Introduction

AI chatbots represent the state-of-the-art in human to machine communications. Unlike their rule-based cousins, artificial intelligence chatbots incorporate NLP and ML technologies, giving them the ability to converse in a human-like, natural way, and actually learn from their mistakes.

Artificially Intelligent bots are transforming the worlds of business and society alike. Most of us will have encountered a chatbot at some stage in our online lives, whether it’s when buying a plane ticket or inquiring about the status of an online order.

But how do you go about selecting the best AI chatbots for you and your business?

Simple. Read this article. In it we will be looking at the best AI chatbots currently available, and assessing their capabilities.

But before we delve into the finer points of the best AI chatbot, let’s look at the origins of the concept itself.

We are reviewing our selection of Best AI chatbot platforms, but if you just want the line up, here it is:

  • ManyChat
  • Ada
  • Botsify
  • Proprofs Chat
  • MobileMonkey
  • Pandorabots
  • Aivo
  • Drift
  • Imperson
  • Flow XO
  • Chatfuel
  • Meya.ai
Best AI Chatbots infographic

What is Artificial Intelligence?

The origins of AI technology can be traced back to the 1950s and Alan Turing‘s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” This game-changing paper coined what is now known as the Turing test.

The Turing test is a test designed to gauge the ability of a computer program to successfully impersonate a human being. In other words, to be able to think like a human to the degree that distinguishing between a program and a real person becomes nigh on impossible.

This so called imitation game underpins all the developments in the best AI chatbots or ”thinking machines”.

The Rise of the Bots

Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA is seen by many as the earliest incarnation of a chatbot. ELIZA was a relatively simple computer program powered by a script called DOCTOR, capable of processing language in as “natural” a way as possible.

ELIZA was a rule-based program which applied matching statements in order to calculate appropriate responses to questions. Much like the rule-based chatbots of today.

What is an Artificial Intelligence Chatbot?

AI chatbots are computer programs that harness a combination of Natural Language Processing (NLP), Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to simulate “human-like” conversations.

AI bots are capable of providing more intelligent and less scripted answers than their rule-based counterparts. By virtue of this more predictive intelligence, coupled with an ability to “learn”, artificial intelligence chatbots can be assigned to a wide number of tasks.

These tasks range from simple customer queries to more complex behavior, such as making customer recommendations, or participating in “natural” conversations on social media platforms, like Facebook Messenger.

The best AI chatbot is capable of recognizing contexts and intentions, as well as analyzing great swathes of data. The idea is that by studying user profiles and behavior, an AI chatbot can actually initiate conversations.

This technology in combination with Text-to-Speech (TTS) and voice recognition application program interfaces (APIs) enables the best AI chatbot to formulate responses to spoken dialogue. As is the case with so-called virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Home.

Key Terms in the Understanding of AI Chatbots

Before moving onto the numerous applications and benefits of the best AI chatbots to business, let’s take a closer look at the key technological processes that artificially intelligent chatbots are governed by.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) 

NLP is the bedrock of AI. NLP defines the ability of the best AI chatbots to analyze and process data associated with the “natural” language spoken by humans.

NLP converts text or speech into what is called “structured” data. This data is then used by the chatbot to select an appropriate answer to any given question or questions. 

Some of the key processes that power NLP are text classification, tokenization, sentiment analysis and entity recognition.

NLP is an intrinsic component of a chatbot’s capacity to communicate with humans.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

NLU is a subset of NLP and works closely with Natural Language Processing in order to facilitate human to computer communications. 

Key concepts in the understanding of NLU are “entity recognition” and “intent”. These processes extract words and phrases to establish the user’s intentions. 

Natural Language Understanding is a core component of the best AI chatbot and voice-enabled chatbot technologies.

Natural Language Generation (NLG)

Another subset of NLP is Natural Language Generation (NLG). 

NLG allows computers to automatically generate text in natural language that is very different from traditional computer-generated text.

By mimicking human communication with its fluidity, emotion and personality, NLG makes it possible for more interesting and engaging written interactions.

These human-like responses are achieved by identifying topics and then using NLP to determine the most appropriate written response.

Machine learning (ML)

An intrinsic part of artificial intelligence, ML uses data and algorithms to mimic a human’s ability to learn through experience. As the name suggests, Machine Learning describes machines that possess the capacity to learn.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is the science and technology behind intelligent machines and computers. AI imitates human intelligence to the extent that computer programs can perform tasks and solve problems that would otherwise require people. 

What are the Benefits of Using AI Chatbots?

Let’s look at the key ways that the best AI chatbot automation can improve business processes.

Customer Support / Customer Experience CX

The capacity to provide 24/7 real-time automated support, as well as the ability to process multiple inquiries simultaneously, means AI chatbots can play a major role in customer support and an overall customer experience (CX).

Artificial intelligence chatbots are frequently deployed to perform a variety of customer support duties. These tasks include managing incoming communications and messages, as well as directing customers to relevant resources, such as sales and bookings.

Artificially intelligent chatbots can resolve most customer queries or issues without the need for human intervention, thereby relieving human agents from performing repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

These skills mean that the best AI chatbots often operate in a variety of business sectors, ranging from online retail to banking.

Lead Capture

Business growth is dependent on lead generation.

By providing rapid real-time automated responses, the best AI Chatbot facilitates the faster pre-qualification of sales. This means leads can be processed and passed on to sales representatives, or CRM, in a much faster and streamlined fashion than would otherwise be possible.

The best AI Chatbot is also particularly adept at the process known as “segmentation”. This means businesses can quickly establish a “target” group for any given products or services, as well as answer questions and provide information about brand and product offerings. 

Conversions

Converting visitors to customers is a key feature of the best AI Chatbot functionality. By personalizing conversation flows, AI bots have the potential to turn every visitor into a customer. 

This level of “personalization” means that you can provide bespoke services and offers to your customers and steer the conversation towards your predefined sales goals.

Think qualifying leads, sales, email signups and form completions.

Marketing / Brand Message

The fact that an AI chatbot can learn from user interactions and is capable of sharing relevant information regarding brands, products and services, makes it an invaluable marketing tool. 

The best AI chatbot can assist in product recommendations and personal notifications, as well as initiating productive conversations. All of which effectively boosts customer engagement.

Social Media Engagement

An area in which AI chatbots are particularly prevalent is social media and messaging. Popular communication platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram, all use integrated chatbot technologies.

AI chatbots operating on social media provide automation for customer engagement, marketing, and digital sales strategies. Call-to-Action buttons (CTAs) and Bulk Actions, offer dynamic new alternatives to traditional methods of user participation.

Artificial intelligence chatbots can also be used for “onboarding” users by describing its services through simple responses—which might, again, result in a call-to-action.

It is worth noting that around 2 billion messages are sent every month between businesses and customers on Facebook alone.

Data and Analytics

Every business knows that data helps it grow. AI chatbots are capable of analyzing user behavior, past chats and even learning from their mistakes. These data-driven “insights” are an invaluable part of any intelligent business ecosystem and are integral in providing the very best in sales and marketing strategies.

Most artificial intelligence chatbots provide reporting along with the option to collect relevant and useful user data. 

This is a boon when it comes to formulating the very best in business service, sales and marketing strategies.

Some AI chatbots can also be connected to your CRM to enable you to understand the buying journey more easily. Again something actionable.

Internal Systems

Automated AI chatbots can also bring benefits to internal processes in HR and IT. Automated “onboarding” of new employees, as well as system notifications, are two examples or resource saving benefits.

Bot Design

Benefits to Business—A Summary

The benefits of AI chatbots in bringing automated, streamlined services to business are obvious. Around-the-clock customer care boosts operational efficiency and reduces labour costs.

Response times in business are critical. AI chatbots can resolve a great many customer queries instantly and without the need for human involvement.

AI chatbots are personalized, proactive and scalable to any business size. These characteristics mean that artificial intelligence chatbots are often perceived as a “differentiator” in business terms. Meaning they can set a business apart from its competition.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Considerations

We have thus far outlined the overall benefits of the best AI chatbots to business services. Here are a few specific points with regard to their selection, worthy of consideration.

Bot Building—To Code or Not To Code

Advanced coding skills are no longer necessary in the building of AI bots. So unless you are a programmer look for no-code, drag and drop functionality in your AI chatbot platform. 

Code free tools mean that the successful building of a multichannel, bespoke, conversational AI chatbot, lies within the reach of the programming novice.

Not that coding is redundant in the creation of AI chatbots. For a better assimilated bot it might be necessary to take a more nuts and bolts approach.

If you want the best of both worlds, plump for an AI chatbot platform that offers both build options.

Multi-Channels

Consider the “channels” you wish to have a bot presence. Omnichannel AI chatbots can be deployed over a number of communication channels—such as your website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Business, Zoom, Slack, Google Assistant, etc.

The cross- or multi-channel approach is essential in providing a seamless and coordinated customer experience.

In a continually evolving digital landscape, with increasing social and messaging apps and channels, it’s essential to provide customer service and support across platforms and be where your customers interact with your brand.

An omnichannel chatbot platform facilitates personalized interactions across a variety of platforms.

Core Integration

Integration works hand in glove with multiple channel strategies. Integration allows you to connect your AI across a range of business tools and broader systems, such as LiveChat, WordPress, etc.

Multichannel unified inboxes are a feature of some AI chatbots. Back Office Integration is critical in the creation of intelligent and actionable business knowledge bases.

APIs

API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs allow for integration with other applications and core systems. AI Chatbot APIs facilitate the sharing of information and data across different software components.

For expanded system functionalities, APIs should be key considerations in your chatbot development. An Integrated API will ensure that rather than just being pointed in the right direction, you will have direct access to core services.

Analytics—Data Rules

As previously mentioned in the “Benefits to Business” section of this article, data is an essential part of any intelligent business architecture. The capacity to study this data is a vital component in sales, marketing and customer service strategies. 

AI bots that incorporate reporting should be a key consideration in your bot building, deployment and management plans.

Human-in-the-Loop

The intervention of a human agent at a specific point in a conversation flow may be both desirable and necessary. This is where the Human-in-the-Loop comes in.

An AI chatbot with HITL capabilities will allow such “handoffs” when there is a gap in support or at a key strategic point of your choosing—for example during a high-volume sale.

HITL can significantly improve CX.

Pricing

The pricing of the best AI chatbot platforms is variable and dependent on the type of chatbot technology, the number of bots and the level of support you require.

AI chatbot platforms offer a range of payment plans from basic levels—occasionally of the free variety—right the way through to professional—with price tags to match.

The Best AI Chatbot Platforms Currently Available

So without further delay. This best AI chatbot platforms available:

ManyChat

The ManyChat AI platform prides itself on automated “two-way” chat, to boost conversation flows in Instagram Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, and SMS.

Integration is the name of the game with the ManyChat AI Chatbot. So in addition to delivering all the artificially intelligent automation tools you would expect from a top ranking AI Chatbot, ManyChat also ensures you get more out of the tools that you already use.

This enhanced compatibility guarantees that ManyChat can connect to Hubspot, Shopify, Google Sheets, MailChimp, Zapier or ConvertKit, through one unified interface.

ManyChat’s template based drag-and-drop AI chatbot builder is characterized by its ease of use and simplicity—making good the claim that you can “build a bot in minutes.”

Key Features

  • Mobile Optimized
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Basic Reporting

Plans

  • Free
  • Pro 
  • Business

Ada

Ada is a no-nonsense AI Chatbot that prides itself on delivering highly tailored automated services at scale. 

Courtesy of Artificially Intelligent automation, Ada’s chatbot provides professional levels of customer experience (CX), while simultaneously reducing costs and boosting revenues. 

If brand promise is important to your enterprise, you need the analytics and insights to back it up. Ada AI chatbots can do just that.

Key Features

  • No-Code Building
  • 100 Plus Languages
  • Professional CX

Plans

  • Price on Demand

Botsify

If multiplatform unified artificially intelligent chat automation is what your business requires, then Botsify could be the “fully managed” AI Chatbot platform for you. 

Botsify AI chatbots have the power to attract multiple users from across a wide range of “channels.” With Botsify “omnichannel” and “page-messaging” features, conversion becomes a cinch.

Botisfy bots automate customer support and conversation flows to increase engagement and sales. And all this without any need for coding.

Key Features

  • Multiple Chatbots
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Free 14 day trial

Plans

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Business
  • Custom

ProProfs Chat

The ProProfs AI chatbot conducts natural human-machine communications to give you around-the-clock automated services that convert.

ProProfs AI Chatbot features a customization dashboard that is capable of asking users multiple choice and open response questions, rather than simply asking for a form to be completed. This level of human-like engagement provides a boost to qualified leads and sales.

As for bot building, drag and drop functionality ensures that you can create a personable and engaging AI chatbot to your own specifications, without any coding skills.

ProProfs AI chatbots create just the right live chat conversation flow to keep your customers hooked.

Key Features

  • Drag & Drop Interactions
  • Human-like Engagement
  • No Coding
  • Ask Multiple-choice & Open Response Questions

Plans

  • Essentials
  • Premium
  • Enterprise

MobileMonkey

MobileMonkey is a multi-platform AI chatbot that features a unified chat Inbox called OmniChat. OmniChat stores all your Facebook Messenger, SMS, or Web Chat conversations in one convenient place. 

Template based, with drag and drop widgets, MobileMonkey has all the artificially intelligent automation required not only to reach out to your customers but also meet their specific needs and expectations.

MobileMonkey has the versatility to adapt to both sales and support environments.

Key Features

  • OmniChat
  • Unified Inbox
  • Facebook Messenger Optimized

Plans

  • Free
  • Pro
  • Pro Unicorn
  • Team

Pandorabots

Pandorabots’ context aware AI chatbot is a smarter than average multilingual bot that delivers top notch CX.

“Cross-channel” features mean Pandorabots AI chatbots can be deployed on a number of communication channels, including your website, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter, SMS (using Twilio), WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Google RCS Business Messaging.

To get the best from Pandorabots AI chatbots you need to have some knowledge of AIML code, so it’s a chatbot particularly suited to developers or CX designers.

Key Features

  • Cross-channel.
  • Voice Enabled: Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech.
  • Code and No Code Build Options.
  • Multilingual

Plans

  • Sandbox
  • Developer
  • Pro
  • Enterprise

Aivo

Aivo AI chatbots use multiple AI technologies to generate a “conversational engine” that is capable of “natural” interactions.

The Aivo AI chatbot is capable of identifying the intent and relevance of messages beyond mere writing, on a deeper “semantic” level—rendering it largely immune to typos and grammatical errors.

Aivo’s conversational AI has the capacity to understand emojis, as well as transcribe Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp voice messages to text.

Moreover, thanks to their short term memory, Aivo AI chatbots are more effectively able to join the dots in any conversation flow.

Aivo’s AI chatbot platform is a conversational chatbot with real problem solving acumen.

Key Features

  • Multi-language Customer Support
  • Keeps Local Language Natural
  • Understands Emojis and Transcribes Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Voice Messages to Text

Plans

  • Starter
  • Advanced
  • Business
  • Enterprise

Drift

Drift AI chatbots are engaging, interactive and qualifying so that conversation flows are always moving in the desired direction—ensuring sales teams highly-qualified meetings with potential customers.

Drift AI chatbots deliver personalized, real time customer experiences (CX) to maximize revenue, shorten sales cycles, and strengthen branding.

Drift features A/B Testing so that you can thoroughly test your bot “playbook”. This ensures your bot is on message from the get-go. 

Drift AI chatbots are a powerful ally in any conversion campaign.

Key Features

  • Lead Gathering
  • Targeted Emails
  • Team Inbox

Plans

  • Premium
  • Advanced
  • Enterprise

Imperson

Imperson conversational AI chatbots provide automated and personalized customer conversation flows, in as naturaI a way as possible.

Incorporating advanced NLP capabilities, Imperson’s chatbot Conversation Engine is driven by the knowledge base of user profiles, conversation histories, and past interactions.

Onboard analytics mean that the Imperson AI chatbot never loses sight of sales objectives, through increased conversion and a reduction in what is known as “churn”.

And if you run into any issues, Imperson’s Customer Success Team will be on hand to help.

Key Features

  • Conversational
  • Omnichannel Deployment
  • Self-service Knowledge-base
  • Customer Success Team Support

Plans

  • Custom

Flow Xo

Engage with customers across a multiplicity of channels, with the feature rich and easy to build Flow XO AI chatbot.

As the name indicates Flow XO is all about work and conversation flows. These “flows” are facilitated by simple drag-and-drop processes to give you the optimum in automated artificially intelligent chatbot engagement.

Flow XO AI chatbots accept financial transactions, partake in Live Chat, pre-filter leads and gather user information.

Boasting 100 plus integrations, including email, webhooks and Google Sheets, FlowXO’s AI chatbot platform provides the structure to mobilize a veritable troop of AI chatbots to do your bidding.

Key Features

  • Live Chat
  • Accepts Payments
  • Pre-Filters Leads

Plans

  • Start for Free
  • Standard
  • Five Bot Add-on
  • Ten Bot Add-on

Chatfuel

Chatfuel AI chatbots possess all the functionality you would expect from an AI driven chatbot, such as, Comments Autoreply, Live Chat, as well as other Facebook Messenger and Instagram features. While the need for a static landing page is ingeniously removed with Click-to-Messenger Ads.

To simplify the building of bots, Chatfuel incorporates a no code, intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

With Chatfuel’s AI chatbot platform a tailor-made, artificially intelligent bot can be configured and deployed in no time at all.

Key Features

  • Leading No-code Chatbot Platform for Facebook
  • AI Rules
  • Built-in Stats
  • Cart Reminders for Shopify
  • Reengage Messaging

Plans

  • Free
  • Pro 
  • Premium
  • Agency

Meya.ai

The Meya.ai conversational AI platform is built on three foundational touchstones—The Grid, The Orb, and The Console.

The Grid provides the conversational know-how, The Orb the customization, and The Console the operational wherewithal. 

In concert they form a conversational AI app that integrates seamlessly with all your business channels, such as, messaging apps, social media channels, CRMs, NLU providers, internal APIs and customer support platforms.

Meya.ai ensures that CX is a core part of your brand.

Key Features

  • Customer Status Checks
  • Automated and Instant RMA
  • Tailored Upsells
  • Internal APIs

Plans

  • Pro
  • Partner
  • Enterprise

Conclusion—Broaden Your Horizons

As we have seen, the best AI chatbots provide fresh and more interactive ways for businesses to communicate with users on the channels of their choice.

AI chatbot platforms help create “mobile-first” messaging interfaces, which can be deployed on social media platforms, company websites and texting platforms.

By virtue of being artificially intelligent and possessing natural language capabilities, AI chatbots are able to effectively automate key areas of customer support, engagement and strategy, and in doing so help you join the dots between your key business services.

FAQ

Q. What is an AI Chatbot?

A. An AI chatbot is a computer program that simulates human to human conversations or “chat” on websites, messaging platforms and apps. This “natural” conversational ability is the result of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies. AI Chatbots are fully automated, intelligent programs.

Q. Is there any AI Chatbot?

A. Automated artificially intelligent chatbots are being increasingly developed and deployed across a number of different channels of communication. AI chatbots incorporate ML and NLP to deliver conversation flows that are human-like, context aware and capable of recognizing intentions, to an extent that just isn’t possible by their rule-based counterparts.

Because of this increased “conversational” ability the applications for AI chatbots go beyond providing scripted responses to expected questions, into the realms of virtual assistance and complex problem solving.

Q. What kind of AI do chatbots use?

A. AI Chabots use a combination of artificial intelligence technologies, including Natural Language Processing, Natural Language Understanding, Natural Language Generation and Machine Learning. AI chatbots can be perceived as “thinking” computer programs that have the capacity to improve customer support, customer experience (CX), and marketing and sales strategies, in an automated, intelligent and streamlined way.

Q. How do Chatbots use AI?

A. Chatbots use AI to provide a simulated person to person conversation over a number of communication channels. AI chatbots can be deployed in text- or voice-based contexts to improve customer services through their ability to answer queries, help make bookings, take payments, and solve problems.

AI chatbots can also play significant roles in marketing and sales. Conversationally adept, content and intent aware chatbots are often deployed across a number of social and communication channels to increase brand awareness, reach-out to potential customers and convert leads into sales.

These skills combined with 24/7, digital-first credentials, mean that AI chatbots are often better placed to deal with the business demands of an “always-on” culture.

Q. How can I build an AI chatbot?

A. Creating your own artificially intelligent chatbot is easier than ever. A number of AI chatbot platforms offer no code bot builders for the non developers among us. These platforms facilitate the building of an AI bot using drag and drop commands, which require no programming knowledge whatsoever.

This technology not only significantly simplifies the building of a bespoke chatbot for your company but also brings bot design, integration and functionality squarely within reach of the programming layman.

That said, for all you programmers out there, a number of platforms also support code, such as AIML, which means you can still take the root and branch approach for perhaps greater assimilation into your core systems.

Q. On which platforms can I deploy a chatbot?

A. Chatbots can be deployed across many platforms and communication “channels.” Omnichannel chatbots can be used on company websites and popular messaging platforms, such as SMS, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, to name but a few.

Q. What makes the best AI chatbot?

A. The answer to this question depends very much on how and where you want to deploy your chatbot. Being context and intent aware, as well as possessing natural language capabilities, the AI chatbot is already well suited to providing an improved customer experience. The ability to communicate in a human-like way, coupled with machine learning attributes means that an AI bot is not only capable of initiating conversations but also learning from them. 

The best AI chatbot is the one that combines these qualities to represent your business and convey your message in a unique and engaging way.

Q. Are Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant chatbots?

A. Though often classified as virtual assistants, technically speaking Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are all chatbots. These conversational AI bots are more advanced than regular rule-based bots, which are capable of only providing scripted answers. 

However, virtual assistants are seen by some as lacking the conversational ability and language processing skills of more advanced AI chatbots.

Info Content

  • AI chatbots simulate human to human conversations or “chat” on websites and messaging apps. They can engage with visitors or customers through text or text-to-speech.
  • The best AI chatbots combine NLP, NLU, NLG and ML to deliver natural conversation flows across a number of communication channels. This omnichannel approach means that a business can take customer service, sales and marketing strategies to new levels of automation and engagement. 

Artificially intelligent chatbots can be deployed on website landing pages, mobile apps, and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. 

  • AI chatbots can bring significant benefits to business. Around-the-clock automation and customer care not only boost operational efficiency but also reduce the cost of human resources.

Business response times in our “always on” culture are critical if a business wishes to stay competitive. AI chatbots can resolve many customer service issues instantly and without the need for human intervention.

AI chatbots are customizable and scalable to any business size. In business terms, AI chatbots are often perceived as “differentiators”, in that their unique benefits can quickly distinguish a business from its competition.

  • AI chatbots are invaluable sales and marketing tools. Automation combined with omnichannel presence means that a conversational bot can capture and qualify leads, convert, and provide the necessary analytics needed to keep business growing.
  • Deployment on social media and messaging apps means that AI chatbots carry a brand message while never losing sight of predefined strategic goals.

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