Chat is the new email! With the emerge of mobile devices, chatbots have garnered amazing traction in the past few years and nowadays, it looks like chatbots have morphed from a “good-to-have” to a “must-have” feature on your website or mobile app. Chatbots have been able to help companies reduce the waiting time for customers and even scale down the size of the customer service teams in some cases. Since you are here, we are assuming that you already have the answers regarding the problems the chatbot is going to solve for you. So, let us see what are some of the most popular chatbot platforms available out there!
Please note that this is not a ranking. Chatbot platforms have been listed considering their ease of use, pricing, features offered and online reviews.
Dialogflow has championed natural language processing and has been a pioneer in the domain. Currently the company is owned by the search engine behemoth Google. Dialogflow is capable of doing many things; a chatbot being one of them. The main idea is to train dialogflow with some samples of the questions you will like it to handle and let it know the corresponding answers. It is intelligent enough to figure out the variations in language and can understand what information is being requested for.
It supports external integrations through API requests and can be integrated with twitter, facebook, skype, slack and many others. Some web development knowledge is necessary to integrate it with external APIs.
Dialogflow is available for free (Standard Edition) with some basic limitations and it is a great way to explore the tool and get familiar with the features. The application includes Text or Google Assistant, Audio input (speech-to-text recognition) and output.
They also have paid plans – Essentials and Plus – under Enterprise Edition, which you can go for once you are production ready. Some features such as Sentiment analysis and Toll-free call are available only with Enterprise edition.
2. Flow AI
Flow.ai has attracted a lot attention in the recent times. Leveraging their platform which is offered as an SaaS, one can quickly build elegant chatbots. The tool includes features like contextual guidance, intent recognition, multiple languages, speech recognition etc. It supports external integration through API calls.
They offer a free plan using which the platform can be explored. The standard plan starts from $19/month.
Popular platform integrations supported include WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Salesforce and Hubspot.
3. Flow XO
Flow XO has been a popular tool among the community. Using the FlowXO platform, one can build simple to quite complex bots. A sequence of questions and corresponding responses can be designed into a flow – hence the name.
It can interact with the outside world through API calls. It also supports good number of external integration plugins for communicating with different tools like ZenDesk, Slack etc. Complex flows can be designed leveraging the Flow XO platform.
Flow XO promotes themselves as a tool which can be used by technical and non-technical people alike. However, people without programming knowledge will be a bit out of their depth trying to design complex bots. The complexity also has a tendency to escalate quickly as the bot increases in size; managing the flow becomes increasingly challenging.
Flow XO offers a free plan through which one can explore the tool. They have a good online community where you can ask questions. Paid plans start from $19 per month and you can add features with topups.
Botsify is another tool which boasts of a chatbot platform that can be leveraged by non-technical people for creating chatbots. Like many other tools available on the market, Botsify is offered as an SaaS/MSaaS. They support facebook, slack and website integrations.
It comes with pre-built templates which could be leveraged for building the bot. Even though these templates could not be used “as-is”, they provide some guidance and you may even be able to reuse most of the parts and add/modify some components to quickly get your chatbot up and running. Botsify also has a feature which can preserve responses as a form which can later be exported as CSV. This makes it easy to collect and export data through the tool.
Currently they offer two plans – self-serviced and fully managed. The self-services plan start at $50 per month and the fully managed plan starts at $300 per month. There is a 14-day free trial available for Botsify.
5. QnA Maker API
QnA maker API is a REST based API which can be used to send to queries to its knowledge base and the receive a quick reply. The tool is AI powered and it needs to be trained with sample interactions. It has the capability to understand natural language. The bot can easily be integrated with your website. Some programming knowledge is required in order to use the platform. It is a great tool for quickly building a chat-bot out of something as simple as your website’s FAQ page. The basic plan of QnA maker comes for free. A paid subscription plan starts from $10 per month.
6. Recast API
Recast API boasts to offer a conversational tool capable of understanding natural language. It is currently owned by the ERP giant SAP. It offers a rich UI through which flows can be built. Recast API claims to be a tool for developers by developers. Programming knowledge is required to leverage this tool. It supports external integrations with Twitter, Slack, Skype etc. Recast supports multiple communication channels. It comes packed with features and it can even accept payment which makes it a good candidate for e-commerce websites.
Recast API comes with a free plan. However, in order to get access to the analytics services, a paid subscription is required.
Apart from the ones listed above, some of the other chatbots worth a mention are Chatfuel, Manychat, Pandorabots, TARS, Wit.ai. Finding out what tool suites you best will take some effort on your part to evaluate some of the platforms mentioned here. Once you have evaluated these tools, you will be in a position to select the one which caters to your needs in the best possible way. This guide nevertheless will give you a head start in your exploration for the chatbot platform that suites your requirement!