It’s estimated that by 2020, 80% of all brands will be using chatbots for their customer interactions. If your company has yet to integrate this technology in your website, there’s never been a better—or more important—time to start.
Below are a number of the industry’s leading chatbot platforms, organized by category, to help you find the right solution for your company.
True Website Chatbots
The first category of chatbots are those that are true website-based bots: automated systems that are designed to engage the user via your website and help you qualify leads and improve your customer experience.
Drift bills itself as “the world’s first and only
conversational marketing platform.” One of the main goals of Drift was to create a chatbot that—rather than replacing it—would enhance human interaction.
Writing on Drift’s blog, Erik Devaney explains:
“Driftbot, for example, acts sort of like an intelligent switchboard for live chat. It asks you questions not so it can attempt to resolve your issue on its own, but so it can figure out who the best human is for you to talk to. Then it connects you to that human as quickly as possible.”
Drift also automates the process of booking meetings for your sales teams, and can recognize VIPs and welcome them when they visit your site.
This makes Drift an ideal option for companies who are looking to screen prospective customers based on interest and likely conversion, as well as companies that want to improve their customer support experience.
HubSpot Chatbot Builder, aka HubBot
HubSpot is already a well-known name in the realm of inbound marketing and sales, and with the development of their chatbot technology, they’re also making inroads into this arena.
Bundled as part of HubSpot’s CRM, Chatbot builder is dubbed as an easy way to “create bots that help you qualify leads, book meetings, provide answers to common customer support questions, and more.”
Like Drift, HubBot ties into your sales team’s calendar, books appointments, and even includes bot templates to help you quickly get started customizing your bot to your needs without requiring in-depth coding skills.
Similar to Drift and HubBot, Intercom is designed to engage your customers at every step of the way, from acquiring them to providing them with ongoing support.
Like the previous options, Intercom gives you the ability to set criteria to engage customers based on interest, time spent on the website, and more. Plus, you can schedule meetings, integrate with your CRM, and measure metrics to see how well your sales and support efforts are progressing.
Despite countless proclamations of its imminent demise, email usage continues to be as strong as ever. In fact, email users are expected to grow to 4.3 billion users in 2022, up from 3.7 billion in 2017.
For many businesses, email continues to be one of—if not THE—dominant form of communication, both internally and with their customers. As a result, chatbots focusing on email integration are an attractive option for many companies.
The leader in email chatbots, Conversica is an AI-powered sales assistant designed to work with any email system or CRM. The virtual assistant is designed to go beyond simple keyword analysis. Instead, the software tries to ascertain the meaning behind the entire message and respond accordingly. This enables the assistant to engage in real conversations with customers, saying the right thing at the right time.
Conversica is easy to set up. You select a name for the AI persona, their title, work hours, and what kind of leads it will respond to. Once it’s active, the assistant helps qualify leads, set up appointments, and connects them with a human who can help when the lead has progressed to that point.
Companies looking to maximize their Facebook marketing efforts should consider a chatbot designed to integrate with Facebook Messenger.
ManyChat is designed to help you grow your Messenger subscribers and can be used for marketing, sales, and support. The service also includes a drag-and-drop bot builder to help you get up and running in two minutes—without coding.
Like other chatbot options, ManyChat can notify you when a live person is needed, whether it be because of the challenging nature of the questions or to complete a high-dollar sale.
Live Chat Options
While not chatbots, there are a number of live chat options that some companies may still find an attractive alternative. Rather than an automated system, these solutions focus on the human element. Even when they do offer an automated chatbot, it’s usually not the focus of the service, but a fill-in option for when a human is not available. In other words, true chatbots are designed as an integral first step in sales and service, whereas live chat services tend to relegate chatbots to the role of a backup option.
That’s not to say that they don’t offer any kind of chatbot support, but it is very minimal, designed to merely capture information when an agent is not available.
Like SnapEngage, Olark offers very minimal chatbot functionality, mainly focused on greeting visitors when they first arrive at your website. Unlike true chatbots, Olark’s offerings are not designed to engage in back-and-forth communication with your visitors, with the focus being squarely on human interaction.
Another company with a decidedly human-centric approach is LiveChat. With live support, help desk, and web analytics capabilities, LiveChat does include the ability to integrate a custom chatbot, but live, human-based chat is clearly the focus.
Choosing the Right Option
As with most things in life, there is no perfect one-size-fits-all option that is best for everyone. Instead, you must clearly know what capabilities you need, as well as what role you want chatbots to play in your company’s sales and service teams. Each of the products listed in this article are widely used, with companies large and small around the world relying on them on a daily basis.
For companies wanting as much automation as possible in a website-based chatbot, Drift is an excellent place to start. Companies who are already using HubSpot’s other marketing services may find it easier to integrate HubBot. For companies who rely primarily on email for their sales process, Conversica offers an unrivaled experience.
Whatever your company’s needs, there’s a chatbot solution that’s right for you.
Are you looking to implement a new conversational engagement strategy for your website – for your customers? We’d love to help.
Schedule a time for us to talk and strategize a better experience.