Customer experience is a game-changer for businesses. Positive customer experience helps you retain customers and build brand loyalty. It can also help you in customer acquisition; when your loyal fans tell their stories about how well they’ve been treated by your brand, they can entice other people to try out your products.
Providing a positive customer experience means being able to be there when your customers need you the most. Although there is still no substitute for your employees helping out customers, keeping them awake 24/7 to ensure your customers’ demands are met is just not feasible. Hiring additional customer service agents to do the job is usually costly, too, with the additional salaries you’d need to pay, and the costs associated with training and infrastructure you’d have to shoulder.
This is where chatbots can help you.
What are Chatbots?
In a nutshell, chatbots are AI-based computer programs that simulate human conversations. They interpret, process human requests, and give prompt replies. They can do this by matching patterns, converting text into data to understand the human language, and converting the text or speech inputs of the user into structured data.
In other words, with chatbots, you can be assured your customers are taken care of when your agents are away. But which one should you get? In this article, we’ve compiled 15 of the best chatbot software in the market. Here’s an executive summary:
|Software||Starting From||Best Thing About It||Biggest Problem|
|Tidio||$18 a month||Great free version||Mobile app can be improved|
|TARS||$99 a month||Can be integrated with Google Analytics||Expensive|
|ManyChat||$10 a month||Cheap||Limited features|
|Tawk.to||Free||Free||Limited chatbot responses|
|Pandorabots||$19 a month||Human-like chatbots (Mitsuku)||No Machine Learning tools|
|Smartloop||$10 a month||Pay as you grow setup||Sometimes out-of-place responses|
|Zendesk||Per-resolution basis||Answer bot is ready to go||Only select Zendesk users can use Answer bot|
|Botsify||$49 a month||Ability to save users’ responses into a form||Interface not too intuitive|
|Intercom||$499 a month||With reporting suite to track statistics and customer satisfaction||Expensive|
|Collect.chat||$24 a month||Very easy to use||Collect.chat branding can be removed only in expensive plans|
|FlowXO||$10 a month||Flexible plans||Requires third-party integrations to build complex bots|
|Chatfuel||$15 a month||Cheapest paid plan comes with full-featured bot||Limited templates|
|POP||Not disclosed||Free up to 100 conversations||Automatic upgrading to paid plan beyond 100 subscribers|
|Ada||Not disclosed||Chatbot with personalized touch||Longer time to set up|
|Landbot||30 euros a month||Free plans allow for human takeover||Chatbots speak/understand only English|
Let’s dive in!
Tidio is an all-in-one chat solution for businesses. Apart from chatbots, you can make use of live chat software to engage your customers and capture leads. You can reply to customers or leads in a matter of seconds also using Messenger and email.
With its advanced Natural Language Processing technology that allows it to understand and interpret human language, Tidio can also save abandoned carts, offer discounts, and answer complex queries. All these it can do even when you’re offline.
Setting up is easy, too. You can either use a ready-made template or build your own chatbot. The ready-made templates cover the most common scenarios. There’s a template for messaging visitors who leave, another for visitors who return, and a template for handling returns, among others. If you opt to build your own chatbot, you can create a list of quick replies for each scenario you can think of.
In terms of integration, Tidio does this seamlessly with popular eCommerce platforms including BigCommerce, and Magento. Its Mobile app is also great, although it needs some improvements to match the web interface functionality.
Tidio has a free plan that includes essential live chat, chatbot, and mailing features for small and micro businesses. It has almost all the features you need: It covers up to three chat operators, and allows for 500 emails per month and up to 100 unique visitors, among others.
Regular paid plans start at $18 a month. Tidio also offers a professional plan for bigger businesses. You need to get a customized quote for this.
With TARS, you can create chatbots not only for your website but also for your WhatsApp account. If you opt for the second option, though, you need to get additional software, Twilio, which means that would entail higher costs. Sending a WhatsApp message via Twilio, after all, costs $0.0135 per message.
The good thing is, TARS can be integrated with Google Analytics, which means you can analyze key data to help you make informed decisions for your business. It also integrates well with Facebook Pixel and AdWords so you can measure the ROI of your campaigns.
TARS offers multiple chatbot templates for common scenarios. Setting up your chatbot is easy, too. TARS makes use of a visual flow builder that’s very intuitive. There are step-by-step popups that guide you every step of the way. You also get a chatbot preview, which is great for checking for errors before the chatbot is deployed to your website.
TARS offers three paid packages–professional, business and enterprise. The professional plan, which allows for five chatbots and 1000 chats per month, costs $99 a month. The business plan costs $499 a month, and gives you ten chatbots and up to 5000 chats per month. For the enterprise plan, which gives you over 50,000 chats per month and more than 20 chatbots, you’re given a customized quote. You can opt to pay annually, too.
You can create your own chatbot using ManyChat even without knowledge of coding. The chatbots can be used on Facebook Messenger or via SMS, but this last one is limited only to the Pro plan and can be used only in specific countries.
ManyChat offers templates for your chatbots which you can install from the ManyChat website. You can find templates for industries ranging from real estate to health and beauty. Don’t expect too many templates, though. You can get only a maximum of nine templates, and that even depends on the industry.
To create your own chat flow, you can use either the basic or the flow builder. The flow builder is more flexible, and provides you with a thorough view of interactions with users. By and large, ManyChat is easy to use with its drag-and-drop interface.
ManyChat offers a free plan for businesses new to bots. Although you can have unlimited subscribers with the plan, the features are quite limited. The pro plan costs $10 a month and includes A/B testing, an email marketing feature, among others, for 500 subscribers. The more subscribers you have under the pro plan, the more you’d have to pay. For 25,000 subscribers, for example, you’d have to pay $145 a month.
Tawk.to is a live-chat platform that’s completely free.
Tawk.to generates its revenues by providing hired agent support services. For each professionally trained customer service agent, you’d need to pay $1 for every hour of work. That’s quite affordable even for small businesses. It gives the business some leeway, too. If you want the agent to work for only a few hours to cut down on expenses, you can do that.
If the agent is away, you can manually set triggers for the chatbot to do the talking for you. The possible responses, however, are very limited compared to other chatbot software.
Even if the Tawk.to platform is completely free, though, it is jampacked with features. You can monitor your website visitors in real-time, and answer chats from your mobile device. You can also respond quickly with pre-defined shortcuts.
Pandorabots allows you to build AI-powered chatbots for use in your website, mobile applications, and other messaging apps like Slack, LINE, Telegram and WhatsApp. Pandorabots is responsible for award-winning chatbots: There’s Alice, which partly inspired the movie “Her,” and then Mitsuku, a five-time Loebner Prize winner because of its ability to pass the Turing test. In other words, when you talk to Mitsuku, it’s like you’re talking to a human.
The Pandorabots chatbot framework is based on Artificial Intelligence Markup Language, which is used by developers to create bots. It, however, doesn’t include machine learning tools. This means you’d have to build most of the intelligence in the chatbot yourself, and that can be a long process. The good thing is, Pandorabots comes with libraries of predefined content you can use.
Pandorabots offers a free version, although that is limited to the development sandbox (with unlimited messages). The developer plan costs $19 a month and includes, among others, a chat widget and a landing page. The pro plan costs $199 a month, and comes with email, chat and phone support. You can try out both the pro and developer plans for free for two weeks. The Mitsuku module is offered in the enterprise plan. For this, you’re given a custom quote.
Smartloop is great for creating chatbots that can do the basic things like qualify leads and book appointments. The chatbots screen the more complex queries based on their nature, and send them to the concerned agents. In other words, rather than work on their own, Smartloop chatbots work in tandem with human agents, who are still more qualified to address more complex problems.
It’s easy to create conversations with Smartloop with its point-and-click conversation builder. Users don’t need to have prior knowledge of coding to do this. Creating an entire conversation for Viber, the web, and Facebook can take only minutes.
Besides, Smartloop chatbots use Machine Learning to understand the context in which queries are made. This means they become smarter each day, as they learn from their previous experiences (although some users have complained of out-of-place responses). There are also templates you can use for common situations.
Smartloop offers a free plan that allows for up to 100 subscribers. The premium plan starts at $10 a month for 1000 subscribers. As you grow, you have to pay more. Non-profits are given discounts. The premium plan also comes with a 14-day free trial.
Zendesk combines AI chatbot technology with live chat software to deliver what it calls a seamless customer experience. Unlike other software that allows users to create their own chatbots, Zendesk has a built-in Answer bot that can answer customers’ questions.
If activated by Zendesk live-chat software users, they get a 30-day unlimited trial. These users need to have a Guide Professional or Enterprise plan, and an Answer bot add-on for this to work. After the trial, Answer Bot is billed as a monthly subscription for a package of available resolutions. What you pay depends on the size and scope of how you implement the bot.
Answer bot is multilingual, and uses machine learning and deep learning to answer customers’ questions with content from your knowledge base. All you need to do is specify which support issues you’d like it to respond to, and it will get to work. If the customer still needs help, that question is sent to an agent.
Botsify is a great tool for non-technical users. You don’t need to have knowledge of coding to create your own chatbot. You can also use pre-built-in templates for your chatbot, which are arranged according to the industry on the Botsify website.
Some users, however, complain that the user interface is not as intuitive. Different parts of the bot, after all, are hidden behind different menus. Creating your own chatbot can take quite a while then, since you have to move from one menu to the other rather than go to one place and still get access to all of the bot’s parts.
One of Botsify’s standout features is its chatbots’ ability to transfer the users’ responses into a form. Responses can easily be exported to CSV through the web interface. This is a great feature, since it saves you the time you’d have to spend manually transferring your customers’ responses to a spreadsheet for your reference.
With Botsify, you can also broadcast messages to all your subscribers. This is also a time-saving feature, since all you’d need to do is craft one message, and send it en masse. No need to create one message for each subscriber manually.
Botsify gives you a 14-day free trial. Its prepaid plans start at $49 a month, with its personal plan that gives you two active chatbots. The professional plan which allows for five active chatbots costs $149 a month. The business plan is priced at $499 a month for 20 active chatbots. Botsify also offers a custom plan for enterprises with high usage and on-premises solutions.
Intercom is a robust conversational support platform that allows businesses to respond to customers and potential customers in every step of the funnel. The company offers chatbots as part of its products. The chatbots can work 24/7 if they are live on the site.
The chatbots can act as extensions of your sales and support teams since they can ask questions and start conversations. They can even send useful articles. Once the queries become complicated, these are sent to the concerned teams so they can be acted on.
The chatbot platform includes a reporting suite to track statistics such as response times, conversations per agent, and customer satisfaction. Conversations, however, are not as organized. If a customer needs to go back to an exchange, it’s lost in a sea of conversation that shows only the agent they spoke with and the last sentence.
Intercom’s paid plans start at $49 a month, but the custom bots are offered only in the accelerate and scale plans. The accelerate plan costs $499 a month, and comes with multiple team inboxes, ticketing workflows, among others. The scale plan is for big enterprises and costs $999 a month.
Collect.chat allows you to create your own chatbot using a drag-and-drop visual builder. This makes the platform very easy-to-use; there’s almost no learning curve.
If you prefer not to start from scratch, there are templates you can use. You can choose from a dozen templates to ask your visitors important questions. The platform, however, doesn’t offer a live chat version, so if the inquiries become complex, there’s no way a customer can be transferred to a human for support.
Sending the collected data from the bot to third-party apps such as Zapier is very easy to do. Collect.chat can also integrate with Facebook Pixel, Salesforce, Mailchimp and Slack. True to its easy-to-use nature, the best part is, you don’t need to know much code to perform the integrations.
You can use Collect.chat for free for up to 50 responses with unlimited bots, but you won’t be able to remove the Collect.chat branding. The lite plan costs $24 a month for unlimited bots and 500 responses a month. There’s also a standard and a plus plan for 2500 and 5000 responses a month, respectively. The standard plan costs $49 a month, and the plus plan $99 a month.
FlowXO makes it easy to build chatbots that will communicate with your customers and leads. To create them, you don’t need any coding experience. Flow XO’s flow system, however, limits the functionality and design of the chatbot because third-party integrations are required to build anything complicated.
The chatbots can do a variety of things including welcoming your new visitors, guiding them through the website, and getting all the information they need. The bots are also easy to talk to; they can even tell jokes and provide light-hearted commentary if you want them to. If you want information from your visitors, your bots can get that for you by asking simple questions.
With FlowXO, you can connect your workflows with over 100 cloud-based applications. Let’s say a visitor gives you an email address. The platform can get that for you and upload it directly to your MailChimp list. This saves you the time from having to manually get the email address, and inputting it into the marketing platform.
You can use FlowXO for free, with five chatbots, two weeks of logs, and 500 interactions. If you want to add five more bots, you can pay $10 a month. For $25,000 interactions, just add $25 a month. The standard plan costs $19 a month and will give you 15 bots, 5,000 interactions, three months of logs, and priority support.
If you’re looking for a chatbot platform for Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, then Chatfuel is for you. The platform allows you to create chatbots easily, even with no previous coding or programming experience.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are templates you can use, although these are limited. If you want access to more templates, you’d need to pay an amount which some users find too high.
The good thing is, even if you just get the Pro plan, Chatfuel’s cheapest paid plan, you can get a full-featured bot with priority support. That plan costs only $15 a month, and also includes A/B testing and conversation handover. It also allows for teammate access and administrative controls for collaboration.
You’d need to contact Chatfuel for a customized quote of the premium plan, which covers updates to multiple bots at once, assistance with Facebook ads to drive users to your bots, and a dedicated account manager, among others.
POP is an all-in-one chat marketing platform for brands. It is so far available only on Facebook Messenger, but will soon be available on WhatsApp.
With POP, you can create a Facebook chatbot to guide your visitors through their sales journey. Once it’s done, you don’t need to maintain it as much. You can either set up the introduction of your Messenger channel so it will function as a sales chatbot or create content for a separate sales flow, and add the direct Messenger link to the website.
You can use the chat editor to create a conversation flow, but if you don’t want to start from scratch, there’s a featured flow gallery with ready-to-use flows. You can send one-time notifications, news broadcasts or sponsored messages. The downside to the chatbot software is, if you’re running a promo, you can’t see which contacts entered your audience via a specific flow.
You can chat with up to 100 people per month for free. Once you have over 100 subscribers, though, POP automatically upgrades your free plan if you added a payment method to your account. A subscriber is someone who interacts with you. The website doesn’t show how much an upgraded plan would cost. If you want the enterprise plan, you’d need to get in touch with them.
ADA is a great tool for users who have no technical knowledge. The chatbot software has a low barrier to entry and is highly inclusive, you don’t need prior knowledge of code to be able to set up the bot. Setting up, however, requires a bit more time than the other chatbot software.
ADA’s chatbot does not only help you greet customers. The AI-powered bot can also handle complex inquiries and can reduce about 98% of customer wait time. The 24/7 chatbot can also escalate visitors’ concerns to a live agent at the right time, so their concerns are properly addressed.
All this ADA’s chatbot does with a personalized touch. Personalized CX allows the bot to approach each visitor in a way that’s tailored to their interests. In other words, unlike many chatbots, ADA is more human-like and provides customer-specific services.
ADA doesn’t disclose its pricing on the website although you can calculate your ROI when you automate customer service with Ada with the company website’s ROI calculator.
Landbot has a very user-friendly interface, it’s very easy to create a chatbot based on your needs. You can design automated conversations with visitors for WhatsApp, the web or Facebook Messenger, while the coding is left to Landbot.
Landbot’s chatbot can take much of the workload away from your support team. From lead generation to customer support, the Landbot chatbot can help organizations optimize every stage of the customer journey. Perhaps the only problem is the chatbots only speak in English, so your visitors who can’t speak the language may have a difficult time on your site.
Landbot offers a free plan for unlimited chatbots but for only 100 chats per month. The free plan, however, allows for human takeover, which means if your visitors have complex inquiries, the chatbot can automatically transfer them to the support team.
For 30 euros per month with the starter plan, you can get unlimited chats, Mailchimp integration, and A/B testing, among others. The professional plan costs 100 euros per month. It allows you to remove the Landbot brand, and gives you additional integrations. You can get a custom quote for the business plan if you’re a big enterprise.
In this article, we’ve looked at 15 best chatbot software. Now let’s look at the best from that list.
If I had to pick, I’d say it’s Tidio. Tidio’s Natural Language Processing technology is topnotch, the chatbots can handle complex queries. You basically just need to set up the chatbots and they will do the rest.
Tidio is cost-effective, too. The free plan already has almost all the features you need. And even if you need to pay for more features, you wouldn’t need to shell out that much money, with the cheapest paid plan at $18.
But that’s my opinion. You still get to decide which one is the best for you and your company needs. Use this list to compare and contrast. I’m sure you’ll find the one that’s a perfect fit.