The 13 Best AI Chatbots for Business in 2021 and Beyond [Review and Key Features]

best ai chatbot

Chatbots are used by 1.4 billion people today. Companies are launching their best AI chatbots to carry on 1:1 conversations with customers and employees. AI powered chatbots are also capable of automating various tasks, including sales and marketing, customer service, and administrative and operational tasks.

As the demand for chatbot software has skyrocketed, the marketplace of companies that provide chatbot technology has become harder to navigate as competition increases with many companies promising to do the same thing. However, not all AI chatbots are the same. To help companies of all sizes find the best of the best, we’ve rounded up the best 13 AI chatbots for specific business use cases. We’ll also cover the 5 best chatbot examples in the real world, but more on that later.

Before we jump into the 13 best AI chatbots, it’s important to differentiate between AI chatbots and rules-based bots. The first-generation bots that many companies adopted were very rigid and provided poor user experiences. Rules-based chatbots are limited to very basic scenarios.

What is an AI chatbot?

AI-powered chatbots provide a more human-like experience, are capable of carrying on natural conversation, and continuously improve over time. While basic chatbot technology moves the conversation forward via bot-prompted keywords or UX features like Facebook Messenger’s suggested responses, AI-powered chatbots use natural language processing and leverage semantics to understand the context of what a person is saying.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best AI chatbots for 2021 and beyond.

The 13 Best AI Chatbots for Business

  1. Best AI Chatbot for Customer Service: Netomi
  2.  

    What makes Netomi one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Netomi’s AI platform helps companies automatically resolve customer service tickets on email, chat, messaging and voice. It has the highest accuracy of any customer service chatbot due to its advanced Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine. It can automatically resolve over 70% of customer queries without human intervention and focuses holistically on AI customer experience. Netomi is incredibly easy to adopt and has out-of-the-box integrations with all of the leading agent desk platforms. The company works with companies providing diverse products and services across a variety of industries, including WestJet, Brex, Zinus, Singtel, Circles Life, WB Games and HP.

    Key features

    • Natural Language Understanding for human-like conversation
    • Reinforcement learning and ongoing optimization
    • Sentiment analysis for contextual next best action
    • Back-end systems integrations (CRM, OMS, etc.) for meaningful and personalized resolutions
    • Human escalation via agent desk integration (Zendesk, Freshworks, Salesforce, Khoros, Zoho, Sprinklr, Shopify)
    • Knowledge-base integration
    • Omni-channel (email, chat, voice, social)
    • Analytics and real-time reporting
    • Multi-lingual
    • Dedicated customer success team

  3. Best AI Chatbot for IT, HR and Business Ops: atSpoke
  4.  

    What makes atSpoke one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    atSpoke makes it easy for employees to get the knowledge they need. It’s an internal ticketing system that has built-in AI. It allows internal teams (IT help desk, HR and other business operations teams) to enjoy 5x faster resolutions by immediately answering 40% of requests automatically. The AI responds to a range of employee questions by surfacing knowledge base content.  Employees can get updates directly within the channels they are using every day, including Slack, Google Drive, Confluence and Microsoft Teams.

    Key features 

    • Multi-channel (chat, email, and SMS customer service)
    • Alerts / Escalation
    • Automated Routing
    • Knowledge Base Management
    • Reporting/Analytics
    • Workflow Configuration

  5. Best AI Chatbot for WordPress: WP-Chatbot
  6.  

    What makes WP-Chatbot one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    WP-Chatbot is the most popular chatbot in the WordPress ecosystem, giving tens of thousands of websites live chat and Web chat capabilities. WP-Chatbot integrates with a Facebook Business page and powers live and automated interactions on a WordPress site via a native Messenger chat widget. There’s an easy one-click installation process. It is one of the fastest ways to add live chat to a WordPress site. Users have a single inbox for all messages – whether taking place on Messenger or on webchat – which provides a really efficient way to manage cross-platform customer interactions.

    Key features:

    • One-click-install for WordPress
    • Customization
    • Custom greeting
    • Facebook page branding
    • Single inbox for all incoming messages
    • Integration with your Facebook Business Page
    • Compatible with all versions of WordPress

    WPChatbot

  7. Best Open Source AI Chatbot: Microsoft Bot Framework
  8.  

    What makes Microsoft Bot Framework one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    The Microsoft Bot Framework is a comprehensive framework for building conversational AI experiences. The Bot Framework Composer is an open-source, visual authoring canvas for developers and multi-disciplinary teams to design and build conversational experiences with Language Understanding, QnA Maker and bot replies. The Microsoft Bot Framework allows users to use a comprehensive open-source SDK and tools to easily connect a bot to popular channels and devices.

    Key features:

    • AI and natural language
    • Open source SDK and tools to build, test, and connect bots to popular channels and devices
    • integrate with existing IT ecosystem
    • Omnichannel experience (website or apps, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Cortana, and Facebook Messenger)
    • Speech capabilities

    Microsoft Bot Framework

  9. Best Agent Desk AI Chatbot: Zendesk Answer Bot
  10.  

    What makes Zendesk Answer Bot one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Zendesk Answer Bot works alongside your support team within Zendesk to answer incoming customer questions right away. The Answer Bot pulls relevant articles from your Zendesk Knowledge Base to provide customers with the information they need without delay. You can deploy additional technology on top of your Zendesk chatbot or you can let the Zendesk Answer Bot fly solo on your website chat, within mobile apps, or for internal teams on Slack.

    Key features:

    • Multilingual
    • Multi-channel (email, Web forms, chat, in-app)
    • Integrates with Zendesk Guide knowledge base
    • Integrates within Zendesk agent desk platform for seamless human hand-off
    • Deep learning

    Zendesk chatbot

    Interested in learning more about Zendesk for customer service? Check out any of these helpful blog posts from our team:

     


    Looking for an AI platform that works beautifully with Zendesk? Let us show you how it works.


     

  11. Best AI Chatbot To Be Your Personal Assistant: x.ai
  12.  

    What makes x.ai one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Are you looking for ways to increase productivity and reduce time doing administrative tasks? x.ai is the best personal assistant chatbot that can schedule meetings and follow up to confirm times with attendees. Once you have an account, it’s as simple as CC x.ai on an email. It connects to your calendar and will coordinate with guests to find a time that works.

    Key features: 

    • Meeting Scheduler
    • Meeting Tracker
    • Auto-Responder
    • Google Calendar Integration
    • Outlook.com Calendar Integration
    • Office 365 Calendar Integration
    • User Access Control
    • Analytics & Reporting

    x.ai

  13. Best AI Chatbot for Developers: CSML.dev
  14.  

    What makes CSML one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    CSML is the first open-source programming language and chatbot engine dedicated to developing powerful and interoperable chatbots. CSML helps developers build and deploy chatbots easily with its expressive syntax and its capacity to connect to any third party API. Used by thousands of chatbot developers, CSML Studio is the simplest way to get started with CSML, with everything included to start building chatbots directly inside your browser. A free playground is also available to let developers experiment with the language without signing up.

    Key features: 

    • Super easy syntax and conversation-oriented components
    • Short and long-term memory slots
    • Integrates out of the box with over 70 other apps (CRM, ticketing, databases, livechat, and more)
    • Chatbot activity analytics
    • Ready-to-use chatbot templates library

     AI chatbot interface on CSML

  15. Best AI Chatbot for Voice: Alexa for Business
  16.  

    What makes Alexa for Business one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Do you want to interact with the 83.1 million people who own a smart speaker? Amazon, which has captured 70% of this market, has the best AI chatbot software for voice assistants. With Alexa for Business, IT teams can create custom skills that can answer customer questions. The creation of custom skills is a trend that has exploded: Amazon grew from 130 skills to over 100,000 skills as of September 2019 in just over three years. Creating custom skills on Alexa allows your customers to ask questions, order or re-order products or services, or engage with other content spontaneously by simply speaking out loud. With Alexa for Business, teams can integrate with Salesforce, ServiceNow, or any other custom apps and services.

    Key features: 

    • Self-service APIs to help you create, manage, test and publish custom skills
    • Request APIs receive intents and directives from Alexa in your application logic
    • Respond to customers using text-to-speech, images, and streamed audio and video
    • Transactions and closed-loop commerce
    • SDKs for Node.js, Python and Java

     

  17. Best AI Chatbot for Sales: Drift
  18.  

    What makes Drift one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Drift B2B chatbots are implemented on websites to qualify leads without forms. Drift chatbots ask qualification questions and create leads in your CRM (Salesforce, HubSpot and Marketo). Once a lead is qualified, the chatbot can automatically book meetings for sales teams by connecting to calendars to pull availability. Drift also allows companies to identify the highest-valued and intelligently send personalized welcome messages to VIPs. If other questions arise during the conversation, Drift can integrate with knowledge base tools like Zendesk, Help Scout, HelpDocs and others to surface relevant information.  

    Key features:

    • A chat widget for mobile and desktop
    • Routing that directs leads and conversations to the correct person, group or team
    • SDKs for JavaScript Web, Android mobile, and iOS mobile and web
    • an API for building apps, customizing the chat widget or integrating with your platform
    • Out-of-the-box integrations, including: Slack, Office 365 Calendar, Salesforce and Market

    The Drift AI chatbot in action

  19. Best AI Chatbot for Call Centers: Dasha AI
  20.  

    What makes Dasha AI one of the best chatbots of 2021?

    Dasha is a conversational AI as a service platform. It provides developers with tools to create human-like, deeply conversational AI applications. The apps can be used for call center agent replacement, text chat or to add conversational voice interfaces to mobile apps or IOT devices. Dasha was named a Gartner Cool Vendor in Conversational AI 2020.

    No knowledge of AI or ML is required to build with Dasha, any developer with basic JavaScript knowledge will feel right at home.

    Key features:

    • Human-indistinguishable speech synthesis
    • Unlimited conversational depth
    • You own the Intellectual Property to all Dasha apps you build
    • The SDK integrates into your existing infrastructure seamlessly
    • Voice over GRPC means that you can add live AI conversations to your websites or mobile apps
    • Robust digressions and intents, stacked named entities
    • Ultra-high conversational concurrency
    • The SDK integrates into your existing infrastructure seamlessly

     Dasha AI is a top AI chatbot

  21. Best AI Chatbot for User or Market Research: SurveySparrow
  22.  

    What makes SurveySparrow one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    SurveySparrow is a software platform for conversational surveys and forms. The platform bundles customer satisfaction surveys (i.e., Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) or Customer Effort Score (CES) and Employee Experience surveys  (i.e., Recruitment & Pre-hire, Employee 360 Assessment, Employee Check-in and Employee Exit Interviews) tools. The conversational UI deploys surveys in a chat-like experience. This approach increases survey completion rates by 40%. SurveySparrow comes with a range of out-of-the-box question types and templates. Surveys are embedded on websites or other software tools through integrations with Zapier, Slack, Intercom and Mailchimp.

    Key features: 

    • Customized conversational surveys
    • Subaccounts and multiple users
    • Multi-language surveys
    • Smart surveys using conditional logic branching
    • White label surveys
    • Visual workflows
    • Omni-channel (email, social media, web links, embedded options, scannable QR code and email)
    • Reports and analytics

    The SurveySparrow AI chatbot in action

  23. Best Build-Your-Own AI Chatbot for Messenger: ManyChat
  24.  

    What makes ManyChat one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    Next year, 2.4B people will use Facebook Messenger. ManyChat is a great option if you’re looking for a quick way to launch a simple chatbot to sell products, book appointments, send order updates or share coupons on Facebook Messenger. It has industry-specific templates, or you can build your own with a drag-and-drop interface, which allows you to launch a bot within minutes without coding. You can easily connect to eCommerce tools, including Shopify, PayPal, Stripe, ActiveCampaign, Google Sheets, and 1,500+ additional apps through Zapier and Integromat. 

    Key features:

    • Basic reporting and analytics
    • Drag-and-drop interface to build bot
    • Integrations with Shopify, Google Sheets, MailChimp, HubSpot, ConvertKit, and Zapier
    • No coding required
    • Easy set up in minutes

    How are our customers building chatbots to rethink customer service?
    Learn how Nespresso, Tommy Hilfiger, and Westjet have turned support into a difference maker.


  25. Best AI Companion and Friend Chatbot: Replika
  26.  

    What makes Replika one of the best AI chatbots of 2021?

    While this is not a business use case, it still warrants placement on this list for its coolness. Replika is an AI chatbot designed to become a “friend” who offers “no judgment, drama, or social anxiety.” It claims that users can “form an actual emotional connection, share a laugh or get real with an AI that’s so good it almost seems human.” Users can choose their 3D avatar and customize it, help it learn about the world, and develop its personality. You can decide if you want it to be a friend, virtual significant other or mentor.

    Key features:

    • Learns to imitate users
    • Messaging and voice recognition
    • iOS and Android apps
    • Customizable avatar

    Replika's AI chatbot in action

AI Chatbot Frequently Asked Questions

 

How Do AI Chatbots Work?

AI chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) engines and machine learning to interpret user inputs. This involves extracting user entities and determining user intents. These NLP methods are used widely in the technology industry, including for machine translation, sentiment analysis, and user behavior analytics (UBA) in cybersecurity.

What is a Chatbot Platform?

A chatbot platform allows businesses to host multiple AI chatbots all in one place. Chatbot platforms are crucial when companies want to deploy chatbots across multiple communication channels like messenger, SMS, email, and directly on the website. Having all your chatbots organized in one place ensures maximum efficiency and learning opportunities as the AI inevitably gets more sophisticated.

Is Siri a Chatbot?

Siri is considered a basic chatbot. Even though Siri sounds smart at times, Sirilacks the natural language processing and human-like conversational ability of more advanced AI chatbots.

How Can Chatbots Help Save Me Money?

Chatbots can help save you money by automating routine tasks that humans would otherwise complete. Imagine that you owned a business where five different types of questions made up for over 50% of the total questions by volume. Without a chatbot, a customer service agent would have to answer each question one by one. On the other hand, a chatbot could answer an unlimited amount of the same customer service question type in an instant. This allows businesses to save their support agents’ time while maintaining a quality customer experience.

What Makes an AI Chatbot Powerful?

What separates a bad chatbot from the best chatbots is a bot’s ability to leverage four different categories of artificial intelligence. The best AI chatbots are extremely sophisticated in these 4 AI attributes:

  • Intent recognition—intent recognition involves a semantic understanding of text-based and AI chatbots that leverage general syntactical and semantic knowledge which they learn from a large corpus of language data and business-specific training samples. Knowledge learned by AI chatbots from large data sources helps for the expansion and transfer of vocabulary which helps to improve interpretations with fewer business-specific training samples.
  • Extraction of entities—information that relates to a specific object or concept. For example, dates, places, times, descriptions, names, items, or numbers. These bits of data are the building blocks from which inputs are interpreted and defined.
  • Dialogue management—Based on intent and entities, AI Chatbots use the next best action to trigger various actions required to capture appropriate details from users and business systems for meaningful resolution. AI chatbots learn user preferences in their long and short-term memory to take contextually relevant smart actions.
  • Expansion and transfer of vocabulary—algorithms can capture and refine vocabulary, including synonyms to improve interpretations. These refinements are tied to subsets of users to generate more natural responses and be passed to new bots.

The strongest chatbot platforms (listed earlier) allow for easy scalability and low manual effort. Now you know what makes the best AI chatbots so powerful.

The 5 Best AI Chatbot Examples in Real Life

As chatbots get smarter, the adoption rate by big brands and industry leaders grows exponentially. Now that we’ve taken a look at which companies make the best AI chatbot technology and how to define what makes one chatbot better than another, let’s explore real-life examples of companies that put those chatbots to work. Below are five of the most successful chatbot implementations and their results:

  1. Best AI Chatbot Overall: WestJet’s Chatbot
  2.  

    WestJet's AI Chatbot

    Company Background

    WestJet, the only 3-peat winner of TripAdvisor’s Best Airline in Canada, has incorporated a chatbot to help serve its millions of monthly website visitors. With its chatbot “Juliet,” users can book travel plans, ask questions and get resolutions to common customer service questions.

    Chatbot Results

    When WestJet’s bot first got started, it could automatically resolve about 30% of all customer service tickets. In less than two years, that number has jumped to over 87%. Not only is this the highest rate of automated ticket resolution ever recorded – making WestJet’s Juliet the most powerful chatbot in the world –  it also speaks to the sophistication of how true artificial intelligence can learn and get better over time. As a result, the WestJet customer service agents are able to work side-by-side with the AI bot and handle over 5X the normal load of customer support.

    Interested in learning more about WestJet’s chatbot, Juliet, check out one of these resources below.

  3. Best AI Chatbot for Telecom: Charter Spectrum’s Chatbot
  4.  

    Charter Spectrum AI Chatbot

    Company Background

    Charter Spectrum, a top cable and phone service provider in the U.S. has incorporated a chatbot into its customer service operations. Before launching its bot, Charter’s customer support agents were answering around 200k live chats per month, a large portion of these for common use cases including forgotten passwords or usernames.

    Chatbot Results

    After bringing the “Ask Spectrum” chatbot into its customer support team, Charter Spectrum was able to handle 83% of chat tickets without human intervention. This significantly lightened their customer service load and resulted in a 300% increase in ROI.


    To download a copy of our Telecom Customer Service Benchmark report, visit here.


  5. Best AI Chatbot for Ecommerce: Covergirl’s Chatbot
  6.  

    Covergirl's homepage

    Company Background

    Covergirl, a popular makeup brand, has taken a different approach. They are leveraging chatbots to engage with teens by providing product information and disseminating coupons. The Covergirl bot was designed to help the brand address the role that social media influencers play in young customer’s lives. Customers can interact with the bot to get product information and coupons for items.

    Chatbot Results

    As a result of their ecommerce chabot, Covergirl has seen social media engagement increase by a factor of 14. They have also experienced 91% positive sentiment ratings and a 51% click-through on coupons.


    To download a copy of our retail Customer Service Benchmark report, visit here.


  7. Best AI Chatbot for Travel: Amtrak’s Chatbot
  8.  

    Amtrak's chatbot is rated on the best chatbot examples in the real-world

    Company Background

    Amtrak, a nationwide rail provider in the United States, launched a travel chatbot to provide support to its 375k daily website visitors. With the Amtrak chatbot, users can book travel, ask common questions, and seek assistance modeled on the company’s best customer service representatives.

    Chatbot Results

    Currently, Amtrak’s bot is responding to around 5 million requests per year. This has led to a 25% increase in bookings and a 30% increase in revenue. Overall this has meant an 800% increase in ROI.


    To learn how AI is completely transforming the travel experience, download this eBook.


  9. Best AI Chatbot for Customer Experience: Johnson and Johnson’s Chatbot
  10.  

    Johnson and Johnson's Baby Centre Chatbot

    Company Background

    Johnson and Johnson owns a pregnancy and childcare resource called The BabyCentre UK. The company introduced a bot on Facebook Messenger to provide information and content to new or expecting moms. The bot uses targeting and personalization to deliver relevant information and to answer popular queries from users.

    Chatbot Results

    As a result of the bot, BabyCentre saw an 84% engagement rate and a 53% click-through rate. This represented a 1,428% increase over email communications despite using the same personalization methods.

Conclusion

The Best AI Chatbots can unlock incredible efficiency, but you need to select the right AI partner. The breadth of AI chatbots available today is incredible. The best business-specific AI chatbots are focused on a core use case – whether it’s customer service, surveys, administrative tasks or sales. With 53% of organizations expecting to use chatbots within 18 months, it’s crucial that teams adopt the right technology that prioritizes the end-user experience, exceeds goals, is easy to adopt and works seamlessly with other business systems. Therefore, as an increasing number of companies claim to have sophisticated AI platforms, not all AI chatbots are created equal.

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator today.

Want your AI chatbot solution to be considered for this list? Email info@netomi.com and tell us why! 

 

Dylan Max

Head of Growth Marketing

Dylan is an expert at analyzing data, studying trends, and executing creative marketing strategies. His insights on people and technology interactions have been featured in publications like  Beyond AI, Towards Data Science, CMSWire, SmarterCX, Zendesk, and Forbes.

Leave a Reply