LivePerson is dependent on the scope of automation and how extensive the messaging channels are. You can book a demo to get more information about pricing.
Aivo is one of the popular AI chatbot platforms that powers your customer support and helps you respond i real-time through text or voice.
With its interactive chatbot, you can transform your customer support to another level. In addition, their software solution helps to increase conversions and optimize your resources.
With Aivo you can make your responses uniform across all channels.
- Allows you to build a chatbot without any coding
- Offers detailed analytics through the business intelligence tool.
- Provides customer service in over 50 languages.
- Makes it easy to create ads
- Helps you to gather unanswered questions to aid in developing the bot
- Can easily integrate with other third-party services like Zendesk, Salesforce, Zapier, and lots more.
- There’s no free version available
Aivo offers a free demo but to get the prices for other features, you’d have to contact the team.
#9. Octane AI
Octane AI is an AI chatbot platform that is mainly used if you want to integrate a chatbot with a Shopify store via Facebook Messenger.
The platform allows you to answer your customer questions automatically, send receipts, shipping information, and help customers find desired products.
- Automated workflows and easy FAQs handling
- Quick-start templates, surveys, and notifications, along with voice, image, and video support.
- Analytics interface to get into the most important aspects of customer behavior
- The platform allows for multiple integrations in addition to Slack, Nexmo, Facebook, and Paypal
- Provides notification support for abandoned cart and shipping information.
- Limited to Messenger only
- It has complex interface and is difficult to get used to.
Octane AI offers 14-day free trial. Plans start at $9/month (basic) and at $209/month (pro).
#10. Flow XO
Rounding up my list of top chatbot platforms is Flow XO. This platform is ideal if you’re looking to build bots without any kind of coding.
You can build and deploy bots across multiple platforms, and integrate them into other 3rd party platforms.
- Drag and drop editor
- Integration with lots of 3rd party tools
- Multi channel support
- No technical expertise needed
- Offers free trial
- Lacks a good technical documentation
Flow XO offers a free version that is limited to just 500 interactions. Alternatively, you can sign up for the paid plan at $19/month (5000 interactions) or $25/month for 25,000 additional interactions.
There you have it! A comprehensive list of the top chatbot platforms to use. Go through the list and find which one best suits you.
All the best!