Last updated on July, 27

🏆 Best Chatbot Software for August 2021

Make your site user-friendly and easy-to use by using chatbots. They aid in gathering important information, customer service, and marketing strategies.

What is a chatbot software? 

A chatbot, short for “chatterbot,” is a software that simulates the conversation or "chatter" of a human being with a natural language through text or voice interactions—specifically through messaging apps, websites, mobile apps, or telephones. Chatbots are in dialogue systems for customer service, information gathering, and other marketing purposes.

Why do you need chatbot software? 

No human can work 24/7, but all chatbots can. Chatbot software has the ability to attend to customers at all hours every day—even simultaneously—and they are not limited by time or location. While nothing can replace a true human interaction and function in business-to-consumer and business-to-business environments, a chatbot software can surely make things easier

24/7 Customer Service

Research shows that 82% of today’s consumers demand an immediate answer to their question. With chatbot software, they allow companies to respond to consumer queries  and any time of the day, giving a high satisfaction to consumers.

Cost Less Than Apps

High-quality apps that run on different operating systems cost a lot to develop. Though the cost of developing a high-quality chatbot through system software is not cheap either, however, it is still not as expensive as building an app. Through chatbot software, you can save more money and use it for other business investments

Save Money on Human Labor

If chatbots can reduce the number of human agents needed for customer services, businesses can have big savings. Also, it will give business owners more chances to improve the business itself.

Automation of Repetitive Work

There are some basic questions that users generally ask for any industry type. And for these specific questions, the same specific answers are required to be given every time a customer makes a similar query. These repetitive exchanges of questions and answers may be exhausting for human employees, but not for chatbots. They provide automatic responses to general questions. Thus, reducing manual human labor.

Save Human Resource for Qualitative Tasks

For humans, it sometimes gets boring and tiring to answer repetitive questions or do repetitive tasks. That’s why hiring a chatbot for these purposes is better because the human resources can be freed from such jobs and should be employed towards more productive business tasks.

Easy to Use

Chatbots’ interfaces are so simple. It’s just like having a conversation with your friend on the other end of the line. It allows easy communication between a business and a consumer, thus, also allowing better customer engagements and an increase in sales.

Can Multitask

Chatbots are not limited to the number of customers they can talk to, and they can have conversations simultaneously. They can respond to customers’ queries without putting anyone on hold; this means that they can talk to more people and give more efficient services to them

Generate Leads

Chatbots can convert visitors into customers. They make it quick and easy for consumers to find what they are looking for, turning visitors into time-sensitive leads. Businesses don’t have to wait anymore for the consumer to fill out and submit a contact form and wait for a response. This way, potential clients are reached immediately, anytime, and anywhere.

Offer Straightforward Services

Most of the time, consumers prefer short and direct interactions with businesses in regards to their needs. A well-optimized chatbot communicates only the essentials and does not overwhelm the user.

Build Brand Trust

Being there for your customers and helping them immediately with their needs helps build trust for your brand. Chatbots are often the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand, making it the perfect opportunity to educate them about your products and services. Chatbots give a positive impression that can lead to a powerful bond between the consumer and your brand.

Core features of chatbot software

Chatbots have many functions. From customer service to marketing, they could be a lot of help to a business. But not all chatbots are created equally. There are specific qualities and functionalities that allow chatbots to have the broadest impact both on your business costs and customer experience. To maximize its use and gain more benefits for your business, below are the features you should look for in chatbot software.

Conversational Maturity

Conversations are at the core of every chatbot, and a good chatbot has specific Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities to understand the context of a conversation. It can also identify the intent of a question to provide an accurate initial response, and also suggest options to confirm or clarify intent. For example, if you ask a chatbot to find a location, it will not only show you different routes but also provide you with suggestions on which kind of vehicle you can ride to get there and compare the travel times.

Omnichannel

Chatbots are not limited to one channel. It can be used simultaneously throughout a variety of channels (mobile apps, social media platforms, etc.). They are built with an omnichannel approach in mind, allowing users to engage wherever it is most convenient. Chatbots converse seamlessly across multiple digital channels and retain data and context for a seamless experience.

Simple UI/UX 

One of the reasons chatbots are used by businesses is to give convenience to customers. And this convenience can be given through a simple user interface and a great user experience. Chatbots are usually text-driven, sometimes having images and widgets, which makes a smooth start for customer interaction. The simple interface and easy-to-use features make a chatbot effortless to use.

Integrates with Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

You can't improve your business if you can't measure it. Chatbots can be integrated with critical systems and manage workflows inside and outside of a CRM system. This allows you to improve your analytics and reporting on client information, responses, and queries; monitor your business progress, and keep track of important business interactions.

Prediction

Chatbots have the ability to predict and anticipate a customer’s needs before they are even asked. They are made to drive the conversation forward and to give relative suggestions to customers’ needs. Chatbots keep the user updated and help them move forward without burdening them with irrelevant information

Privacy and Security

Conversations with a chatbot include personal data and sensitive information from both the business and the customer. And a company’s’ utmost priority should be protecting the users' privacy and keeping the data secure. Chatbot software comes with security and data protection measures to ensure effective and credible conversations with users.

Brand Representation

Chatbots can be a crucial part of your business because they serve as front liners to your customers. With this, you have to ensure that your brand is represented properly. Using chatbot software allows every aspect of the chat experience to be customizable to ensure that you maintain maximum control over your branding.

Types of chatbot software

Simple or Rule-Based Chatbots

Simple or rule-based chatbots can answer questions based on a predefined set of rules that are embedded into them. This type of chatbot has limited capabilities and is task-specific, it also means that these chatbots will have a pre-defined knowledge base and technical capabilities that can aptly respond only to specific instructions. In this case, the queries must be aligned with the language programmed in the chatbot. These chatbots are best suited for straightforward dialogues like using it for your business’ frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Pro #1: Faster to Program

This type of chatbot is built on a conditional if/then basis, which makes them simpler to train, and they can take action based on the outcome of the conditional statements. Once data (questions and answers) are inputted in the chatbot software, they are then used to understand customer problems and then provide solutions. These chatbots can be easily implemented because the set of rules that they need for them to function are stored easily in their system.

Pro #2: Straightforward

These chatbots cannot learn on their own and they will just provide the answers that the companies want them to provide. Since rule-based chatbots cannot self-learn, this ensures that they will provide consistent customer service, giving customers short and direct answers to their queries and not overwhelming them with unnecessary information.

Pro #3: Less Expensive and Less Time-Consuming

Training of rule-based chatbots is easy and reduces implementation costs. Knowing that this type of chatbot provides a simple service with limited functionalities, it will surely consume less budget and it will be built in no time. Thus, enabling the faster implementation of your chatbot and making your business benefit from it in no time

Con #1: Limited Capacity

Rule-based chatbots just stick to what they know and they don’t usually go beyond what they are taught. This type of chatbot has very limited capacity in terms of addressing complex problems and queries, which can lead to dissatisfaction, uninterest, and possible loss of customers

Con #2: Static

These chatbots are not designed to learn and become smarter over time. Though a rule-based chatbot can be built with very simple to more complicated rules, however, they can’t answer any questions outside of the defined rules. They do not learn through interactions and only perform and work within scenarios for which they are trained for. This type of chatbot is static and hence cannot be improved or updated much.

Con #3: Difficult to Maintain

Rule-based chatbots can be embedded with information from conversational patternsas time passes. However, it becomes a challenge for developers to embed everypossible scenario into these rule-based chatbots. Although rule-based chatbots can bequickly implemented, they can also be hard to maintain after a certain length of timewith more and more information being added to its rule-based system.

Smart or Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Powered Chatbots

Smart or AI-powered chatbots are designed to mimic near-human interactions with customers. They can have free-flowing conversations and understand customer intent, language, and sentiment. These chatbots require programming to help them understand the context of interactions. This type of chatbot responds with adequate suggestions on the topic with the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP), they have the ability to understand the client’s language and the requirements of the user even if their queries are not-so-specific. AI-powered chatbots are more context-driven and responsive as they interact and make decisions based on user information and user interactions. Unlike rule-based chatbots,  AI-powered chatbots learn as they go.

Pro #1: Self-Learning Ability

AI-powered chatbots are self-learning bots that are programmed with Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning. Though it takes a long time to train and build an AI-powered chatbot, they can save a lot of time and money in the long run. The use of these chatbots works well with companies that have a lot of data as they can self-learn from those data

Pro #2: Don’t Need to be Updated Regularly

In line with its self-learning ability, this type of chatbot can stand alone and doesn’t need to be maintained and updated regularly. AI-powered chatbots can be programmed to understand different languages and can address personalized communication challenges, thus, they can work on their own and they don’t need to be updated after a certain interval of time.

Pro #3: Deep Learning Ability

Deep learning is an artificial intelligence (AI) function that imitates the workings of the human brain in processing data and creating patterns for use in decision making. With the use of deep learning, AI-powered chatbots can learn to read and understand the emotions of a customer. These chatbots can interact with the customers based on their language, mood, and emotion. With constant learning, this type of chatbot can help provide personalized customer service to enhance customer engagement. Since they can handle customer queries without human interaction required, they can be deployed for 24/7 customer service.

Con #2: Not Perfect

Though AI-powered chatbots provide near-human experience, it still cannot make them understand the full context of human interactions. Since these chatbots cannot understand the full human context, they communicate with everyone in the same way, regardless of age or gender.

 Con #3: Inaccurate Decision-Making

The self-learning ability of AI-powered chatbots might seem helpful to businesses but it can sometimes also cause trouble. This type of chatbot doesn’t possess an accurate decision-making quality, thus, they can learn something that they are not supposed to which can cause misunderstanding and harm to the customer they are talking to.

Con #4: Cost

With the AI-powered chatbots’ more complex features and functionalities, it also comes at a bigger cost. This type of chatbots can nearly serve as another human staff programmed for a specific job, which it can absolutely do on its own, so it somehow requires another paycheck. This is not recommended if your business is running on a low budget.

Who needs a chatbot software?

Travel, Hospitality, Tourism, and Transportation Companies

These types of companies operate 24/7, so chatbots can do a great deal for them. Chatbots can give these companies the benefits of engaging closely with their audiences, anticipate their needs, give recommendations on nearby locations, offer automated room, travel, and transportation services, and 24/7 customer service.

E-Commerce and Retail Companies

The ability to communicate directly with customers is crucial when your goal is to sell products and services. Chatbots can manage to substantially increase company revenues over a short period of time. There are also other ways on how chatbots can help this type of business: substituting for emails, managing sales funnels, adding interactivity, building customer relationships in a more personal level, solving order, payment, and shipping issues, and providing other technical support.

Media Companies

The urgent need for the latest news and relevant information continues to increase. Chatbots can help media companies by disseminating information and providing solutions to simple and urgent issues. This allows followers of TV, radio, print, and film companies to be offered suggestions about their current services and to stay updated with current events in their area.

Banking and Finance Companies

Chatbots are of great help for these companies by securing a higher number of registrations and helping with recruiting new customers. They simplify the processes and transactions by giving customers 24/7 automated guidance for money management, financial advice, analytics, apprehending data, new products and services, money transfers, bill payments, and more.

Healthcare

Nothing can substitute a real professional healthcare personnel, but there are some cases wherein chatbots could be a real lifesaver by promoting healthy living and helping patients solve a number of important questions. Chatbots can help patients by supporting their self-care and self-monitoring, offering reliable medical information, and getting important information from new patients.

Government

Citizens of a certain area can be connected with public services 24/7 from their desktop and mobile. Chatbots help in supporting citizens and providing instant answers for laws, regulations, policies, community-level activities, requests processing, events, public holidays, pull out relevant records, and more.

Universities 

Chatbots help in securing a higher number of registrations and in supporting with admissions. They can also ensure constant communication addressing a wide variety of student needs with their campus services, enrollment, scholarships, learning services, advice about exams, IT services, troubleshooting, and more.

Step-by-step guide on building your chatbot

Step1: Setup your chatbot software account. 

The first thing you have to do is to decide on which chatbot software you will use to build your chatbot. After you have decided, you should create an account to start building your chatbot. Upon completing the signup, you can now start your first chatbot project.

Step 2: Build your chatbot and select your channel. 

Now, you can start building your chatbot by selecting from the templates provided. Then, you should choose the right channel to engage with your customers. Identify the channels your customers prefer to communicate with you across your website, mobile app, or other messaging platforms.

Step 3: Create your messages, questions, and answer. 

This part determines what content or information your customers will get from your chatbot. From welcome messages to questions and answers, to closing messages, here you can train your chatbot for giving the right response on comprehensive FAQs depending upon your business needs. This will help the bot to deliver relevant answers to your customers or visitors.

Step 4: Customize your chatbot branding.

The next step in perfecting your own conversational chatbot is giving it a consistent look that aligns with your brand for better customer experience. Chatbots are mostly the ones who have initial interactions with your customers, and your customers should have a clear idea of who they are interacting with online. With this, you should incorporate your brand into your chatbot. You should customize your chatbot in a way that represents your brand clearly.

Step 5: Launch your chatbot and export your data.

After building your own chatbot, you can now start implementing your chatbot across your channels. While implementing them, you are now starting to gather data. After a number of customer and chatbot conversations, you can now export your data to integrate with your CRM system and other databases. You will have to measure your chatbot performance and make the required iterations from time to time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In the recent market, there are various kinds of chatbot software that offer different features. Depending on your business needs, you can compare certain types and brands and choose the one with features that benefits you the most.

Yes, since it’s been programmed to secure all the information that enters the software from time to time. Basically, the files are encrypted; so if someone tries to hack or disclose the data, he/she will not succeed.

Yes. There is a full chatbot builder software that is free to download. There are service providers that offer a free trial version of the full features of the software for a couple of days and there are some that offer them free without a trial period, but with limited use of the features.

Chatbot software can be used in various devices such as PC, laptops, or mobile devices. You just need to hire a technician to install your desired chatbot program—from there, you can start familiarizing yourself with the features and use it for your business.

There are chatbot building platforms and service providers that guide you through the steps of using software to build a chatbot. Once you have chosen a building platform or a service provider, you can then contact them and discuss the process.

Artificial Intelligence or AI is the ability of a computer program or a machine to think and learn. It is also a field of study which tries to make computers "smart". They work on their own without being encoded with commands.

With their omnichannel feature, most chatbots work on any messaging software. This feature translates every chatbot you create to each of the supported messaging platforms.

Like most software, chatbot software is designed by software engineers where they apply the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of computer software. They also work hand in hand with software developers in identifying, designing, installing, and testing a software system they have built for a company from the ground up.

With the emergence of this technology, companies from all over the world continue to jump on this bandwagon. The European market, which includes Germany, leads in terms of the number of chatbots used. More and more countries avail chatbot licenses from different service providers.

Yes. A chatbot’s function doesn’t stop at giving customer service. In fact, they can greatly help marketers with their analytics and reporting in chatbot management tools.