Top 10 Chatbot Platforms

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As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more commonplace, one of the most visible results is the proliferation of chatbots. Visit any website, and the chances are good that you will have the opportunity to interact with a bot that can answer your questions and attempt to sell you products and services.

In order to serve this burgeoning market, a huge crop of startups offers chatbot software. If you're considering purchasing a chatbot platform, you should know that the quality and features of the available options vary widely — more than in other, more mature software segments — so organizations will need to make sure they do their homework before buying.

The good news is that most chatbot platforms are inexpensive and easy to turn on and off, so if one platform doesn't suit your needs, it's easy to switch to a different option. In addition, most vendors offer either a free pricing tier or a free trial.

The list below includes ten of the best chatbot platforms available, which you might want to consider for your organization.

How to Select Chatbot Platform

Because chatbot platforms vary so much, comparing apples to apples can be very difficult. Here are some tips to keep in mind while shopping around:

  • Start by clarifying your goals. Do you want a chatbot that captures lead information or a chatbot that reduces the workload for your customer service team? Is branding a key part of your efforts? Or maybe you want the chatbot to clinch the sale? Different chatbots are designed to serve different purposes, so being clear on what you want can help shorten the selection process.
  • Check for integrations. Make sure your chatbot will integrate with the platforms and software that matter to your organization. Many are based on Facebook Messenger, and many offer APIs to integrate with other tools. You'll want to check to see how easy those integrations really are before you commit too much time an energy to creating a bot.
  • Try before you buy. Some chatbots are just more human-like than others, and you won't really know for sure until you have interacted with a bot created by the software you are evaluating. You'll also want to try out the chatbot builder to see how easy and intuitive it is.

With that advice in mind, here are ten of today's best chatbot software options, with pros and cons for each. (Note that the list is arranged in alphabetical order; this is not a ranking.)

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Best Chatbot Platforms

Ada

Founded in 2014, Ada is a startup headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with more than 100 employees. It reports 300% year-over-year growth and has raised an estimated $60.6 million in funding from investors like Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Version One Ventures, and Leaders Fund. Its customers include Coinbase, Upwork, Telus, Air Asia, Rogers Bank, Wattpad, and Scotts.

The Ada platform aims to solve 80% of customer inquiries without the need for human intervention. Key features include support for more than 100 languages, incorporated emojis, integrated images and video, randomized greetings, no code platform, conditional logic, analytics and more. It also integrates with many popular customer service tools like Zendesk, Salesforce, Hubspot and Shopify.

Ada does not disclose pricing on its website, but it does offer a free demo.

Pros

  • Ada's no-code interface makes it easy to build and train bots.
  • The company's customer support gets high marks from reviewers.
  • Support for multiple languages is helpful for global companies.

Cons

  • Organizations sometimes experience issues integrating Ada with their other customer service tools.
  • Some customers found Ada's pricing to be high.
  • Ada isn't as full-featured as some other chatbots, but its capabilities are expanding quickly.

Botsify

Headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan, Botsify was founded in 2016 as a chatbot for the Facebook Messenger platform. It has since expanded to also offer website, SMS, and Slack chatbots. It boasts more than 8,000 customers including Optcl, Jackson College, AutoBahn Indoor Speedway and Events, and others. It has raised an estimated $30,000 in funding.

Botsify supports more than 190 languages and integrates with Alexa, WordPress and Zapier. It has a unique "conversational forms" feature that helps with lead generation. Building a Botsify chatbot does not require any coding knowledge. The company also offers an interesting guarantee: "Guaranteed 50% customer support automation in just 2 months, or we work for free until we achieve it!"

Botsify offers a free 14-day trial. After that, the Personal Plan costs $49 per month, Professional Plan $149 per month, and Business Plan $499 per month. It also sells dedicated chatbot development services and custom plans.

Pros

  • Botsify's conversational forms feature is handy for organizations that want to use their chatbot for lead generation.
  • Organizations that do a lot of marketing through Facebook will be attracted to the company's Messenger expertise.
  • The Botsify guarantee is fairly unique in the industry.

Cons

  • Botsify's user base isn't as large as some of the options available.
  • The tool is more suited to small businesses than large enterprises.
  • It will take some time to learn how to use the tool.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel is another chatbot with deep Facebook integration. Founded in 2015, the company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It has an impressive customer list that includes Lego, Levi's, Netflix, Pizza Hut, T-Mobile, Trivago, Visa, the Golden State Warriors, Ford, Hello Fresh, Addidas, and others. It has raised approximately $120,000 in funding.

This chatbot boasts that it powers more than a billion conversations per month. Like many of the other options on this list, it requires no coding expertise. The company also offers a variety of pre-built templates that can speed up the process of getting your chatbot up and running. It also integrates with some ecommerce tools like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Chatfuel is free for up to 50 users. The Pro version costs $15 per month; prices for the Premium version are available on request.

Pros

  • Chatfuel is very affordable compared to other chatbot software.
  • The pre-build templates are very helpful, particularly for small businesses.
  • Its customer list includes a lot of well-known brand names.

Cons

  • Botsify works only on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram; you can't use it for your website or other platforms.
  • The user interface is a bit clunky compared to other options.
  • This chatbot also lacks some of the features that more expensive options offer.

Drift

While most of the chatbot platforms focus on the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, Drift targets business-to-business (B2B) companies. Its customers include GitHub, Snowflake, PureStorage, Informatica, TIBCO, EllieMae, Grubhub, Tenable, Rapid 7, Marketo and many others. It was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2015, and it has raised an estimated $107 million in funding.

Drift describes itself as a "revenue acceleration program." It focuses on "conversational marketing," which encompasses email, live chat, SMS, video and voice, as well as the company's chatbot services. Its chatbot is designed to qualify sales leads and includes features like automatic meeting booking, lead routing, integration with marketing automation systems and more.

Drift offers a free plan, but it does not disclose pricing for its paid plans on its website.

Pros

  • The Drift chatbot is integrated into a larger engagement platform.
  • Drift is one of the few chatbots targeted at the B2B space.
  • The firm has extensive experience with technology companies.

Cons

  • Some customers say that the Drift platform still has some bugs to work out.
  • The tool isn't good at handling complex or custom needs.
  • It takes a while to learn to use it.

Flow XO

Founded in 2014, Flow XO has its headquarters in Padiham, UK. The company is privately held and doesn't disclose much information about its customers, earnings or venture capital funding.

Flow XO focuses on ease of use. It requires no coding expertise and integrates with a long, long list of platforms and tools, including Adobe Document Cloud, Basecamp 2, FreshDesk, GitHub, Google, Jira, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, Office365, Quickbooks, Salesforce, Trello, Twilio, Twitter, YouTube, Zendesk and Zoho. Key features include lead filtering, humor, payment acceptance and the ability to switch to live chat as necessary.

This chatbot platform offers a free plan that includes 5 bots and 500 interactions. The standard plan costs $19 per month, with additional bots and interactions available as add-ons.

Pros

  • Flow XO integrates with a lot of popular platforms and tools, and it is a really good option if you want to build a single chatbot and deploy it in many places.
  • This tool is one of the less expensive options available.
  • It's also one of the easiest chatbot platforms to use.

Cons

  • Flow XO doesn't have the same complex features that some other chatbot software offers.
  • Testimonials and reviews about the product are much harder to come by than for other options.
  • It can't handle very long conversations.

ItsAlive

ItsAlive is a chatbot for Facebook Messenger that boasts Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Universal and others among its customers. Founded in 2016, its headquarters is in Paris, France.

Like many of the other chatbot platforms, ItsAlive requires no coding expertise to build your own bot. However, if you need or want assistance, the company also offers chatbot building services to help you get the most out of the platform. Key features include KPI-based reporting, deployment to multiple Facebook pages at once, optimization capabilities, broadcasting and more. It also integrates with a number of services, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Google Sheets, Instagram, MailChimp, YouTube, WordPress, Slack and more.

The free tier of ItsAlive offers one chatbot and 1,000 monthly messages. The company also offers Solo ($19 per month), Plus ($49 per month), Pro ($99 per month) and Enterprise (price varies) plans.

Pros

  • ItsAlive's bot creation services could be helpful for organizations that are new to chatbots.
  • The platform integrates with a lot of other tools, and an API is also available to connect your bot to your other applications.
  • The tiered pricing lets organizations pay for the level of service they need.

Cons

  • ItsAlive doesn't have quite as many features as some of the other options.
  • Some reviewers have commented that ItsAlive's testing capabilities could be improved.
  • It will be less useful for organizations that don't use Facebook and Messenger as part of their marketing plans.

LivePerson

LivePerson advertises that it offers "the world's first AI-powered Conversational Cloud." One of the older chatbot companies on the list, it was founded in 1995. Its headquarters is in New York City, and it has raised $42.3 million in funding. LivePerson's customers include The Home Depot, Virgin Atlantic, IBM, Vodafone and others.

LivePerson's Conversational Cloud includes Intent Manager for discovering customer intentions, Conversation Builder for chatbot design, Conversation Manager for managing chatbot interactions with customers and Conversation Analytics for reporting. It supports app, web, voice, social, email, and third-party messaging capabilities. It integrates with CRM systems and other enterprise software, and promises enterprise-grade security.

LivePerson does not disclose pricing on its website.

Pros

  • LivePerson is one of the most full-featured chatbot solutions available.
  • It supports a lot of different platforms.
  • It offers agent assistance capabilities to help live customer service staff improve their customer interactions.

Cons

  • LivePerson seems to be one of the more expensive options available.
  • Quite a few customers have complained that LivePerson's customer service is poor.
  • Some customers have complained that it was difficult to cancel their LivePerson service when they were dissatisfied.

ManyChat

Founded in 2015, ManyChat makes its home in San Francisco, California. Like several other options on the list, it is based on the Facebook Messenger platform. It has raised an estimated $23.1 million in funding.

This chatbot platform focuses on sales and marketing and works closely with marketing agencies. It even has a list of recommended agencies on its website. It offers pre-built templates (for an additional charge), and it integrates with many platforms and tools, including SMS, Shopify, Google Sheets, Zapier, HubSpot, MailChimp, Stripe, PayPal and others.

ManyChat is one of the least expensive chatbot platforms available. It has a Free tier and a Pro tier, which costs $10 per month.

Pros

  • ManyChat's pricing is much lower than many other options.
  • Its pre-built templates can be helpful in common marketing situations.
  • It integrates with many popular ecommerce and marketing tools.

Cons

  • ManyChat doesn't have as many features as some other options.
  • It is most useful for companies that use Facebook heavily.
  • Its interface is not as user-friendly as some of the other options.

MobileMonkey

Boston, Massachusetts-based MobileMonkey was founded in 2017 by Larry Kim, who has won a number of awards related to marketing. The startup's customers include Car Loans Canada, Technosetbee, Lincoln Davies Building Supply, Sacred Movements, and other small businesses. Financial information about the firm was not available.

The MobileMonkey platform supports Facebook Messenger, native Web chat and SMS. It has an agency partner program and an affiliate program. And it integrates with a very long list of applications, including Google Sheets, Gmail, Slack, Twitter, MailChimp, Trello, Instagram, Hubspot, Dropbox and hundreds of others. Also, the chatbot on its web page starts conversations by telling jokes, which is a nice touch, even though the jokes are corny.

MobileMonkey has four pricing tiers: Free, Pro ($14.25 per month), Pro Unicorn ($36.75 per month), and Team ($299 per month). It also offers consulting services at $449 for three hours, $779 for six hours, and $1,399 for twelve hours.

Pros

  • MobileMonkey integrates with more than 1,000 different platforms and applications.
  • It is focused on the needs of small businesses.
  • They have a very helpful Facebook support group.

Cons

  • MobileMonkey doesn't have as many features as some other options.
  • The product changes frequently, so customers will constantly need to learn new things — but they also are getting new features.
  • Some customers say they wish the lower-priced options supported more Facebook pages and users.

TARS

Serving customers like DHL, American Express, Daimler, Honda, and the University of California, TARS is chatbot software for large enterprises. Headquartered in Bangalore, India, it was founded in 2015. Financial information about the company was not available.

TARS offers solutions for the insurance, mortgage, real estate, legal, healthcare and education sectors. It supports WhatsApp chatbots and features a drag-and-drop builder, natural language processing, conditional logic, rich media, integration with many CRM systems, and more than 950 chatbot templates.

TARS offers a Professional plan for $99 per month, a Business plan for $499 per month, and Custom plans with prices that vary. It also has a free 14-day trial. It's worth noting that although TARS is more expensive than some other options, the price includes the TARS staff creating some chatbots for you.

Pros

  • TARS has a huge library of templates, which can reduce the amount of time it takes to create a chatbot.
  • Depending on which plan you choose, the company will create one or three chatbots for you to help you get started.
  • TARS gets excellent ratings from customers.

Cons

  • TARS is one of the more expensive chatbot options.
  • Its WhatsApp focus may not suit some businesses using other platforms.
  • The company doesn't offer much documentation to help customers learn how to use its tools.

Chatbot Software Comparison Table

Chatbot Software

Pros

Cons

Ada

·   No-code platform

·   Great customer service

·   Support for 100+ languages

·   Integration difficulties

·   High price

·   Limited features

Botsify

·   Conversational forms

·   Facebook Messenger integration

·   Unique guarantee

·   Small user base

·   Lack of enterprise support

·   Requires time to learn

Chatfuel

·   Inexpensive

·   Pre-built templates

·   Impressive customer list

·   Limited platform support

·   Clunky interface

·   Limited features

Drift

·   Integrated into a larger conversational platform

·   Designed for B2B

·   Popular with tech firms

·   Buggy

·   Not good for complex tasks

·   Requires time to learn

Flow XO

·   Lots of integrations

·   Inexpensive

·   Easy to use

·   Can't handle complex tasks

·   Few reviews and testimonials

·   Can't handle long conversations

ItsAlive

·   Bot creation services

·   Lots of integrations

·   Tiered pricing

·   Limited features

·   Limited testing capabilities

·   Messenger-only

LivePerson

·   Full-featured

·   Support for multiple platforms

·   Agent assistance

·   Expensive

·   Poor customer service

·   Difficult to cancel

ManyChat

·   Inexpensive

·   Pre-built templates

·   Lots of integrations

·   Limited features

·   Messenger-only

·   Clunky interface

Mobile Monkey

·   More than 1,000 integrations

·   Small business focus

·   Helpful support

·   Limited features

·   Requires constant learning

·   Limited capabilities for low-cost tiers

TARS

·   Huge template library

·   Create chatbots for you

·   Excellent ratings

·   Expensive

·   WhatsApp-focused

·   Limited documentation



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