There is an abundant number of chatbot providers in the market that offer a wide range of solutions.
Furthermore, chatbots appear in any service that requires human interaction. They are able to focus on different aspects of a business and can be integrated into any modern industry.
But in case you’ve never noticed their existence, then that is probably because a chatbot provider has done a great job of seamlessly integrating a bot into business operations.
However, for someone sifting through chatbot providers, it is quite easy to become intimidated by the sheer number available. We are not just talking about prices and general API offerings.
We are talking about optimization, choosing one out of many platforms, and implementing the most efficient chatbot for its targeted purpose.
Thankfully, there are a few choices that do stand out. Some of them are old, some are new. But all are capable of fitting into most chatbot needs of any business or organizational entity today.
Indicators Used to Rate Chatbot Providers
Before we begin, let’s briefly review the qualities we should be looking for in chatbot providers:
- Coding is simple and easy – or may not be required at all, if possible.
- Eloquence and tact – are mostly determined by how well its foundational AI is built.
- Multi-platform – perhaps already default today, but still doing a double-check.
- Multilingual – largely depends on the business scale, but it helps in the future just in case.
- Straightforward analytics – should be easy to read and visualize for future improvements
- Wide options for data collection – for platform integration, adding to analytics, etc.
- Good customer service – pretty self-explanatory. Able to respond or assist with any issues you may have.
Finally, the price must reflect the value being offered by the chatbot solution.
(NOTE: The entries listed here are provided as basic examples of what you should expect for each component of your chatbot’s overall objectives. It is not intended as a “best of the best” list.)
Chatbots that are Simple and Intuitive
This should give you an idea of which chatbots may provide the most accessible interface for the least amount of prior technical knowledge.
This chatbot provider circles around the main theme of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The service essentially injects a very simple chatbot into a website, programmed only to ask queries, save responses, and potentially generate leads.
As rudimentary as this sounds, most of the time such a level of interaction (or integration) is usually enough to gather huge amounts of user data from users. This is especially true if the queries are not as annoying as advertisements, to begin with.
You get the traditional notification loadouts as well, to keep you up-to-date on its daily activities.
Easy to use, super affordable, and utilizes a tutorial-friendly button-based decision tree for its workflow.
It’s true that integration with other word input media can feel too simplistic. But for the most part, it has the NLP processing prowess and great handover decision capability if the chatbot is designed properly.
Incidentally, Smartloop also gets record chops from other chatbot reviewers for previously being the primary chatbot choice by National Geographic, when it first designed its simple and straightforward trivia chatbot app.
A zero-code, unscripted chatbot for large-scale/enterprise applications that is mainly used for developing customer interactions, using an answer-building process that feels like fiddling with standard GUI.
It also has all of the basic contextual analysis features in one neat package so that your AI can easily learn from customer speech patterns and keep its responses dynamic.
While still relatively affordable, one notable downside of its services is that some paid/premium features of Ada are actually provided for free with other chatbot providers (like its calendar interfacing features, for example).
Chatbots That Can be Built and Launched Fast
Designing the chatbot to be comprehensive should always be considered a later upgrade option. Once a decision is made to use chatbots, the first priority is to cover all the simplest human interaction tasks, and to get it up and running (stably) as soon as possible.
trekking straight into the path of management and delivery, its chatbot system as a whole (builder + platform) makes it perfect for lower-end businesses and organizations. It is adequately easy to create with, easy to operate (as a single owner), and most importantly, cheap.
In addition, even if you do encounter design or implementation troubles along the way, its robust customer support can help you get back on track in no time.
Do take note though, of the minor inconvenience of being unable to copy/paste multiple blocks on its builder, as well as the lack of survey-based user analytics.
While Smartloop and Ada may have sufficed for this next category, Pandorabots ups the ante with its pre-made code for various “small talk” interactions. Not only does this make it easier to build, but it also makes it pass the assembly line quite faster.
Do note that this isn’t your typical code-free service, as it requires an entire dev team to push for its features. Still, within its technical category, it is considered one of the most efficient by many users. It can also pretty much integrate itself into every chat application known to man.
Team-based features are the best thing that this chatbot provider can offer, as it is already hard-baked into the workflow designer itself (which is also as intuitive/code-free as others on this list, by the way).
Other perks are quite nice, such as Alexa + Google Assistant support, default voice chatbot options, and the option to combine local and third-party NLP. However, none of these is special or exclusive to Xenioo.
Its services come as scalable, pre-set plans, with the lowest provided for free, though its highest, at an enterprise level, requires fees to be discussed first.
Dynamic Multi-Platform Chatbots
Not strictly required, but the bonus of being available on multiple platforms should be obvious to anyone. This includes both customer service chat services and business communication platforms.
Having the same powerful product portfolio as Chatfuel, this provider has earned its reputation as one of the long-time players in zero-coding, multi-platform, and overview-based chatbot building.
Its GUI can be a bit overwhelming, but nothing too confusing. Besides, remembering menus is definitely an easier mental investment than trying to code yourself. Perhaps Botsify’s most notable feature is its comparatively cheap service cost.
If you don’t feel like paying up straight away, a 14-day trial period can help you decide on its offerings or not.
Creates some of the most convincingly interactive chatbots within the industry, thanks to its decades+ worth of chat data gathering.
Much like other chatbot providers offering pre-built “small talk” templates, it helps speed up the implementation of chatbots by not having to create its workflow from scratch.
This is further augmented with improvements suggested from performance analytics, with both AI and real human experts offering suggestions as to how to optimize the chatbot further.
There is a reason why they still claim themselves as the world’s first when it comes to cloud-based conversational AI!
Chatbots for Large Scale Operations
One exception to Route B is when the scale of operations becomes large. At this level, stability and reliability take center stage, though the chatbot should still remain relatively simple in design for quicker implementation.
A customer support operations specialist, this chatbot provider ensures your chatbots are able to provide information in real time through any communication medium possible.
Combine that with the natural design of these services into multilingual contexts, and you’ve got a very powerful platform that can be used effectively on any other third-party service (that is related to customer support).
As a bonus, its Business Intelligence Tool will also provide quantitative representations of your chatbot’s performance for future redesign and improvement.
Exclusively offered for enterprise-level applications. This is one of the chatbot providers that integrates not just on communication platforms but also directly to other industries as well.
This means that if a business entity combines two or more industries in its operation, the platform can still work at each end.
Implementation is made even easier with its “plug-and-play” quick deploy approach and outstanding analytics, refining the chatbot in a shorter amount of time.
As with most enterprise solutions, there is no set price and needs to be negotiated first.
Not a direct chatbot provider per se, but offers indirect solutions that can aid chatbots. While it mostly deals with typical online services like blog design, domain hosting, or setting up Google AdSense, it offers several deals and promos to help kickstart your chatbot system.
You might be able to use a specific provider for several months without charge (best for full-service tests), or just straight enjoy discounts on very competitive service deals.
As a bonus, you can also rummage through its article archives for different strategies to maximize the chatbot provider plans you made.
Chatbots With Laser-Focused Specialty
This is for other chatbot providers that may want to simplify deployment and implementation to the most popularly used communication platforms online.
Sometimes, you only need to take advantage of that single most popular platform on Earth to succeed. Facebook is hardly the best, but it is so massively popular that you can develop a chatbot exclusively for that platform.
What exactly does Mobile Monkey do with its Facebook-optimized chatbots? Customer support and lead generation, with manual turnovers to human operators also possible.
Best of all, there is a free version available, though of course, it is significantly limited in features. But hey, WordPress integration is at least still technically available.
Templates may be the game for Chatfuel, but the list of features being offered provides nothing out of the ordinary.
Instead, its forte is in combining those templates with a block system and coupling it with a stacked library of pre-written keywords and phrases.
The result is the potential to develop a fully-functional chatbot that can utilize the platform effectively even at an early design phase.
So why is it in this category? Well, it’s primarily optimized only for Facebook and Instagram.
Part of the suite of user engagement solutions offered by Freshworks, it essentially embodies how simple and direct sales-focused chatbots can be.
While a well-designed chatbot with its platform can interact to a “smart” degree, it usually is just enough to lead customers to a suggested action.
Like other very competitive lower-cost chatbot providers, its free tier may actually be used by small-scale businesses and not just to be spun around as a demo.
One notable consistent issue is its notification system (on the designer side), which isn’t real-time, and takes several minutes to update.
Other Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Chatbot Providers
To a lesser extent, backup and upgrade options may also be considered when choosing between competitive chatbot providers specializing in the same industries.
With optional backup, you could always roll back a bit to previously implemented design or refer to older, archived analytics for additional reference in the event of potential mishaps in management or even in a worst-case security breach scenario.
Of course, upgrading is for when your business or organization drastically increases in scale (and no longer fully benefits from the limited options of your smaller service package).
As for navigating the remaining sea of options, just as customers always say for other data services like web hosting: Evaluate your exact needs. Even a company as big as Lego can get away with using a (relatively) small-scale chatbot platform like Chatfuel. Why?
Because it doesn’t really need to go big on its automated response systems. Don’t hesitate to fall back on a human operator immediately if your system is optimized in that direction.