Also see: What is Artificial Intelligence
From healthcare to retail to entertainment and everywhere in between, more and more businesses are turning to AI chatbots to fill customer service roles.
Grand View Research values the global chatbot market at $525.7 million in 2021 and expects it to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.7% from 2022 to 2030. With a market this large and only growing, it can be difficult for businesses looking to find the right chatbot solution for them.
Dozens of chatbot services and platforms are on the market, but we’ve gone through and found some of the top AI chatbots to give companies a head start on finding the right chatbot for them.
- Why Use Chatbots?
- Challenges of Using Chatbots in Customer-Facing Roles
- How to Select the Right Chatbot for Your Business
- Zendesk Answer Bot
- IBM Watson Assistant
- Salesforce Einstein
Why Use Chatbots?
There are a few reasons for chatbots’ rise in prominence. First, it’s a cost-saving measure, as businesses won’t need to hire and train as many employees if they can simply automate the processes those employees would work in. It also allows businesses to collect data from customers in real-time to identify their preferences and pain points.
Also, chatbots are scalable, allowing expanding companies to more easily handle an increased load on their customer support infrastructure and other processes. This can let businesses maintain satisfactory service without breaking the bank.
Challenges of Using Chatbots in Customer-Facing Roles
There are, however, some concerns to note before using chatbots in customer-facing roles. According to a study on automation in the workplace by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, automation works best in roles with predictable, repetitive tasks with as little variation as possible.
This preference for predictable work is why AI can be great for things like transaction processing or employee onboarding, where it can stick to a script as much as possible. While this can generally be true for customer-facing roles, human interaction is an unpredictable process, and a number of issues can crop up.
If, for example, a customer doesn’t phrase their issue correctly or has a unique problem, chatbots can’t really do much beyond route the customer to a human employee, more or less acting as another frustrating barrier for your customers to get the help they need.
Additionally, AI isn’t ready to read emotions through a text chat or a voice call yet, and the robotic nature of the responses can feel cold and impersonal to those who interact with it. In a customer support role where the people making contact are likely to be frustrated, angry, or anxious, this can lead to those negative emotions heightening and worsening their overall experience and potentially the experience of your human customer support staff.
When selecting a chatbot solution, it’s best to make sure this sort of automation is what your business needs to provide excellent service to your customers while freeing up your employees from more repetitive work.
Also see: Top AI Software
How to Select the Right Chatbot for Your Business
There are a few key features to look for and steps to take when selecting the right chatbot for your business. First, identify what problem or role in the organization this chatbot will serve. Like any employee, a chatbot works best when its managers can put it in the best position for success.
Second, make sure the chatbot can integrate natural language processing (NLP) and speech support into its models. The bot will likely be in a customer-facing role, and if it can’t properly learn how humans communicate and how to respond to that communication, it won’t be an effective member of the organization.
Finally, make sure the chatbot is deployable on every platform you’ll need it to deploy on. If you settle on a chatbot for your website, it’s best to also optimize it for other online platforms like mobile apps, social media, and voice channels. If you end up using different chatbots for each platform, this can muddy your brand’s customer-facing voice and make it more difficult to provide a consistent customer experience across all available channels.
Also see: The Future of Artificial Intelligence
Top AI Chatbots 2022
Zendesk Answer Bot
Zendesk’s suite of customer support tools and platforms can be bolstered by its Answer Bot. Answer Bot is a customer support chatbot designed to handle simple low-priority tickets, freeing up human employees to handle higher-priority, more complex tickets.
However, even for chatbots, Answer Bot can be a little rudimentary. It can suggest articles for customers to browse based on its available content library, but these suggestions might not be the most accurate response. More than anything, Answer Bot is a way to take a couple of tickets off of customer support staff’s hands.
If Zendesk’s own chatbot isn’t the perfect fit, the platform’s marketplace also boasts a number of partner integrations from developers like Ibenta, Certainly, Zowie, and Haptik.
Because of its native integration to popular customer support software like Zendesk, Answer Bot is the best fit for companies that already use Zendesk products and are looking to offload a few low-priority customer support tickets from human staff.
One of the most enticing aspects of Tidio is its no-code development feature. With Tidio, users can create and train chatbots without the need of extensive coding knowledge. It accomplishes this through templates and a drag-and-drop builder tool, optimized for ease of use.
Once deployed, the chatbots can be programmed with prewritten answers to customer questions to ensure customers get the help they need more quickly.
For helping customers purchase products and services, Tidio can offer product recommendations and even give prospective customers personalized discounts. If they’re interested, they can immediately place and order through the chatbot, as well.
Overall, Tidio is best for companies looking to develop custom AI without much coding expertise required.
Read More At: The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
Geared for businesses using Salesforce, Qualified’s chatbot, live chat, and conversational marketing platform is perfect for B2B marketing teams and brands looking to increase sales conversions through their website.
Through Qualified, multiple developers can program and code their chatbots at the same time, allowing client companies to create and deploy multiple chatbots simultaneously. These chatbots can provide 24/7 support and marketing. Interested customers can even schedule meetings with human staff through the chatbot.
When the time is right to move on from a chatbot to a human marketing team, the platform provides a smooth transition to screen-sharing and live chat between prospective customers and human employees.
The service isn’t entirely perfect, however. Its user interface (UI) can be a bit unwieldy to use at first, and its pricing model is fairly steep, with the lowest tier being $3,000 per month. This makes Qualified a better choice for midsize to enterprise-level organizations. It might be too expensive for smaller businesses.
Another customer support-focused chatbot provider, Netomi’s platform provides natural language understanding (NLU) support to over 100 languages to help companies worldwide resolve customer inquiries more efficiently.
A key feature of Netomi’s chatbot is that it’s designed for scalability and unexpected activity spikes. This makes the platform excellent for organizations that are in the process of expanding or that might experience sudden spikes in customer support requests, such as a software company when it puts out a new update.
The platform’s real-time analytics and knowledge-base integration help make sure the chatbots are choosing the best possible response they can. On top of that, the bot can be deployed across multiple channels, including email, voice chat, and social media.
When it’s time to switch over to human interaction, Netomi’s integrations with platforms like Shopify, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Freshworks make the process easier than it might be otherwise.
Overall, Netomi is the best fit for an expanding business looking for scalable chatbot solutions.
IBM Watson Assistant
One of the titans in the world of AI, IBM’s Watson Assistant platform allows clients to build, develop, and deploy AI chatbots best-suited to their specific needs. The development process is designed for speedy deployment and ease of use, meaning that users will hopefully see faster returns on their investments.
By utilizing collected data from customer conversations, Watson Assistant chatbots can better learn how to resolve customer support tickets on the first try, making the customer support process less stressful and time-consuming for customers.
That said, Watson Assistant offers fewer integrations than some of its competitors, making it a less-optimal choice for those looking to holistically improve their customer support infrastructure. It’s also priced more for enterprise-level clients, meaning that smaller businesses might want to look elsewhere.
Read More At: How to Train Your Chatbot to Be a Recruiting Machine
A sales outreach platform, MobileMonkey aims to provide affordable chatbots and sales automation solutions to startups and small businesses. Chatbot setup and implementation is easy to perform, and chat responses are customizable, ensuring that prospective customers are getting responses geared toward converting chats into sales.
While affordable, MobileMonkey’s integration offerings are a little shallow. Users can deploy chatbots to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, email, website chat, and SMS, but users looking for other social media integrations should look elsewhere.
There is also a significant lack of native integration with other SaaS platforms, making it less than ideal for companies trying to sync up data gathered across multiple platforms and departments.
Overall, MobileMonkey is best for small businesses and startups with strong social media presences looking for a cheap AI chatbot solution to capitalize on that presence.
Built for Facebook Messenger, ManyChat allows organizations to more efficiently tap into that market of nearly 3 billion users, according to Statista. This simple chatbot can book appointments, sell products, update customers on their orders, and offer discounts or coupons among other functions.
ManyChat boasts a number of industry-specialized templates with which users can drag-and-drop to create chatbots with features and knowledge bases to suit their needs. Through this, businesses can launch new chatbots in a matter of minutes, with little to no coding required.
These bots can also be integrated with over 1,500 apps, including Shopify, Google Sheets, Zapier, and Stripe.
ManyChat is an excellent fit for companies looking to leverage Facebook Messenger to potentially boost sales and revenue.
Using NLP, Imperson’s AI chatbots are designed to read and react to user intent in an attempt to create a more authentic customer experience than other chatbots. These bots can be deployed for a number of functions, such as customer service, marketing, lead generation, sales, and multiplatform engagement.
The firm’s dashboard analytics can also help businesses generate more value and customer engagement from their chatbots by helping companies figure out the best responses to generate sales.
Imperson is a great fit for enterprise-level organizations looking to boost customer engagement through AI chatbots.
Salesforce offers one of the best CRM platforms on the market, and one of the key reasons for this is the mind-boggling number of integrations available on the platform. Through integrations, businesses can connect a variety of disparate platforms across the entire organization.
One of these integrations is Salesforce’s own Einstein, an AI chatbot solution which can seamlessly work with the entirety of Salesforce’s product offerings. This chatbot can then leverage the data and knowledge base to become a top-flight solution for sales, marketing, commerce, human resources, and so much more.
The main drawback of the bot is that using it requires the Salesforce Service Cloud, meaning it’s not practical for organizations that use any other cloud service provider.
Inbenta’s AI chatbots utilize companies’ preexisting FAQs (frequently asked questions) and knowledge bases to offer customers a powerful 24/7 chat solution. Leveraging company knowledge bases allow Inbenta chatbots to more quickly provide customers with the answers and support they need.
The bots can be launched on company websites and social media alike and boasts a number of integrations, including Zendesk, Salesforce Desk, and Service Cloud. These integrations allow businesses to deploy chatbots as quickly as possible, without needing developers to spend months matching tags and writing answers to questions.
Overall, Inbenta is best for companies looking to link their established knowledge bases with an AI chatbot for 24/7 support.
Also see: The History of Artificial Intelligence