Chatbots are a type of artificial intelligence that allows customers to interact with businesses via speech or text. They are used to automate customer service, marketing, sales processes, and numerous other organizational activities.
The global chatbot market is estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 28.7% and is expected to hit a staggering $19.57 billion by 2027. This growth is fuelled by the increasing demand and realization of the benefits of chatbots to answer and manage the burden of customer queries.
In addition, the creation and deployment of chatbots is becoming easier due to engineering concepts like low-code and no-code development that now allow non-technical users to develop chatbots.
The market is littered with many different chatbot platforms and software options, so it can be challenging to choose the right one for your business. This article has done all the heavy lifting for you and presents the best chatbot platforms and software options for enterprises on the market today.
What is a Chatbot?
The term “bot,” derived from “robot,” refers to a computer application that can automate a task. A chatbot is a computer program that can simulate intelligent human conversation through voice commands or text messages. There are many different types of chatbots. However, the best way to categorize chatbots is to examine them on a linear spectrum.
On one end, you have chatbots that facilitate human interaction. They collect user information and provide feedback where possible but redirect user input to a human being when they can’t offer an accurate or helpful response.
On the other end, you have programmatic chatbots that are fully automated and self-learning. They rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to completely replace human conversation.
In practice today, most chatbots fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Still, the goal is to develop highly advanced self-learning programmatic chatbots that can completely replace human-to-human conversation. Essentially, users would be unaware they are talking to a bot rather than a human.
Also read: What Explainable AI (XAI) is and Why Your Company Should Use It
What are Chatbots Used For?
Chatbot platforms and software are used for numerous business functions. The following describes some of the primary use cases:
- Customer service automation: Customer service is one of the most common uses of chatbots, as they can provide quick, easy answers to frequently asked questions and other customer inquiries. They can also direct users to relevant information on a company’s website or FAQ.
- Sales and marketing automation: Marketing chatbots make it easier for businesses to communicate with customers more personally, which is better for long-term engagement. Sales and marketing chatbots can help companies generate leads, improve customer service, convert customers into paying subscribers or buyers, and upsell products. They can also provide personalized recommendations based on the customer’s previous activities or preferences.
- Automating the employee life-cycle: Chatbots can be used to automate the employee life-cycle by automating the recruitment process, onboarding new employees, and providing training.
- Repetitive task automation: Chatbots can be used to automate tasks commonly done by humans, such as scheduling appointments, booking travel, or ordering food.
- Standardizing critical business procedures: Chatbots also help enforce standard business procedures by providing a single interface for employees to access the information they need.
Top Chatbot Platforms and Software
Below is a list of the top chatbot platforms and software for enterprises on the market today.
Zendesk Support Suite
Zendesk Support Suite is an AI-powered customer service platform that enables your company to support customers wherever they are and through any medium of their choice. Their integrated and personalized approach allows companies to interact with their customers via SMS, live chat, email, voice, or social media.
- Add the messaging feature to your website, social media channels, and mobile applications.
- Automated self-service through bots and integrations. Agents only interact with customers where necessary.
- Provide 24/7 customer support through Zendesk’s no-code Answer Bot platform.
- Bots store transcriptions of a customer’s conversation. There is no need for customers to repeat themselves when they interact with a human agent.
- Supports 16+ languages.
- Has advanced extensions where you can build your own chatbot and custom interactions.
- Integrate Zendesk’s messaging with sales, IT, and marketing departments.
- Prebuilt integrations for designing your help center and community platform.
- Unified agent workspace for tracking and responding to customer queries.
- Bring up a customer’s history and capture their data during a conversation.
- Zendesk unifies customer data allowing agents to view a customer’s history in one space.
- The platform is versatile, intuitive, and well-organized. For example, you can break down customer queries into tickets in quick steps.
- It’s an all-in-one platform that provides all the integrations you need to build a customer support system.
- Users can escalate inquiries from the same platform without switching between software.
- Users need extensive training due to functions that need to be coded using triggers. In addition, the automation processes still require a lot of human input.
Zendesk offers a chatbot and software integrations for your customer support and sales functions.
Zendesk for service
|Pricing Tier||Suite Team||Suite Growth||Suite Professional||Suite for Enterprise||Tailored for Enterprises|
|Cost (per month)||$49 per agent||$79 per agent||$99 per agent||$150 per agent||$215 per agent|
|Free Trial Available||X||X||X||X|
Zendesk for sales
|Pricing Tier||Sell Team||Sell Professional||Sell Enterprise|
|Cost (per month)||$19 per user||$49 per user||$99 per user|
|Free Trial Available||X||X||X|
Intercom provides a full suite of conversational customer communication tools to help you build better relationships with your customers. It is more than an automated messaging platform—the provider also has bots and applications for driving human-like, end-to-end engagements with people.
- A robust business messenger provides real-time live chats, customer self-service, and handles outbound messages from your website or applications.
- Automated responses powered by accurate machine learning.
- Guided product tours with interactive step-by-step experiences.
- A comprehensive customer data repository lets you integrate historical customer information during engagements.
- A bot-enabled help and knowledge center drives repetitive customer queries to relevant articles.
- Code-free management tools for running automated workflows such as assignment, routing, and enforcing service-level agreements (SLAs).
- Built-in app store for integrating Intercom’s software with your applications.
- Flexible, uncluttered, and intuitive user interface.
- Simple to set up with comprehensive new-user guidelines.
- Easy to track transactions and customer queries—you can view all customer data and questions in a single snapshot during a live interaction.
- Delivers conversational and human-like interactions.
- Intercom’s campaign builder called Series enables you to distribute campaigns for increasing customer engagement on your platforms.
- Supports in-app, on-mobile, and online live messaging.
- Their customer support is quick to action and acts on issues promptly.
- Most of Intercom’s impressive features are only available for higher-paying packages.
- Its analytics metrics are much harder to use for bigger teams.
- The provider doesn’t highlight pricing plans for all their products.
Intercom offers plans at $67 per month for small businesses, $199 per month for product tours, and $9 per month for WhatsApp messaging.
Pricing is provided upon request for other features such as customer engagement, conversational support, and marketing.
Tidio offers seamless integration of both customer support and sales to enable you to drive more revenue, customer loyalty, and higher engagement all in one platform. In addition, its intuitive software provides 20+ templates for building your chatbot to automate over 40% of customer conversations.
- Tidio provides live chat integration across all your web platforms and applications.
- The live chat widget adjusts to customer preferences, ensuring a smooth mobile and tablet interaction.
- It’s customizable and allows you to design your conversation scenarios.
- Offers automated discounts to stop customers from leaving their carts.
- Automated lead qualification for faster outreach.
- Tidio offers a unified multichannel platform for integrating all your communication functions.
- Instant responses to urgent and most essential queries with assigned and unassigned messages feature.
- Quick installation and simple to follow steps for new users.
- The sales team chatbot allows you to converse with potential customers in a real human-like, conversational way.
- It’s an excellent chatbot software for automating e-commerce functions such as discounts promotions and helping customers navigate your platforms.
- Its live visitor feature helps teams to resolve issues and close deals faster.
- Tidio’s productivity and progress workflow helps team leaders track chat communication better.
- Its free plan offers a comprehensive feature package and allows you to add three more agents at no extra cost.
- The automated responses can be unnatural and annoying for returning customers.
- The knowledge center is restricted to blogs and case studies. The provider could utilize video tutorials, guided product tours, or more interactive formats for presenting their help center information.
|Use Tidio for free||$39 per month||$15 per operator per month|
|Offers free trial||Offers free trial|
Also read: Top Business AI Trends to Watch for 2022
Qualified is specifically designed to help you reach your sales goals by converting your inbound web traffic into qualified leads. This highly targeted communication ensures companies get 30% more leads than forms and landing page campaigns.
- The conversational platform is built on Salesforce functionality to utilize more data points and generate highly targeted conversational programs.
- Provides real-time analytics and customer insights.
- Full-feature customizations allow you to build upon customer attributes in seconds.
- Qualified is compatible with all the leading Salesforce data types.
- Customizable chatbots that you can easily integrate into all your platforms.
- Chatbots can book meetings with high-value visitors directly from your website.
- Fast routing of prospects and leads to relevant sales representatives.
- Qualified’s dashboard presents all the relevant information about your prospects and how best to reach them.
- The platform provides granular customizations and multiple options for app integrations.
- Proactive customer support, especially when setting up the software first.
- Allows you to create detailed user journeys for different functions.
- Seamless prospect and client onboarding.
- Any representative available can engage customers and pick up conversations from where they left.
- Requires extensive training due to the numerous customizations and Salesforce integrations.
- Setting up automation rules can be daunting for new users.
- Their dashboard and analytics section can offer better customization options.
- Their pricing is on the higher side.
- Qualified does not offer a free trial option.
Qualified offers two packages. QualifiedX supports end-to-end conversational sales and marketing needs and comes in three pricing tiers. Signals supports buying intent campaigns to help companies maximize their lead conversion goals.
|$2,500 per month||$4,000 per month||Request a custom quote||$3,000 per month|
Verloop.io uses natural language processing and machine learning to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to customers. Through its AI reasoner technology, customers get natural responses from Verloop.io’s chatbot in their preferred language.
- Verloop.io’s agent-assist platform has an agent dashboard, live chat plugins, canned responses, and Nudge for pushing gentle reminders to customers.
- Multilingual chatbot that supports 20+ languages.
- Voice support allows customers to record themselves and share on WhatsApp. The voice bot also transcribes the recording and sends a text version of the customer’s recording.
- Out-of-the-box integrations enable you to connect your business services with Verloop.io’s apps instantly.
- 24/7 availability across all your core communication channels.
- Retrievable chats using webhook URLs.
- Has an easy-to-navigate user interface.
- Real-time dashboard analytics allow for accurate decision-making.
- Verloop.io has a seamless data collection workflow, allowing users to easily capture customer data flows from chats and to assign tickets.
- Excellent browser experience for companies using the web version.
- Integrates well with other chatbot software such as Zendesk and Intercom.
- Provides rich media content such as photos and videos within chats for a more personal experience.
- Verloop.io does not provide shortcuts for users to switch between windows during live chats.
- The provider could increase their video limits to accommodate heavier files.
- The software lags and takes time to display recent responses.
The company does not publish pricing plans on its website. However, you can schedule a free demo.
Choosing a Chatbot Platform
With many enterprises currently engaged in rapid digital transformation, chatbot platforms and software play a critical role in customer service, engagement, and support. They are also invaluable in streamlining business processes.
When selecting the best chatbot platform for your needs, consider the most essential features for your organization. For example, do you need a fully programmatic platform with robust AI capabilities, or do you simply need information gathering features with more human input? Do you prefer customizable options, so you can create unique customer experiences? Is real-time analytics important to you?
Make sure to also take into account your budget when making your decision. Many of the platforms offer free trials, so you can test out the software before committing.
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