The world has seen groundbreaking changes in society in this new decade. Whether it’s the global lockdown that has left most working from home, forest fires in Australia, or seemingly imminent volcanic eruptions in South East Asia, 2020 is hardly pulling its punches.
Still, even with all the obstacles that humanity has faced in the first two quarters of the year, there are also some positive trends that have graced our species. One major trend that has continued into the decade is the adoption of chatbots.
We’ve seen them grow in popularity over the past years for a few reasons. Firstly, they help SMBs provide enterprise-class customer service for a fraction of the cost. They can also boost conversion rates for eCommerce sites.
While the benefits of using chatbots are common knowledge at this point, there’s still some debate as to which platforms are best. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, we decided to compile a list of the top 8 so you can make an educated buying decision for yourself.
So let’s get right into it!
Best Chatbot Softwares
What better place to start than the assistant created by the legacy tech giant IBM. Before Apple and Microsoft took their first steps, IBM was already revolutionizing the way that people conducted business. That’s why it should come as no surprise that they’re also one of the leaders in chatbot technology.
Their solution focuses on customer self-service to reduce costs for small businesses who can’t handle the overhead and cut down on wait times in the process. This conversation AI platform gets accurate, easily understandable answers to the queries that customers send in a timely manner.
One of the unique benefits that Watson Assistant has over its competitors is the sheer range of its platform. But while it won’t be able to replace your customer service representatives any time soon, it can trim the field of easy cases so that your human employees will be able to focus their attention on more complex tickets.
If that wasn’t enough, another great feature Watson’s Assistant features is it’s self awareness limitations. Which means that the chatbot, if unable to attain an answer, will go through the knowledge base of your company to find the best response. It will also ask for clarification if it struggles to understand a query—mitigating customer frustration.
This prevention of vague answers can work wonders for PR since customers won’t complain that they got robotic responses. Watson also knows when to connect users to a human employee when it’s exhausted its resources on a particularly difficult case.
If you wanna get a feel for how Watson operates then you can start with the free lite plan. The plus plan will run you $120/month if you decide to upgrade but covers 1,000 users. Deployment options include both on-premises and cloud.
Next up we have Bold360, an AI software from an equally popular tech company — LogMeIn. Like Watson, Bold360 tries to combine human support with chatbot technology rather than eliminate the fleshy element altogether.
A major pro that Bold360 has over other chatbots is the fact that it can talk to customers in over 40 languages. This makes it the perfect option for companies that have a global presence and thus need to cater to a multilingual customer base.
The AI can communicate with customers through a live chat on your website, a mobile app, instant messaging, and, of course, chatbots. This helps you meet customers where they are rather than making them come to you.
Bold360 also tracks key insights throughout its conversations with customers so that you can spot any areas that need optimization. Think of it as a digital equivalent of a market researcher and support agent combined.
There are no flat rates listed on the Bold360. So you’ll need to request a custom quote for your business to see how big of an overhead increase you’ll incur if you deploy Bold360 into your system. With five plans to choose from however, we’re sure there’s a right price tier for every company.
One of the newer chatbot services featured on our list, MobileMonkey, was founded by Larry Kim in 2017 — with the goal of providing marketers a platform to easily create and use chatbots for SMS, Web Chat and Facebook messenger.
Now in the past, customers who wanted to use MobileMonkey would have to choose from one of the paid plans that the developers provided. Fortunately, a new Free Forever edition has been released which gives everyone the ability to take the chatbot for a spin before spending a dime.
It’s worth noting however that those on the free plan won’t be able to remove the MobileMonkey branding, but that’s a small price to pay for a zero cost chatbot. The premium subscriptions are very affordable for the value it provides though, with the first plan starting at $9/month. If you bill annually, then you can bring that price down even further to $6.75/month.
The Unicorn and Team cost $19/month and $199/month respectively — but only the former has a discount for those who bill annually. Which plan is right for you depends on the set of features that your company needs as well as what ticket volume it normally gets.
Not to be confused with the android Aida from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ada is a customer service chatbot that promises to take care of over 80% of all inquiries that come into your system. And just like any good chatbot should, it can serve customers through your site, social media, and mobile platforms.
Similarly to Bold360, Ada can also talk to customers in various languages (over 100 languages)! With every response tailored to the customer’s intent in an effort to minimize friction and frustrating situations.
The software is as well as very easy to use. Meaning that your support team can run it themselves without having to burden your IT department with a million questions each day. It reduces the workload rather than merely shifting the questions towards your IT employees.
Now, there are no listed prices on the Ada website. So you’ll need to request a demo from the sales team and see what the monthly/annual costs will be for your company. That may seem like too much effort, but we are talking about the same chatbot that cut AirAsia wait times by 98%.It actually made that giant reduction within the first month of being deployed by the airline!
If proven results and rapid overhauls get you excited, then Ada is the chatbot you’ve been waiting for.
ManyChat was founded by Mikael Yang in 2015. Much like some of the other chatbots in this list, ManyChat provides a free plan for companies who want to give the software a test run before investing their hard-earned cash in a paid subscription.
The free plan even includes two drip sequences that can get your company more sales. Once you’ve generated some income with ManyChat’s drip sequences, you can reinvest that money into the Pro plan, which will run at $10/month.
It’s worth noting that you will end up paying more than $10/month if you have over 500 subscribers but the per-sub price does get lower as volume increases — with 25,000 subscribers only costing $145/month.
One area where ManyChat truly shines is its integration options. It can integrate with some of the most popular software in the business world. This includes Shopify, Zapier, Google Sheets, MailChimp, HubSpot, Stripe, and PayPal.
Lastly, the learning curve with ManyChat is practically non-existent. As the developers have released a free video course that will teach you everything you need to know.
Already have the software set up and want to run a Messenger marketing campaign? Check out ManyChat’s agency listing page!
LivePerson supports some of the top messaging apps such as LINE, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Messenger in addition to your site or mobile application!
The developers of LivePerson were proud to share the top clientele on the chatbot homepage. This includes the likes of Vodafone, Sky, Virgin, RBS, and even IBM. So if the Branson family and IBM, the developers of Watson, both like what LivePerson has to offer, then it must be great right? After all, these aren’t companies that settle for subpar.
But moving on — whether it’s operating hours, product availability, or payment processing, LivePerson can help your customers do what they need to without burdening human staff. They offer a complete solution to create and run chatbots for your business.
Home Depot, one of LivePerson’s biggest clients, has long strived to attain the same level of digital presence that rival Amazon has long been known for. However, they initially struggled with the online chat area of their business.
Since adopting the LivePerson software in 2018, customer satisfaction rates have been at their highest ever — over 90%! Costs also saw a 30% reduction, which is huge when you consider the sheer scale of retail companies like Home Depot.
Botsify promises to increase your sales by 30% while reducing costs by 80%. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see how beautiful those numbers are for any business.
Now, Botsify doesn’t come with a free plan — though it does have a 14-day trial. If you decide to continue using the software after your two-week trial ends, then you’ll be paying a toll that’s a fair bit higher than other options.
Botsify has two plans, which cost $50/month and $300/month respectively. However, you’ll get a lower total price if you decide to bill annually. Coming in the form of an $80 discount for the cheaper of the two and a free month on the $300 plan. The pricier tier does have its benefits though since it covers unlimited users.
The $30 plan, in contrast, has an upper cap of 30,000 unique users. Which could pose problems if your company is rapidly growing its customer base. But, while it’ll cost you more each month, the weekly reporting feature that you unlock could justify the higher price.
While Botsify is far from being the cheapest chatbot platform covered in this article, it could make up for the premium pricing with the customer retention benefits and reduction in support department overhead.
It goes without saying that Chatfuel is a strong competitor seeing as 46% of all Messenger chatbots run on its software. That’s a market share of almost half! Its users include companies like T-Mobile, Adidas, Lego, Levi’s, ABC News, and even the Golden State Warriors.
The free plan of Chatfuel covers companies with up to 1,000 subscribers while the Pro tier provides unlimited coverage for a starting price of only $15/month. Many companies upgrade to the paid subscription just for the sake of removing the Chatfuel branding.
One of the unique features that Chatfuel boasts is its A/B testing functionality that compares the effectiveness of multiple chatbot versions. Chatfuel is also a great choice for eCommerce since the Pro plan can send cart reminders to customers on popular platforms like Shopify. This can reduce abandonment rates and increase your revenue — offering a nice ROI on what you pay for the chatbot.
The 30-day satisfaction guarantee also ensures you’ll get a full refund if you don’t get value out of Chatfuel. If you’re looking for a chatbot that can help you with all things sales, then you might want to schedule a demo with the Chatfuel team as soon as possible.
Final Thoughts on Chatbots
As you can see, there are many great chatbot options to choose from. But it all comes down to the size of your list, which features you need, and what your monthly software budget is to make the right decision for you or your organization.
Because at the end of the day, you’ll be the one most qualified to gauge the specific needs of your business. Which is why no one can make this decision for you.
That said, it’s never too early to reap the benefits of cutting-edge technology. Chatbots have the power to boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.
That’s all for now, happy chatting! Oh…and don’t forget, please be sure to visit our blog for more content!