A complete guide to chatbots

Chatbots provide a helping hand for agents and 24/7 support for customers. Deliver better customer service with a chatbot.

A guide to the best AI chatbot

Chatbots have become a key component of any support strategy. They enable teams to scale their efforts and provide support around the clock while freeing agents to focus on conversations that truly need a human touch. We’ve learned that customers trust bots for simple interactions but want the ability to speak to a human agent to resolve sensitive or complex issues. Businesses need to understand how to leverage and combine the strengths of both bots and humans. With Zendesk, you can design chatbot conversations across your customers' favorite channels with absolutely no coding skills and ensure seamless bot-human handoffs.

Why add a chatbot to your website?

When businesses add a chatbot to their support offerings, they’re able to serve more customers, improve first response time, and increase agent efficiency. Chatbots help mitigate the high volume of rote questions that come through via email, messaging, and other channels by empowering customers to find answers on their own and guiding them to quick solutions.

When chatbots take simple, repetitive questions off a support team’s plate, they give agents time back to provide more meaningful support—nothing kills team productivity like forcing employees to do work that could be automated. Bots can also integrate into global support efforts and ease the need for international hiring and training. They’re a cost-effective way to deliver instant support that never sleeps—over the weekends, on holidays, and in every time zone.

Want to improve your support experience with a chatbot? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What are chatbots?

A chatbot is a first-response tool that greets, engages, and serves customers in a friendly and familiar way. This technology can be customized with immediate responses and help center article suggestions as well as collect customer information with in-chat forms. Chatbots like Zendesk’s Answer Bot are also able to escalate conversations to a live agent and route tickets to the right support representative for the task with all the context they need to jump in and troubleshoot. AI bots can be deployed over various messaging apps or channels to ensure customers get instant responses 24/7.

History of chatbots

Chatbots might seem like a relatively new concept since companies are still figuring out how they fit into their overall business strategies. But bots have been around for decades. The first chatbot was developed by Joseph Weizenbaum, a scientist at MIT's AI lab, in 1966—that’s even before the first personal computer. It was named ELIZA.

ELIZA was a simple decision tree chatbot designed to interpret keywords and provide a response based on a defined set of rules. If you’ve ever used an automated phone system, you might recognize the technology.

The next chatbot was PARRY, a natural language program built in 1972. PARRY was tested using a variation of the Turing Test, a method for determining whether a computer can think like a human. Another early chatbot is Dr. Sbaitso. Dr. Sbaitso was constructed in 1992 and is considered one of the first AI chatbots.

But if chatbots have been around for decades, why are we starting to see a boom now?

Chatbots have come a long way since the 1990s, partly due to advances in AI and machine learning. But most recently, the rise of messaging has made bots an essential part of any customer service and engagement strategy. As customers flock to messaging channels, they expect fast support as soon as they need it. Today, nearly all the top messaging platforms offer APIs so businesses can offer seamless messaging experiences with a bot.

How does a chatbot work?

Bots use predefined conversation flows or artificial intelligence (AI) to answer questions and guide customers through different scenarios, such as login issues, payment problems, or booking instructions--to name a few. AI bots can also learn from each interaction and adjust their actions to provide better support.

Chatbots work best with straightforward, frequently-asked questions. Unless their underlying technology is especially sophisticated, bots typically can’t handle difficult, multi-part questions like a support agent can.

How can a chatbot help your business?

A chatbot can help your business scale customer support, improve customer engagement, and provide an overall better customer experience. Here are a few things your business can accomplish with the help of a bot.

  • Help more customers in less time and boost customer satisfaction

    According to Gartner research, organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a virtual customer assistant. Many companies have a small variation of questions representing a large portion of total support volume, and therefore cost. These high-frequency questions tend to be low in value and simple to solve without human intervention, making them the perfect questions for a bot.

    By taking over these basic, repetitive inquiries, chatbots enable support teams to help more customers in less time while also giving agents time back to focus on higher-stake issues. Customers benefit from reduced wait times, which increases satisfaction. In fact, an MIT technology review found that 90 percent of businesses report recording large improvements in the speed of complaint resolution after deploying a chatbot.

  • Offer help as soon as customers need it and anticipate their needs

    Providing always-on support is no longer a stand-out feature; it’s something customers have come to expect. In fact, 43 percent of consumers expect 24/7 customer service, according to an e-commerce study. And as customers’ expectations continue to rise, this figure is only expected to increase.

    Customers don’t always want to take the extra step of making a phone call or keep up with the back-and-forth of an email thread. The most adaptable businesses are going where their customers are, adding new channels, so customers have convenient options to get help as soon as they need it.

    A bot can also help you anticipate customers’ needs by surfacing answers to the most common customer questions before they even have to ask. And according to Gartner, proactive customer service results in a full percentage point increase in the net promoter score, customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, and value enhancement score.

  • Improve the bottom line

    Juniper Research predicts that by 2023, chatbots will save banking, healthcare, and retail sectors up to $11 billion annually. That’s ​​the difference between a business being in the red vs. the black. In other words, a chatbot can mean the difference between turning a profit and having to explain to stakeholders why the company fell short.

    What’s more, resolving support issues via social media can be up to six times cheaper than a voice interaction. That’s because messaging and chat channels allow agents to help more customers at once, which increases their overall throughput.

How do chatbots use AI?

Chatbots use two main types of AI: natural language processing and machine learning. Natural language processing enables bots to interpret customer requests, including slang, typos, and abbreviations, and machine learning allows them to improve over time. A great example is our own Answer Bot, which incorporates a deep learning model to understand the context of a support ticket, associate questions with answers, and learn which help center articles it should suggest to a customer. It’s also learning from each customer interaction and training itself to deliver more relevant and customized content with each solved ticket. AI chatbots are most successful when they can learn from thousands of service interactions, like those already saved in enterprise CRMs.

What are the different types of chatbots?

Chatbots vary by channel and what use case they’re intended to automate. Let’s start with the main types of chatbots by channel.

Social media bots

Sephora’s Color Match chatbot, Wall Street Journal’s news digest bot, and Fandango's ticket finder chatbot are all examples of social media chatbots. Social media bots are chatbots that communicate with customers over social media channels, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Twitter DMs.

In 2021, the use of messaging apps soared. In fact, social messaging alone saw a 110 percent jump in popularity compared to 2020. Chatbots enable support teams to provide fast support over these channels, which is one of the top reasons why customers turn to social media for customer service in the first place. And with 300,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger already, social media chatbots help brands provide automated support in a way that’s familiar to customers.

Website chatbot

A website chatbot enables businesses to support website visitors when agents are off the clock or busy helping other customers. It’s a way to provide instant support over any web page, collect key customer information upfront, or create a ticket that a human agent can pick up when they’re back in the office or finished helping another customer. A website chatbot can also be a lead generation tool and ask for a prospect’s contact details when they want to get in touch.

Website chatbots typically work via a chat window, which can take a few different forms. It can be a proactive chat pop-up where a chat box appears on your screen and asks if you need help. Many websites also include a button (usually on the bottom right of the web page) that allows customers to initiate the conversion by clicking to connect.

Now that we’ve covered the two main types of chatbots by channel, here are different types of chatbots according to use case.

Chatbots that recommend knowledge base articles

Service has moved from calling at the first sign of trouble to adopting a “Google it” mantra. Research tells us that customers want to resolve as many issues as possible with a company’s online resources and prefer to resolve issues independently via self-service.

Chatbots can learn based on content in your knowledge base and recommend the right help articles to answer FAQs on any page of your website, inside your mobile app, over email, or via messaging channels. Since bots provide one-to-one support, they make the effort of searching for answers easier and more personalized than using a generic search engine. The business benefit of a bot that works alongside your knowledge base is that it uses your existing resources to deflect questions you already have answers to for the fastest time to value, which makes it easy to get started.

Decision tree chatbots

Decision tree bots enable you to design customized conversation flows that direct customers to quick answers, suggest knowledge base articles, and include points for handoffs to a live agent. Companies that are just getting started with a decision tree bot should look for a builder tool, like Zendesk’s own, that doesn’t require coding and provides a visual interface to help them create decision trees.

Flow Builder, our drag-and-drop tool for designing automated conversations— without writing a single line of code

Task-specific bots

These chatbots are designed to help customers with a specific task and are typically highly specialized. They require more resources and a bigger budget because they need more comprehensive training and deeper natural language processing. Task-specific bots understand many different types of questions, and with access to the right customer data, can deliver personalized responses. For instance, a recruiting company might use this kind of bot for automating the first step of the recruiting process and helping potential employees submit their applications. While Zendesk does not build task-specific bots, we make it easy to integrate third-party chatbots into your support system for seamless bot-human handoffs and more personalized conversations.

Generic chatbots, like Siri and Alexa

These types of AI bots answer any question—no matter how open-ended or random. Businesses don’t typically use them for customer support, at least for now, because they’re too general and aren’t designed to solve any specific problem or perform any specific task.

What are the core functionalities of a chatbot platform?

There are four core functionalities to look for in a chatbot platform. Here are some questions to guide the way.

  1. Is it applicable to multiple channels?

    Savvy businesses have known for years that customers want a choice of channels. It's important for your chatbot to work across all the channels your team depends on, whether that’s messaging, email, or a specific page on your website. With a flexible chatbot platform, you can connect your bot to any channel without heavy lifting. Zendesk lets a business build once and deploy anywhere. In other words, you can use the best version of a rich bot experience across all your channels, even those with no native bot support.

  2. Does it capture information?

    More context leads to better chatbots and more personalized conversational experiences. Look for a bot that can collect key customer information, pre-populate it into existing ticket fields, and pass through context and conversation history when an agent is needed. When a bot can capture information from your customers, it helps your agents understand the context of the problem more quickly, and removes the annoyance of customers having to repeat themselves.

    Beyond passing on relevant information to agents, be sure your bot can also pass on context to a CRM or other software. This enables things like:

    • Understanding that Rose has a necklace in her cart and sending a message to a marketing automation tool, so she receives better-targeted email offers
    • Knowing that IT buyer Bob signed up for a demo, qualifying him as a lead in a sales CRM

    For these kinds of next-level use cases, our customizable messaging platform allows you to connect all your business systems to the conversation, from payment processors to third-party bots and AI.

  3. Does it ensure seamless bot-to-human handoffs?

    It’s always important to have a way for customers to escalate a conversation to a real person. When a customer has a valid reason to speak to a human agent, but there’s no option to do so, it’s a frustrating experience that can lead to negative CSAT, or worse, churn.

    Sometimes a bot simply can’t handle a customer’s question, or there is sensitive information that needs to be conveyed through an agent. Triggers, automations, and workflows provide support teams with a way to manage and prioritize incoming tickets that need agent help. This opens up possibilities like identifying VIP customers and routing them to a live salesperson for help—with conversation history.

  4. Does it integrate with your customer service platform?

    Bots are only as powerful as the systems backing them up. Be sure to thoroughly consider the customer service software you utilize underneath your chatbot. Remember, chatbots are only one part of your larger customer communication strategy, so your support platform is often even more important to consider before choosing your bot. Understanding who is reaching out and why, as well as how often they need help, along with ensuring their issue gets resolved when a bot can’t help them, requires a robust back-end customer support platform.

    A chatbot that connects to your support systems means it can pass on information to automate ticket creation and equip agents with conversation history when their expertise is needed. When an agent picks up a complex help request from a bot conversation, they will already be in your support platform, where they can respond to tickets with context at their fingertips. This connected experience also gives you a single view to track how your bot is impacting agent performance and your support metrics.

    Zendesk provides agents with a real-time, conversation-focused interface to seamlessly track and manage conversations between agents and bots.

    Zendesk Answer Bot

What are the benefits of AI chatbots?

The benefits of AI chatbots go beyond “increasing efficiency” and “cutting costs”—those are table stakes. Bots are at their most powerful when humans can work in tandem with them to solve key business challenges.

  1. Provide convenient 1:1 service, 24/7

    Being constantly connected has increased customers’ desire for instant support. Customers today expect help as soon as they need it on channels convenient for them. In deploying an AI chatbot across customers’ preferred channels, businesses ensure customers get seamless, always-on support—no need for customers to sit in a queue or wait for an agent to come online.

  2. Serve more customers

    In our Trends Report, we found that many customer service leaders expect customer requests to grow, yet not everyone can expand headcount. This gap represents a sweet spot where a chatbot can help. Rather than hiring more talent on the roster, bots can help teams become more productive. Chatbots can act as extra support reps, triaging simple questions and basic requests.

  3. Increase your team’s impact and output

    Boost agent productivity by taking mundane inquiries off their plates and freeing them up for complex questions. Chatbot software also lets you gather information from customers upfront and immediately connect them to the right agent for their issue.

    The time that automation gives back to agents is invaluable. It was key for razor blade subscription service Dollar Shave Club, which automated 12 percent of its support tickets with Answer Bot. “We wanted to deflect these kinds of tickets and have more meaningful, consultative conversations with our members and Answer Bot has been the answer,” said Trent Hoerman, Senior Program Manager at Dollar Shave Club.

  4. Watch customer satisfaction soar by supporting customers where they are

    AI Chatbots can help you serve customers where they are, and where they are is on messaging channels. In fact, messaging apps have the highest customer satisfaction score of any support channel, with a CSAT of 98 percent. Customers want to interact with brands on the same digital channels they’re already using in their personal lives. Business messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger for Business, WhatsApp Business, Twitter for Business, LINE, and Apple Business Chat (which integrates with iMessage), lend themselves to more convenient and rich conversational experiences—and can be up to six times cheaper than a voice interaction.

  5. Unlock more opportunities for conversion

    Online chatbots can boost conversions with smarter self-service. A chatbot can enable customers to self-serve outside of a help center, like on a checkout or product page, with knowledge tailored to their context. A bot can also provide information customers weren’t aware they needed, including new products, special discount codes for followers, and company initiatives. Especially in a world where the highest volume of e-commerce sales happens after standard working hours—between 8 and 9 p.m.,—having bots available to answer questions can help ensure customers don’t abandon their carts due to lingering questions while reducing the need for agents to work unusual hours. This personal touch can drive customers from just taking a look to taking action.

    Chatbots can also automate cross-sell and upsell activities, in addition to providing support assistance. For instance, businesses using the WhatsApp API can build a bot over the platform to send customers proactive messages. From sharing coupons and new product information to customers who want to receive promotional content to sending personalized messages based on customers’ preferences and shopping history for a white-glove experience, automating proactive communications can help maintain loyalty and drive revenue.

What is a chatbot API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs allow businesses to do more with their customer conversations. Businesses can turn their chatbot conversations into support tickets, use them as a source for data, and integrate them into their CRM and customer support software. This enables teams to ensure seamless bot-to-human handoffs while leveraging third-party solutions and tools.

What can you expect from an API for chatbots?

Most business software isn’t designed to play well with others and assumes it's the only system that’s engaging with an end user. Business software is typically not all from the same vendors, nor is it from vendors that share a partnership or integration.

Sharing conversations between bots and humans is particularly challenging. The most common multi-system configuration is a front-line bot automating resolution of common requests while escalating those it cannot handle. The end result is often colliding messages between human agents and bots. Bots are often required to build (and re-build) handoff capabilities for every channel and business system they integrate with. Business systems then need to be modified in order to cooperate with bots, specifically to avoid collisions and obtain context on prior conversations.

Above all, you should expect a chatbot API to enable you to seamlessly integrate your bot with your customer service software so you can ensure effective bot-to-human handoffs. Intelligent bots can scale your customer service team, however even the cleverest bot may eventually need to escalate an issue to a human being.

Zendesk offers one consistent way to manage conversations and hand off to our agent applications. With Zendesk’s Switchboard API:

  • Conversations can be synchronized between a bot and your agents’ workspace in real time, and agents can choose when to take over
  • Structured data collected during the conversation can be added to the ticket and trigger workflows in real-time
  • Handoff and handback causes a re-assignment of the ticket and flows through to reporting

How can you integrate an API with a chatbot?

Integrations are the vehicle for sending messages and other events to third party business systems and bots. They can come in the form of native integrations built into your customer service software or CRM, third party integrations, or as custom integrations that define webhooks.

To integrate an API with a chatbot, you’ll need customer service software that provides access to the API as a starting point. With the right provider, the process can become much easier, faster, and cost-effective. For example, Zendesk has native integrations included in the Agent Workspace, third party integrations used by our bot partners, while custom integrations can also point to your own system or any other public HTTPS endpoint.

What are the best APIs and frameworks to build your own chatbot?

You might choose to build your own chatbot if you have a more advanced or specific use case and access to developers. The best APIs and frameworks to build your own chatbot are flexible, scalable, and make it easy to connect and surface customer data for more personalized conversations. Zendesk’s open and flexible CRM platform enables you to connect any bot to Zendesk, even those you build yourself.

Best practices for chatbots

Ready to incorporate a chatbot into your customer service strategy? Here are some best practices to guide the way.

  1. Make it clear to users when they’re interacting with a bot

    We already know that customers are open to, and even prefer, to resolve their issues with a chatbot for simple queries. A study by Goldsmiths University and global media agency, Mindshare even found that one in four people are more willing to trust customer service chatbots with their sensitive information than a human.

    But that same study also revealed that 48 percent of people feel it’s "creepy" if a chatbot pretends to be human. It’s always important to disclose to users when they’re interacting with a bot. Customers are open to communicating with bots, but they don’t want businesses to deceive them.

  2. Always include an option to reach a live agent

    Zendesk’s CX Trends Report found that the topmost frustrating chatbot experiences are when customers:

    • Can’t get an accurate answer
    • Have to start over when they get a human agent
    • Can’t get through to a human

    Chatbots aren’t meant to resolve every issue, so it’s crucial to include an easy option to reach a live agent. It’s also important to ensure that your bot can pass on context and conversation history, so agents have all the details they need, and customers don’t have to repeat themselves.

  3. Let bots handle simple issues

    Zendesk’s Trends Report also found that the top issues customers prefer to resolve with a chatbot include:

    • Tracking an order
    • Checking a status or balance
    • Changing an order

    But when it comes to filing a complaint or asking for technical support, 40 percent of customers prefer to interact with a human agent. Customers prefer bots for simple issues but still want the option to speak to a human for more sensitive and complex queries. Chatbots work best when their task is clear and simple. A good starting point is to look at the one-touch tickets that your agents see frequently. These are good issues to hand over to a chatbot.

  4. Incorporate bots into your self-service strategy

    Eighty-one percent of customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to an agent, according to Harvard Business Review. What’s more, mid-to-large-sized businesses saw nearly a 40 percent increase in knowledge base views from customers during the pandemic. Customers prefer to resolve issues via a knowledge base or self-service portal because it’s simple and convenient.

    A chatbot can help your customers self-serve more efficiently by highlighting your FAQs outside your knowledge base, such as on your checkout page or website homepage. You can also incorporate a chatbot into your knowledge base to personalize the experience. A bot can help customers find the right articles for their issue on a one-to-one level.

  5. Use chatbots to collect key customer information upfront

    Chatbots can collect key customer information upfront, such as order number, email address, or location, to ensure agents have all the details they need to personalize conversations and resolve the issue more efficiently. Chatbots can use this information to route customers to the right agent for the problem based on things like language, skill, or account type. This also makes chatbots a helpful lead generation tool, as they can collect prospect contact information and route them to the right salesperson for their inquiry.

  6. Use data to improve your bot

    Getting your bot up and running isn’t the end of your chatbot strategy. You also need to track metrics to improve and get the greatest value out of the tool. Here are a few metrics to watch:

    • Use rate: This is the percentage of customers who choose to engage with a bot when prompted or given the option. It will help you determine if customers like using bots, if they respond to nudges to use bots, and what channels they look to bots for answers.
    • Volume: This refers to the number of questions answered by your bot, which will allow you to understand how cost-efficient and time-efficient your bots are.
    • Bot response failure rate: This is the rate of questions your chatbots can’t respond to because they don’t understand them. This will help you get an idea of what people are looking for when using self-service and see where you can improve your bot flows.
    • Most answered questions: Tracking this metric can highlight common areas of frustration and opportunities for improving customer experience.
    • Referral data: This metric indicates how often a bot transfers an interaction to an agent. The referral data can help you determine how bots integrate with agents’ workflows and give you insight into how customers approach complex support questions.
    • Customer-reported bot success metrics: Ask your customers to rate their service after using your bots so you can find out whether or not your bots provide good service.

What are some use cases for chatbots?

Here are some simple yet effective use cases for chatbots.

  1. Chatbots to answer FAQs

    As previously mentioned, one of the most successful use cases for a bot is to automate basic, repetitive questions. These are the kinds of questions that your team can predict and agents can resolve in one-touch. Not only do customers prefer to use chatbots for simple issues, but this also gives agents’ time back for high-stakes tasks and to offer more meaningful support.

    More sensitive or complex issues such as technical questions or billing or payment questions usually don’t make sense for a bot. But if a bank sees hundreds of calls about its routing number or an e-commerce company gets bogged down with questions about its return policy, those would be great inquiries to deflect to a bot. That way, agents don’t have to waste time responding to the same questions over and over.

    If your team already has FAQs inside its help center, these can be a great starting point for building your FAQ bot.

  2. Chatbots to bolster self-service

    We already know that most customers check online resources first if they run into trouble and want to take care of their own problems. Bots can highlight your self-service options by recommending help pages to customers in the chat interface.

    Rather than finding your FAQ or support pages and then guessing which search queries will bring up the information they need, customers can ask questions that bots will then scan for keywords to lead them to the right page. This convenience means each customer’s path to resolution is easier. You can deploy self-service bots inside your knowledge base to help customers find the right article faster or outside of it so customers don’t have to leave their experience to self-serve.

    Self-service bots are also simple and cost-effective to build, making them a good option for teams without large developer budgets and who are looking to get their chatbot up and running quickly.

  3. Chatbots to help provide global support

    One of the advantages of chatbots is that they can provide customers with answers in every time zone and language. A chatbot can ask your customers what language they prefer at the start of a conversation or determine what language a customer speaks by their input phrases.

    This is especially beneficial for global brands. Suppose you're an enterprise company that operates internationally or is considering expanding. Bots can ease the transition to becoming a fully distributed global support team and keep customers across the world happy.

  4. Chatbots to help with ticket spikes and fluctuations

    Since chatbots never sleep, they can support your customers when your agents are off the clock—over the weekend, late-night, or on the holidays. And as customers’ e-commerce habits fluctuate heavily due to seasonal trends, chatbots can mitigate the need for companies to constantly turnover seasonal workers to deal with high-volume times.

    For instance, a chatbot can help serve customers on Black Friday or other high-traffic holidays. It could also take pressure off your support team after product updates or launches and during events. Consider Spartan Race, an extreme wellness platform that deployed a Zendesk chatbot to help its small team of agents tackle spikes in customer requests during races. Spartan Race has seen a 9.5 percent decrease in chat volume, extending its team’s live chat availability by three hours every day.

  5. Chatbots for sales

    Beyond customer service use cases, chatbots can be used for prospecting, making them a helpful hand for your sales team. A chatbot can help with lead generation by capturing leads across multiple channels. It can also pass a prospective customer to the next step in the sales process, whether that’s a human sales agent or an email and phone number capture.

    For example, a bot can welcome website visitors and ask them if they want to get in touch with sales. Prospects can leave their contact information and a note about what they’re interested in, and the bot can pass on the details to the right team. Taking it a step further, a chatbot can ask qualifying questions such as 'how large is your company?’ or ‘what is your job title?’

    A bot can be integrated into your sales CRM like it’s integrated into your customer service software. This similarly ensures seamless handoffs between bots and sales representatives, equipping sales teams with context and conversation history. Chatbots can also automatically schedule meetings when integrated with your calendar and conferencing apps.

  6. Chatbots for marketing

    A chatbot can also be a lead generation tool for your marketing team. Similar to sales chatbots, chatbots for marketing can scale your customer acquisition efforts by collecting key information and insights from potential customers. They can also be strategically placed on website pages to increase conversion rates.

    Beyond conversions and lead capture, marketing teams can use chatbots as a tool for customer engagement. For example, we incorporated a chatbot in our State of Messaging report so customers can learn more about the stories behind the report.

    Or, the mattress brand, Casper, created a chatbot for people who have trouble sleeping and want a late-night friend to talk to. Casper’s bot’s single purpose is to bring people closer to its brand.

  7. Abandoned cart/discount chatbot

    Shopping cart abandonment happens when online shoppers add items to their carts but leave purchasing. The worldwide shopping cart abandonment rate is nearly 70 percent, and this number has only been increasing over the years. Reasons that customers abandon their carts include unexpected shipping costs, a complicated checkout process, and lack of trust.

    Chatbots can help mitigate these concerns. They can be a great way to answer any questions a customer might have to give them the confidence to purchase or upgrade their account. In fact, customers are three times more likely to make a purchase when you reach out with a chat. And even if that customer isn’t ready to connect yet, providing a quick and convenient option to get in touch builds trust.

    An abandoned cart chatbot can also offer customers with a loaded shopping cart a discount to provide an incentive to purchase. The chatbot would need access to key customer context that tells it when a customer has an item in its cart, triggering it to offer that customer a discount.

  8. Chatbots for internal support

    Businesses can use chatbots to support employees, too. A chatbot is a handy addition to any internal support strategy, especially when paired with self-service.

    Many IT and HR teams use a knowledge base to help mitigate repetitive questions they get and empower employees to self-serve. A chatbot can help scale your internal self-service efforts by serving employees help center articles, which can be particularly helpful during employee onboarding or company-wide changes. An IT or HR team might also use a bot to answer FAQs over convenient channels such as Slack or email. Similar to chatbots for external support, internal support chatbots ensure employees get fast help around the clock, making them useful for global companies and remote teams with employees in different time zones.

What are some chatbot examples?

Read on for some chatbot examples to give you inspiration for the kind of bot your company might want to implement.

  1. Carousell

    Carousell is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplaces across Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. A majority of the questions Carousell’s customer-facing team receives are straightforward and transactional, like how to create an account or how to accept payments. This is where Carousell’s chatbot comes into play, which serves customers in English, Chinese, and Indonesian. It guides customers to relevant help center articles, which in turn drives ticket deflection.

    This investment in self-service tools has been a boon for Carousell’s support team. The help center receives more than a million views a month, and its chatbot responses have a 22 percent click-through rate. As a result, the company is able to successfully deflect 24 percent of inbound general enquiries, and 7 percent of all incoming requests.

    And since the team spends less time on low-level requests, it has been able to dramatically improve its response time—77 percent of the 30,000 monthly tickets are answered in less than 24 hours.

    Read the full Carousell story.

  2. Discord

    Discord is a free service that makes it easy for groups to communicate over voice, video, and text. During the pandemic, the number of unique visitors to its customer service site doubled, and pageviews increased by 70 percent as a flood of new users began using the service. The company was easily able to shoulder this unprecedented surge in users and support queries thanks to an early decision to make big investments in automation, deflection, and AI. These tools enabled Discord to help customers quickly and easily get the answers they needed, while freeing agents to focus on more complex, high-priority conversations.

    “Automation and scaling is always at the forefront of our minds, and we’re always looking for ways to do more with less,” said Danny Duong, Discord’s Director of Customer Experience and Community Management. “We’re focused on getting customers the help they need as quickly as possible, while never sacrificing the human touch.”

    To date, Discord has made more than one million suggestions to customers through its chatbot, and resolved more than 100,000 tickets. In 2020 alone, the team has also used AI to resolve approximately 14 percent of all email inquiries. In total, the team has an overall deflection rate of 10 percent, meaning that one in 10 of its customers have their problems solved without ever engaging with an agent.

    Read the full Discord story.

  3. Gametime

    Gametime is a mobile ticket marketplace app that sells last-minute tickets to the most popular events in sports, music, and theatre. The cancellation of the main sports leagues during the pandemic created an operational bottleneck for Gametime. The customer support team saw the volume of new tickets rise ten-fold in one single week, as clients flooded the inbox with questions about the cancellation policies, event rescheduling, and refund requests.

    Gametime set up a custom AI model which triggered automatic replies to the most common questions. This helped comfort customers’ with timely information about their tickets in a matter of minutes, as well as provide much-needed relief to Gametime’s customer service team in this difficult time. By knowing what type of request Gametime was receiving, Gametime’s AI software was able to automate cases based on certain conditions: the particular sports event and the different types of request. This enabled the team to handle the remaining requests with more care.

    Read the full Gametime story.

  4. LendingClub

    LendingClub connects U.S. borrowers and investors through an online marketplace that offers ethical and easy ways to access credit. To help surface help center articles and anticipate customer questions, its support team adds some of the most popular articles to automated replies with LendingClub’s chatbot.

    The team has seen valuable cost savings when its chatbot handles a ticket, with the potential for further savings month over month, and a resolution rate of 12 percent.
    Its chatbot has been helpful in addressing quick questions for customers. “We’re happy to see customers find the answers they need, when they need it. [Our chatbot] points them in the right direction to find solutions independently,” said Alina Doyle, a LendingClub Specialist.

    Read the full LendingClub story.

  5. Dashlane

    Dashlane is a leading tech company offering a B2B and B2C password manager. Dashlane’s fast growth led to an increase in customer service requests. But the type of request Dashlane’s support team receives hasn’t changed much. That means they have been handling routine requests that end up taking a lot of agents’ time and leaving them feeling demotivated due to their repetitive nature. Dashlane had several goals in mind: reduce ticket volumes, reduce response times by minimizing agent involvement and resolving repetitive tickets through automation of first replies, and reduce ticket handling times by assisting agents in replying faster and more accurately.

    Dashlane uses AI and automations to provide a first, automated reply to customers’ most common requests, with a good percentage of them being solved this way. As a result, Dashlane has seen a reduction both in ticket volume and response time, as this minimizes agent involvement in ticket resolution. Dashlane also automatically categorizes and segments customer requests into 128 categories, which improves and accelerates the routing process to the right agents or teams to best handle them.

    Read the full Dashlane story.

Limitations and drawbacks of full chatbot automation

Customers say that chatbots are most helpful when they need quick answers outside of business hours. But when more complex issues arise, these automated responses can frustrate them.

High-frequency questions tend to be low in value and simple to solve without human intervention. Common examples include account balance lookups and password resets or login failure—actions a bot can do instantly. Companies with higher ratios of these repetitive tickets will derive the most value from bots. Bots excel at reducing the volume of these FAQs while providing a superior user experience since they are always available and always instant. A value-adding bot is one that is capable of collecting customer information with an intent to arm agents with the information they need, solve complex problems, or drive a new sale.

In general, we see three buckets of case drivers that have had more success with human support:

  • Win backs: When a customer is dissatisfied with a product or service to the point where they cancel the service, agents are trained to talk customers down and offer empathy. If we want empathetic bots, we have to remember that our technology is only as empathetic as we are.
  • Upselling: When a customer indicates purchasing intent, a human agent may be able to offer other products the customer might also be interested in, whereas a bot will typically just process the transaction requested. Furthermore, us humans know when to use discretion to offer discounts and upgrades when appropriate.
  • Complex troubleshooting: While bots do a good job offering basic troubleshooting, the number of variables and the complexity of deeply technical troubleshooting makes it better suited to a well-trained agent.

Beyond these three buckets, there are also clear times when a transfer to a human agent is necessary. For example, most customers that contact support are already frustrated to some degree. If a customer continues to express negative satisfaction throughout their bot experience, it’s best to get them to a person as soon as possible—especially if a bot isn’t understanding the customer’s question. If the bot is designed to answer common repetitive questions, there will be some gaps in what it can help with. In the case it can’t recognize a user’s question, you don’t want to keep the customer stuck in a loop of asking questions and being told the bot doesn’t understand. After the customer has attempted to rephrase their question, it’s best to offer an escape path to an agent to avoid a poor customer experience.

There are times when it’s best to use a bot versus a human, but when it comes to tackling a range of tasks—from simple and repetitive to sensitive and complex—bots and humans work better together. Bots can help your brand scale 1:1 communication, but agents bring empathy to the table, and efficient handoffs between bots and their human counterparts mean customers don’t ever have to repeat themselves.

Read our blog post to learn more when it’s best to use chatbots vs. humans for customer support.

How to design chatbot conversations without any coding

Here are some key things to consider when using a visual bot builder tool.

  1. Start with low-touch, high frequency questions

    As previously discussed, chatbots work best when they're expected to answer simple, frequently asked questions. When setting up your bot implementation plan, start by compiling your FAQs. Look for common one-touch tickets—the ones resolved with a simple response. These are the known knowns that your business can anticipate and likely already have been written internally by your product or documentation team. They’re prime candidates for a bot.

  2. Focus on the customer journey and choose the right channels

    When it comes to placing bots on your website, focus on the customer journey. Where do people run into problems or hesitate—on the product pages? At checkout? After they’ve set up an account? These points of friction are opportunities to offer support.

    Beyond your website, you can deploy a bot on any channel with the right chatbot platform. From email to messaging apps, the best channels to launch a chatbot have high ticket volume and high-resolution times.

  3. Customize your bot conversations and include points for bot-to-human handoffs

    You’ll want to customize your bot conversations to match your customer service team’s voice. How should your chatbot greet customers? Can you add different fields, carousels, and quick replies (automated answer options) to make conversations more interactive and engaging? Don’t be afraid to give your bot some personality—just because it isn’t human doesn’t mean it has to sound like, well, a robot.

    When building your conversation flows, be sure to include points for a handoff from your bot to your live agents. If customers don’t have an easy way to contact a human agent, it can erode your chatbot experience. Include fields to request customer information, so agents can hit the ground running on those tickets.

  4. Zendesk chatbot

  5. Integrate with your customer service software and other systems

    No matter what type of AI bot you choose, you’ll need a chatbot solution that integrates with your customer service software and other relevant systems. Chatbots integrated with your existing support software mean agents get the full picture of a customer's history when conversations get transferred. Zendesk’s bot solutions seamlessly fit into the rest of our customer support systems. If agents need to pick up a complex help request from a bot conversation, they will already be in the Zendesk platform, where they can respond to tickets with context and conversation history at their fingertips. Zendesk is also a developer-friendly platform that integrates with dozens of other business tools from Salesforce to Shopify.

  6. Track key metrics to improve your bot over time

    Getting your bot up and running isn’t the end of your chatbot strategy. You also need to track metrics to improve and get the greatest value out of the tool. Here are a few metrics to watch:

    • Use rate: This is the percentage of customers who choose to engage with a bot when prompted or given the option. It will help you determine if customers like using bots, if they respond to nudges to use bots, and what channels they look to bots for answers.
    • Volume: This refers to the number of questions answered by your bot, which will allow you to understand how cost-efficient and time-efficient your bots are.
    • Bot response failure rate: This is the rate of questions your chatbots can’t respond to because they don’t understand them. This will help you get an idea of what people are looking for when using self-service and see where you can improve your bot flows.
    • Most answered questions: Tracking this metric can highlight common areas of frustration and opportunities for improving customer experience.
    • Referral data: This metric indicates how often a bot transfers an interaction to an agent. The referral data can help you determine how bots integrate with agents’ workflows and give you insight into how customers approach complex support questions.
    • Customer-reported bot success metrics: Ask your customers to rate their service after using your bots so you can find out whether or not your bots provide good service.

Where is the evolution of chatbots headed?

Here are a few key points to consider when it comes to the future of chatbots.

  • The rise of messaging

    There are already 300,000 active Facebook Messenger chatbots, and messaging will only become a more critical customer engagement channel.

    Messaging support has become a go-to for customers, and 74 percent of those who messaged with companies for the first time in 2020 plan to keep doing so. The volume of support tickets over WhatsApp alone jumped 101 percent in 2020, while those over Facebook Messenger and Twitter direct messages rose 58 percent, followed by SMS/text at 34 percent. What’s more, 53 percent of companies that rolled out a new channel in 2020 added messaging.

    Businesses need to engage over the channels that matter most to their customers. With support that’s fast, personal, convenient, and secure, it’s no surprise that messaging has seen an upswell of adoption by both customers and businesses. Customers can get answers when they need them through apps already installed on their phones. And unlike traditional live chat, conversations don’t have to take place in real-time, so customers can troubleshoot while taking care of other things like walking the dog or running a Zoom meeting.

  • Chatbots will see an adoption boost

    AI isn’t new technology at the workplace anymore; however, many companies are still learning how it fits in their overall business strategies. But as AI continues to improve and chatbots become more sophisticated, more businesses will adopt it. And according to Gartner, “because chatbots cater to millennials’ demand for instant, digital connections that keep them up to date at all times, millennials will likely have a large impact on how well and how quickly organizations adopt the technology.”

    Consider these statistics:

    • The Chatbots Market was worth USD 1274.428 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 7591.82 million by 2024, registering a CAGR of 34.75 percent over 2019–2024 (Research And Markets).
    • By 2024, AI will become the new user interface by redefining user experiences where over 50 percent of user touches will be augmented by computer vision, speech, natural language, and AR/VR (IDC).
    • By 2025, customer service organizations that embed AI in their multichannel customer engagement platform will elevate operational efficiency by 25 percent (Gartner).
  • Human agents will remain important

    A common misconception is that chatbots are intended to solve 100 percent of problems and completely replace human agents. This is not the case. Chatbots weren’t built to take over customer support. Rather, they were designed to serve as intermediaries, to keep customer support accessible when agents are off the clock and free them to handle tricky requests.

    Even as chatbot technology gets smarter, bots shouldn’t replace human agents but help them perform their jobs even better. Businesses get the greatest value from AI when using augmented intelligence—human intelligence and machine intelligence combined.

Best AI chatbot software & apps

  1. Zendesk
  2. Ada
  3. Netomi
  4. Certainly
  5. DeepConverse
  6. Mindsay
  7. Solvemate Chatbot

  1. Zowie
  2. ultimate.AI
  3. Meya
  4. Thankful
  5. Haptik
  6. Yosh.AI

1. Zendesk

Zendesk chatbot

An AI chatbot’s ability to be aware of user needs is a benchmark for determining its intelligence, and Zendesk’s Answer Bot was designed specifically to help businesses deliver better customer support.

For companies that already have a help center and are looking to get up and running quickly, Answer Bot seamlessly pulls information directly from your knowledge base to answer customer questions with the most up-to-date information, making it a powerful extension of your team and support system for your customer. And if companies want more control, our click-to-build bot creator provides a visual interface to empower you to build rich, interactive, and customized conversation flows with absolutely no coding required. This makes it a great option for companies implementing their first bot.

Whether you’re looking to chat with your customer over email, through a chatbox on your website, or via messaging channels like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, Answer Bot is able to help you serve your customers where they are—giving your business the 24/7 customer service superhero it needs.

Key features:

  • Applicable across many channels, such as chat, messaging, email, and Slack
  • OOTB (no code) bot builder
  • Information capture
  • Seamless bot-to-human handoffs
  • Omnichannel conversation (case) management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Article suggestions for self-service
  • Launch in minutes
  • Customize to the look and feel of your brand
  • Offer support in multiple languages
  • Provide agents with context and conversation history
  • Map and pre-populate information from customers into existing ticket fields
  • Support more customers, eliminate wait times, and watch customer satisfaction soar

Learn about Zendesk partners

If you need a bot that’s more specialized because of your niche, our bot partners have built integrations that make it easy to connect a variety of bot solutions to Zendesk. They cover a wide range of industries, cater to small to enterprise level companies, and support multiple languages around the globe. These partners make it easier to integrate with third party business software and build interactive, personalized self-service experiences. Browse our marketplace to learn more.

Learn about the Zendesk platform

Our open and flexible CRM platform enables you to connect any bot to Zendesk, even those you build yourself. It enables you to connect all your customer data—wherever it lives—for more personalized chatbot interactions. Learn more.

2. Ada

Ada chatbot

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Ada is an automated chatbot powered by AI and Natural Language Processing. It deflects repetitive tickets with a self-serve solution that lets customers change their information, upgrade their accounts, schedule appointments, and make payments on their own. Ada’s automation platform acts on each customer's information, intent, and interests with tailored answers, proactive discounts, and relevant recommendations in over 100 languages.

Ada seamlessly integrates with Zendesk to make it easy to deploy Ada inside popular social channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more. With the Zendesk and Ada integration, teams can handoff customers from automated conversations directly to a live agent within the same user experience. This diminishes customer frustration by allowing them on-demand, self-service support, and frictionless access to human beings when needed.

Key features:

  • A dedicated account manager and automated customer experience (ACX) consultant.
  • Launch a bot in 30 days.
  • Best in class NLP tuned for customer experience.
  • Actionable insights.
  • 24/7 personalized support in 100+ languages.
  • Platform integrations with customer experience software and data systems.
  • Personalized messaging using authentication and conditional based logic.
  • Personalized branding and proactive chat.
  • Seamless integration into Zendesk’s ticketing system.

Learn more about Zendesk for Ada.

3. Netomi

Netomi chatbot

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The Netomi Virtual Agent empowers you to resolve customer service tickets within seconds. It easily integrates with your existing backend systems to support full resolution of issues. For instance, the platform can access customer and order information within your CRM system in order to determine and communicate the status of an order to your customer.

Netomi’s platform supports full ticket resolution across all Zendesk channels. But it also resolves email inquiries, something that few vendors do. It operates just as if it were a live agent. With the Zendesk and Netomi integration, any issue that can’t be autonomously resolved by the AI will be smoothly handed off to a live agent with full context within the ticket.

Key features:

  • Comprehensive intent, entity, and sentiment understanding.
  • Self-learning AI that continues to automatically grow smarter as time goes on.
  • Seamless integration into Zendesk’s ticketing system and support for all Zendesk channels and email.
  • Support for 30+ languages.
  • Real-time analytics and reporting within the Netomi AI Studio dashboard.
  • AI-powered recommended replies to help your agents work faster.
  • Integration with core business systems including Order Management Systems, CRM platforms, and inventory management systems for full ticket resolutions.

Learn more about Zendesk for Netomi.

4. Certainly

Certainly AI chatbot

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Certainly is a bot-building platform made especially for e-commerce. The AI assistant can recommend products, upsell, guide users through checkout, and immediately resolve customer queries related to complaints, product returns, refunds, tracking, and tracing of orders. It also gathers zero-party data from conversations with visitors, which you can use to hyper-customize shopping experiences and increase customer lifetime value.

Certainly helps businesses of all sizes connect your AI chatbot to Zendesk in minutes for seamless live handover between chatbot and agents. That way your chatbot can open, update, and close tickets out-of-the-box. It also has multiple APIs and Webhooks options for reporting, data sharing, and more and no or low-code integration with third-party CRM, Product, and ERP tools.

Key features:

  • A ready-to-use database of 24.000 sentences and 1 billion variations.
  • A platform built for line-of-business employees, with no coding skills required to create and run a fully functional chatbot.
  • Out-of-the-box options are available for all Zendesk plans and tiers.
  • Optional custom onboarding, training, dedicated support and SLA.
  • IT Security approved and compliant with GDPR, HIPAA FSA & SOC2.

Learn more about Zendesk for Certainly.

5. DeepConverse

DeepConverse chatbot

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DeepConverse leverages the latest in AI to take your support experience to the next level. It helps businesses deploy chatbots that can deflect tickets through multi-step resolution flows and through precise answers based on user intent.

DeepConverse chatbots can acquire new skills with sample end-user utterances. A new skill can be trained in less than 10 minutes. An intuitive drag-and-drop conversation builder helps in defining how the chatbot should respond.

DeepConverse has a powerful AI driven automation platform that integrates seamlessly with Zendesk. Using this, you can build chatbots that can give simple answers and execute multi-step conversations. Bots can handover to human agents seamlessly when issues need further assistance. Or, when human agents are not available, a ticket can be filed.

Key features:

  • Multi-step conversations, with follow-up questions to get to the precise answer that your customer is looking for.
  • Instant support to almost all repetitive support queries.
  • Instant support to your customers on channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and Ticket Forms in partnership with Zendesk.
  • Detailed analytics into chatbot performance that allows teams to easily adapt their chatbot to changing needs.

Learn more about Zendesk for DeepConverse.

6. Mindsay

Mindsay chatbot

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Mindsay enables companies to provide 1-to-1 customer care at scale through Conversational AI. Mindsay's AI chatbots seamlessly integrate with Zendesk’s support solutions to allow human agents to easily enter and exit conversations via live chat and create tickets.

With the bot automatically handling the most common customer questions, agents can focus on quickly solving the complex issues that require a human touch. All information from the bot is logged as a ticket in Zendesk so that agents have everything they need to quickly resolve the issue at hand.

Key features:

  • Library of use cases: From basic FAQs to complex actions, Mindsay’s use case library solves common pain points for many industries.
  • Low-code interface: Its platform is designed to allow both developers and business users to easily build, maintain, and improve their bots.
  • Ability to connect: Its platform easily connects via API to any proprietary, industry- specific, or customer service system.
  • Instantly deploy your bot across on any channel or platform with Mindsay and Zendesk’s platform

7. Solvemate Chatbot

Solvemate chatbot

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Solvemate is a chatbot for customer service automation. Solvemate Contextual Conversation Engine™️ uses a powerful combination of natural language processing (NLP) and dynamic decision trees (DDT) to precisely understand your customers. Users can either type or click buttons - it has a dynamic system that combines the best of decision tree logic and natural language input. It is context-aware by channel and individual user to solve highly personalized requests. You can also offer a multilingual service experience by creating a bot in any language. If necessary, a human agent is always just a click away and handovers to your existing CRM or ticketing system are seamless.

With Zendesk, you can easily automate your customer conversations on their favorite channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in one service agent view - including Solvemate's chatbot. Customer data is also mapped to the appropriate fields in Zendesk, or the bot can create a new customer record if it does not already exist.

Key features:

  • Be where your customers are - together with Zendesk, Solvemate allows your customer service team to communicate with your customers using their favorite channels, automatically. Communicate with your customers on Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, and more.
  • Automatically respond to your customers around the clock.
  • Reduce the number of new tickets created by up to 90 percent.
  • All languages supported.
  • Improves on its own and needs very little maintenance.
  • Automate answers to highly personalised requests.

8. Zowie

Zowie AI chatbot

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Zowie is a self-learning AI that uses data to learn how to respond to your customers’ questions. Its automation tools learn to address customers’ issues based on AI-powered learning, not keywords. Zowie pulls information from several data points including, historical conversations, knowledge bases and FAQs, and ongoing conversations.

You can plug Zowie into your customer support software, such as Zendesk, to deliver automated responses to repetitive questions. You can install Zowie as a Zendesk add-on and within 24 hours you can learn exactly how much of your customer service can be automated during a 1:1 call with Zowie experts.

Key features:

  • Works with your existing techstack, super-low maintenance: No IT involvement needed. Managing automations takes a few clicks and 30 minutes a month, not a huge team working for hundreds of hours.
  • Seamlessly integrates with Zendesk.
  • AI-based, no keywords: Its automation tools learn to address customers’ issues based on AI-powered learning, not keywords.
  • Scaling and growth: Zowie easily adapts to 56 languages and jumps across channels in one click. As your business grows, Zowie grows with you to handle increased traffic.

9. Ultimate.AI

Ultimate.AI chatbot

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Using NLP, ultimate.AI’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant enables global brands to automate customer conversations and repetitive processes, providing great support experiences around the clock via chat, email, and social. Built for your omnichannel CRM, ultimate.ai deploys in-platform, ensuring a unified experience for your customers.

Ultimate.ai has a one-click integration with Zendesk and automates 30-70 percent of support requests across Zendesk channels. It gives customers a unified experience, with virtual agents that live as users within Zendesk. No third party widgets.

Key features:

  • Process Automation: Built for organizations with complex needs. Automate Zendesk triggers and actions, connect back-office systems, and sync data across platforms.
  • Global Scalability: Pioneer of multilingual conversational AI, with live deployments from Icelandic to Mandarin. Its multilingual and omnichannel technology lets you deploy automation across all markets and channels.
  • Dialogue Builder: Easily build the ideal conversation flows for each customer intent with the help of our conversational automation team.
  • Suggested Replies: Speed up the performance of your customer service agents showing them AI-powered reply suggestions in real-time.
  • Backend API Connection: Automate processes entirely with integrations to the backend systems, needed to resolve common cases such as checking order statuses, downloading receipts and password resets.
  • NLP Analytics: Track AI results, agent metrics, case trends and keep a 360° view of your customer service performance.

10. Meya

Meya chatbot

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Meya enables businesses to build and host complex bots that connect to your backend services. Meya provides a fully functional web IDE that makes bot building easy. The cloud code and managed database that comes with every bot allows you to make your bot powerful and delight your customers.

When integrated with Zendesk, you can add a human-in-the-loop agent to seamlessly make your teams more efficient and your customers happier. Your bot will listen to all incoming messages connected to Zendesk and respond when it knows the answer. The bot can be set to pause when assigned to an agent, and unpause when unassigned.

Key features:

  • Web IDE bot building studio.
  • Conversational framework.
  • Turnkey, scalable hosting.
  • Custom cloud code connects to your backend services to make your bots. more powerful.
  • Isolated, managed database per user, request or bot-level.
  • Connects to your favorite analytics platforms.

11. Thankful

Thankful chatbot

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Thankful is AI customer service software that is able to understand and fully resolve customer inquiries, across all written channels. Thankful's AI routes, assists, translates, and fully resolves up to 60 percent of customer queries across channels, giving customers the freedom to choose how they want to engage. Thankful's AI delivers personalized and brand-aligned service at scale with the ability to understand, respond to, and resolve over 50 common customer requests.

Thankful integrates with Zendesk, making it easy for you to deploy on any written channel. With Zendesk’s platform, this partnership presents a unified customer profile across every channel along with any chat history. This provides your agents with complete customer context and ensures a smooth transition, so that your customers never have to repeat themselves.

Key features:

  • Agent Assist: Delivers AI intuition to your human support staff through routing, translating, tagging, and recording tickets.
  • AI Agent: Automates for 50+ different ticket types, providing believable human-like responses to your customers.
  • Insight: Unlocks actionable business intelligence with real-time data, reports, and alerts to help your brand learn.
  • Promotes efficiency by saving time and agent resources with ticket prioritization and quick resolution.
  • Provides brand-like responses that align with your brand voice.

12. Haptik

Haptik chatbot

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Haptik powers Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA) that transform customer experience, while increasing sales and reducing costs. Haptik’s platform is designed keeping in mind CX professionals.

Haptik IVA serves as the first line of support for your brand and resolves over 80 percent of repetitive requests, thereby freeing up your support agents to focus on high-value, more complex customer issues—elevating user experience and driving CSAT and NPS at every stage of the customer journey.

Key features:

  • 24/7 on-demand support: Give your customers the support they expect by positioning Intelligent Virtual Assistants at the forefront of your customer service.
  • Uninterrupted user experiences: One-click customer handoff from AI to live agent in real-time, with the entire user history, chat transcripts, and customer data, within the same interface, without disrupting the user experience.
  • Personalized experiences that build connections: Bring a human touch to every conversation with engaging content that’s timed and tailored to serve your customers’ unique interests and needs.
  • Omnichannel support: Deliver exceptional support to your customers on their most preferred messaging channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS, Twitter, and lots more.
  • Ticket automation: Customer support tickets created on the Haptik IVA automatically get synced with Zendesk’s CRM system
  • Smart interactive elements: Improve engagement using interactive elements such as carousels, quick replies, share location, images, and more

13. Yosh.AI

Yosh.ai chatbot

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Yosh.AI is a deep tech company using AI for automating communication through custom-made virtual assistants. The solution is based on advanced AI technologies, mostly from Google speech recognition and NLP.

Dedicated for retailers, Yosh.AI virtual assistant is able to communicate in a conversational way with users, answering their inquiries within the product discovery area and in the post-purchase area supporting customer support. Once developed and trained, virtual agents can be deployed on many communication channels starting from voice platforms like Google Assistant, Alexa, and even phone lines within the customer support center.

Key features:

  • Engaging communication between the retailer and users.
  • Available on multiple channels.
  • Multilingual.
  • Information 24/7.
  • Increased conversion and loyalty.
  • The ability to search for products and stores.
  • The ability to search to check complaints and order status.
  • Visual search.

What chatbot software is right for you?

The right chatbot software for your business depends on your current support needs and available resources.

If you have a knowledge base, a great place to start is with a bot that suggests articles from your existing help center content and captures basic customer context for the fastest time to value. If you want a little more control, look for a bot builder with a visual interface. This enables you to design customized bot conversations without having to write any code.

If you need a bot that’s more specialized to your business niche, make sure your customer service solution can seamlessly incorporate outside bots, whether you build it yourself or buy it from a third-party, for seamless bot-to-human handoffs.

Answering these questions can help you find a chatbot solution that best fits your support team’s needs.

  • What problem are you looking to solve—and what resources do you need to solve it?

    If you’re thinking of using a bot, make sure to first identify your company’s problem area and what resources you have to solve it. Are you inundated with requests and inquiries? Could your agents be spending their time more efficiently? It’s equally as important to understand the scope of the bot you might be implementing. Does it help with repetitive tasks? Or is it an expert on a certain product?

  • Is your chatbot flexible enough to work across different channels?

    Customers expect to receive support over their preferred touchpoints—whether they’re interacting with a human or a bot. They also expect options. As such, it’s important for your chatbot to work across a range of messaging channels.

  • What level of context will your chatbot need?

    More context leads to better chatbots—and more personalized conversations.

  • How will you manage conversations between chatbots and agents?

    Businesses need tools to both deploy chatbot conversations on the front end and manage them on the back end. This ensures agents can understand the intent behind every conversation and streamlines hand-offs between agents and chatbots.

Frequently asked questions on chatbots

What is an online chatbot?

An online chatbot is a first-response tool that greets, engages, and serves customers in a friendly and familiar way.

What is a chatbot API?

Chatbot APIs enable you to integrate your chatbot solution with your customer service software and other relevant systems. This helps you ensure effective bot-to-human handoffs, manage chatbot interactions at scale, and do more with your chatbot conversations. Zendesk’s chatbot APIs are flexible, scalable, and make it easy to connect your bot to Zendesk.

What technology is used in a chatbot?

The two main technologies used in a chatbot are natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). For example, Answer Bot uses NLP to interpret customer (or employee) requests and machine learning to learn from each customer interaction to get smarter over time.

What are the most powerful platforms to build artificial intelligence chatbots for your business?

The most powerful platforms to build artificial intelligence chatbots for your business don’t just make it easy to design a bot and get it up and running quickly, but also provide you with an interface to seamlessly track, prioritize, and manage chatbot conversations at scale. This gives you fast time to value and ensures seamless bot-human handoffs. But rather than looking for the most powerful chatbot platform, it’s better to find a solution that meets your business's needs efficiently and cost effectively.

Does your company really need a chatbot?

Companies with higher ratios of repetitive tickets will derive the most value from bots. Bots excel at reducing the volume of these FAQs while providing a superior user experience since they are always available and always instant.

Can you add a chatbot to a website?

With customer service software like Zendesk, you can add a chatbot to your customers favorite channels, including your website and mobile app and/or email, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, WhatsApp, and other messaging channels.

How are AI chatbots and automation used in business?

Businesses can use AI chatbots and automation to scale customer support, improve customer engagement, and increase sales. Businesses get the greatest value from AI when using augmented intelligence—human intelligence and machine intelligence combined.

Why is a chatbot essential for your website?

A chatbot makes a great addition to your website because it enables you to provide always-on customer support while giving agents time back to focus on higher-stakes issues. It can also be a helpful sales and marketing tool for lead generation and can increase your website conversion rate.

How do you install a chatbot?

Businesses can install a chatbot in just a few clicks with Answer Bot, which leverages your existing help center resources. Our drag and drop builder tool also enables teams to design rich, interactive, and personal chatbot conversations with absolutely no coding skills required.

How do you integrate a chatbot into your website?

You can integrate a chatbot into your website quickly and without any coding skills with out-of-the-box solutions, such as Answer Bot. Answer Bot can be deployed on any website page, whether that’s a checkout page, product page, knowledge base, or customer account. It also lets you customize your chats to have your website’s look and feel and include points for a handoff from your bot to your live agents.

What is the easiest way to implement an AI chatbot on your website?

The easiest way to implement an AI chatbot on your website (or any channel) is with a bot solution that offers automation out-of-the-box, such as with Zendesk. In general, chatbots that leverage your knowledge base to serve customers' help center articles and answer FAQs are the simplest and fastest way to get started. Click-to-build flow creators also enable you to build customized bot conversations with different fields, carousels, and automated answer options without any coding.

What is the difference between a virtual agent and a chatbot?

A virtual agent is another term for a chatbot. Both terms are used to describe a first-response tool that greets, engages, and serves customers in a friendly and familiar way.

Try our chatbot service for free

Zendesk makes it easy to enhance your customer support experience with a chatbot. Answer Bot can leverage your existing help center resources to guide customers to a resolution via self-service and collect customer context. And if you want a little more control, our click-to-build flow creator enables you to create rich, customized bot conversations without writing code. Most importantly, our customer service software is directly tied into our award-winning support platform that provides teams with a real-time, conversation-focused interface to seamlessly track and manage conversations between agents and bots. It also integrates with all the systems your team depends on, including third-party bots.