Leading brands are looking to drive efficiency and deliver on business goals, while maintaining the outstanding CX their customers expect. To do this, they’re turning to customer support automation. And with the hype around generative AI (thanks to a little chatbot you might have heard of called ChatGPT) both customers and companies alike are getting excited about the potential of AI technology to streamline support and offer more human-like automated experiences. In fact, according to our in-house customer service trends research, 76% of business leaders plan to implement a generative AI support solution in 2024 — and 14% have already started using gen AI.
The appetite for AI is growing. And there are plenty of automation partners to choose from. But with every provider promising world-class AI capabilities, access to the latest tech innovation, the fastest time to value, and seamless UX — how can you know which AI-powered chatbot is right for your customer support?
First: let’s back up a minute.
What is an AI chatbot?
An AI chatbot is a software program that simulates human speech. These programs allow people to communicate with computers in a way that feels natural and conversational. This makes chatbots incredibly useful in the support automation context. Enhanced with artificial intelligence, AI-powered support bots learn from every customer interaction — meaning they become smarter and more accurate over time.
The latest generation of AI chatbots for customer service are enhanced with generative AI. These powerful bots work instantly — no training or maintenance required. Simply plug them into your public knowledge base and start deflecting FAQs right away. Not only do gen AI bots provide near-instant time to value, but they also deliver a more natural conversational experience for customers.
So it's no wonder that companies looking to automate their support are searching for providers that offer access to the latest and greatest AI technology.
How AI chatbots help businesses thrive
Bringing an AI-powered support bot on board allows companies to streamline their customer service operations, support agents in their roles, and provide customers with more joyful CX. With chat automation, you can:
- Fully resolve customer queries and provide instant 24/7 support
- Cut average handle time (AHT) by collecting customer information up front, giving agents the context they need to solve issues faster
- Scale your support and protect your team from unexpected fluctuations in contact volumes
- Give agents more time to spend on high-value work and complex customer cases
And these are just some of the benefits businesses will see.
Learn more about maximizing ROI with support automation.
The 15 best customer service chatbots
There's a lot to consider when deciding on an AI provider for your customer service — from integration capabilities to data protection policies. To help you find the best AI chatbot for your brand, we’ve rounded up the top 15 contenders.
Best for advanced automation solutions tailored to specific business needs
Ultimate is a global leader in customer support automation. With a no-code platform and an intuitive Dialogue Builder, Ultimate makes it easy for CS teams to build advanced conversation flows and deliver faster, more joyful customer support — in 109 languages. The Ultimate AI chatbot is language-agnostic and doesn't rely on a translation layer. Ultimate's proprietary language detection model is the most accurate on the market and is designed specifically to understand short, informal customer service messages.
With a unique headless approach, Ultimate’s AI chatbot sits inside your existing tech stack (just like your human agents) and natively integrates with leading CRMs: like Zendesk, Salesforce, Freshworks, and more. On top of this, Ultimate offers custom API integrations to connect your chatbot with your backend systems, and automate more complex processes end-to-end. The Ultimate solution can automate repetitive tasks and instantly respond to customer questions across all digital channels — including email tickets and social media messaging platforms. Advanced analytics and multilingual reporting allow you to keep a close eye on your bot's performance.
Ultimate’s industry-leading conversational AI technology uses your own historical support data to create a custom-built AI model tailored to your individual business. What's more, Ultimate recently launched UltimateGPT, a chatbot powered by generative AI that's built on your help center and works instantly. UltimateGPT comes with 4 personas, so this gen AI bot can instantly adopt your brand tone of voice.
Want to see how it works? Here's a demo of UltimateGPT in action.
Ultimate takes a hybrid approach to support automation — embedding the power and flexibility of generative AI within existing conversation design technology — to bring their customers the best of both worlds.
Customers today are increasingly concerned about how their data is used (and rightly so). But you can be sure all of your customer data is in safe hands — Ultimate is GDPR and SOC2 type-2 compliant. And the cherry on top? A dedicated team of AI experts are always on hand to support companies through every stage of their automation journey.
2. Zendesk bots
Best for pointing customers to knowledge base articles
As one of the major players in helpdesk software, it’s no surprise that Zendesk bots (formerly known as Answer Bot) designed specifically to upgrade the customer experience. For Zendesk users it’s quick to get this out-of-the-box, no-code solution up and running.
Zendesk bots offer support in 18 languages and work across email, chat, and messaging apps. This in-built AI chatbot is easy for Zendesk pros to maintain, but might not meet the needs of customers with more complex business cases. And with Zendesk AI, companies gain access to a number of agent-facing generative AI features — such as summarizing message threads and shifting the tone of agent replies.
Best for voice bots
Netomi’s AI chatbot supports companies to automatically respond to customer questions in a conversational way. Their NLU-powered platform is trained on past messages and can resolve cases across chat, email, voice, and social.
Out-of-the-box integrations with leading helpdesk providers make it easy to use Netomi within your existing tech stack. And their multilingual capabilities (Netomi's AI chatbot supports 100+ languages) mean companies can serve customers around the world. Netomi also offers generative AI features, to give their customers access to the latest tech.
4. Freddy AI
Best for CS teams who want to automate a few simple tasks
Freddy is the AI chatbot designed by CRM platform Freshworks. The Freshworks bot helps their customers provide instant, automated solutions to common queries in 47 languages. Freddy works across chat and messaging apps.
Learning from your knowledge base and FAQs, Freddy AI adapts and improves over time. Freddy’s no-code decision tree bot builder is easy to use — but less flexible than other AI chatbots. Like Zendesk, Freddy favors the agent-facing uses of generative AI, offering co-pilot features to help agents work more efficiently.
Best for digital retailers looking to automate their FAQs
Built for ecommerce brands, Zowie is a self-learning AI chatbot that draws on your existing support data to automate repetitive customer questions. Zowie works within your existing tech stack and is super low maintenance.
This AI chatbot helps digital retail companies to deliver personalized customer care in 175 languages (through a translation layer), as well as supporting businesses to maximize sales. Generative AI features such as sentiment analysis help to improve customer experiences.
Best for proactive support
Designed to provide proactive customer service, Ada’s AI chatbot allows support teams to create personalized experiences at scale. The Ada bot cuts waiting times and can serve customers in over 100 languages using a translation layer.
It’s easy for non-technical users to design conversation flows with their no-code, drag-and-drop bot builder. This chatbot also features integrations with the best CRMs and other third party apps — as well as rich messaging functionality like emojis, images, gifs, and videos. Ada offers a knowledge base bot and additional gen AI features to support agents in their roles — as a stand-alone product, rather than integrating into existing automation systems.
Best for Salesforce superfans
Einstein is the AI chatbot developed by leading CRM platform, Salesforce. Not only does Einstein allow Salesforce users to deliver personalized chat support — this smart assistant helps streamline workflows and drive sales. Their newest offering, Einstein GPT, integrates with OpenAI to bring generative AI features to Salesforce customers.
For teams already using Salesforce as their CRM software, Einstein is available as an add-on. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the Salesforce Service Cloud before you can access their bot. Plus, getting started with Einstein requires a lot of internal resources and it can take up to 6 months to launch a bot.
Best for a simple out-of-the-box solution
Gladly is another CRM platform that offers automated customer service as part of their software suite. After acquiring AI chatbot provider Thankful, Gladly has launched Gladly Sidekick for automated self-service support. Their AI chatbot uses generative and conversational AI to send automatic replies to common customer queries.
As well as fully resolving simple questions, Gladly can speed up response times by offering agents suggested responses, summarizing conversations, and recommending next steps.
9. watsonx Assistant
Best for multinationals
IBM is one of the giants of the tech world. Their watsonx Assistant (formerly known as Watson Assistant) chatbot helps support teams deliver frictionless customer care using conversational and generative AI technology.
Their low-code platform integrates seamlessly with your CRM and backend systems, so there’s no risk of siloed data. Pre-built templates and tutorials are available to help customers set up their AI chatbot or voice agent. And watsonx integrates with Messenger, Slack, and more — creating automated experiences across both digital and legacy channels.
Best for internal-facing chatbots
Boost.ai is an easy-to-use conversational AI platform that helps customer service teams automate their support. This AI chatbot integrates with Zendesk, Salesforce, Messenger, and other apps.
As well as creating customer-facing chatbots for support teams, Boost.ai offers voice assistants and bots designed for internal teams like IT or HR departments. Pre-built, industry-specific intents are available and Boost.ai supports voice bots. Like Ultimate, Boost.ai take a hybrid approach when it comes to using to conversational and generative AI.
Best for smaller commerce brands
Siena is a conversational AI chatbot, designed with commerce brands in mind. This chatbot understands context and learns from the best interactions. Siena works across email, SMS, and social messaging platforms — offering a multi-channel experience. Plus, companies can create channel-specific AI personas to deliver the best experience in each context.
This bot can pull details from a knowledge base to resolve pre-purchase product queries, helping businesses ease buyer friction. But if you work in any other industry, you’ll have to go with an alternative provider.
12. Zoom Virtual Agent
Best for Zoom Contact Center users
Video conferencing giant Zoom acquired chatbot provider Solvvy — and incorporated the bot company into their product suite. Now known as Zoom Virtual Agent, this chatbot delivers fast, accurate support across multiple digital channels.
With a customizable user interface and integrations with major CRM platforms, their AI chatbot offers customers a personalized, on-brand experience across chat and social media channels — optimized for video. But you’ll have to be a Zoom Contact Center user to access this product.
Best for companies with budget to unlock gated features
A pioneer in the chatbot space, Intercom launched their first rules-based chatbot in 2011. Now they’ve released Fin — a conversational AI-powered bot built on GPT-4 that can automate support conversations and repetitive tasks. Their bot integrates with over 400 apps and can provide multilingual support in 43 languages. As well as chat automation, they offer a messenger-first ticketing solution.
Intercom is trusted by some of the biggest names in tech (like Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft). However, they’re also one of the more expensive AI chatbot options.
Best for small businesses
Forethought is one of the AI chatbot providers favored by smaller businesses. Their platform directs customers to help articles, solves common customer questions, and escalates more complex cases to the right department. Using generative AI throughout their platform, Forethought’s (trademarked...) SupportGPT uses a company's public help center to answer customer FQAs.
Their AI chatbot integrates with a number of helpdesk software providers. While Forethought can meet the needs of businesses with low volumes, brands with more complex use cases might want to choose another chatbot provider.
Best for an ecommerce sales and support solution
The Kindly bot is designed to help ecommerce brands create seamless, personalized experiences. As well as automating support queries, this AI chatbot can act as a virtual shopping assistant — offering product advice, increasing conversions, and supporting customers throughout the entire buying journey.
This AI chatbot offers support in 14 languages but it can only be embedded onto your website. This lack of channel capabilities means customers looking for an omnichannel automation solution will find that Kindly can’t meet their needs.
To sum up
As you can see, there are many providers offering AI chatbots to help you supercharge your customer support with AI. But the best automation platforms on the market are headless, omnichannel, no-code, language-agnostic — and provide ongoing support to their customers.