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.
79% of contact center leaders plan to invest more in AI over the next two years. And there are plenty of automation partners to choose from. But with every provider promising world-class AI capabilities, 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. Enhanced with artificial intelligence, AI-powered support bots learn from every customer interaction — becoming smarter and more accurate over time.
How AI chatbots help businesses thrive
Bringing an AI chatbot on board allows companies to streamline operations, support CS 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
See more benefits of 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. You can be sure your data is in safe hands — Ultimate is GDPR and SOC2 type-2 compliant. And a team of experts are always on hand to support companies through every stage of their automation journey.
2. Answer Bot
Best for pointing customers to knowledge base articles
As one of the major players in helpdesk software, it’s no surprise that Zendesk’s Answer Bot is 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.
Answer Bot offers support in 18 languages and works 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.
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.
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.
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 56 languages (through a translation layer), as well as supporting businesses to maximize sales.
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.
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.
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.
8. IBM Watson Assistant
Best for multinationals
IBM is one of the giants of the tech world. Their Watson Assistant chatbot helps support teams deliver frictionless customer care using conversational AI technology.
Their low-code platform integrates seamlessly into your CRM and backend systems, so there’s no risk of siloed data. Pre-built templates and tutorials are available to help customers get an AI chatbot up and running quickly. Watson integrates with Messenger, Slack, and more — and works 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.
Best for English-language bots
Solvvy delivers fast, accurate support across multiple digital channels. With a customizable user interface and integrations with major CRM platforms, their AI chabot offers customers a personalized, on-brand experience across chat and social media channels.
A library of 100+ pre-built intents helps new users get started easily. Powered by NLP, Solvvy’s bot learns and improves over time — although some customers have experienced issues with bot accuracy in languages other than English. You won’t need any engineers to set up their automation platform and the chatbot is easy to maintain.
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 launched an AI-powered bot — and can automate sales, marketing, and support conversations. Their bot integrates with over 250 apps and can provide multilingual support in 38 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.
Their AI chatbot integrates with a number of helpdesk software providers. While Forethought can meet the needs of businesses with low volumes, brands looking for an advanced solution might want to choose another chatbot provider.
13. SAP Conversational AI
Best for enterprise businesses with IT resources to spare
Formerly known as Recast.ai, SAP Conversational AI is an advanced chatbot solution for enterprise companies. This bot building platform integrates with platforms including Slack, Facebook, and Telegram. SAP's chatbot supports brands to improve both the customer and the employee experience.
Users gain access to SAP’s advanced reporting and analytics tools. However, as a low-code platform you’ll need to allocate some IT resources and dev work to get your bot up and running.
Best for a simple out-of-the-box solution
The Certainly bot is designed to help ecommerce brands create more personalized experiences for their customers. As well as automating simple queries, this AI chatbot can offer product recommendations and upsell — supporting customers throughout the entire buying journey in over 14 languages.
This out-of-the-box solution uses preset templates and integrations for speedy implementation. But this lack of flexibility means customers with specific use cases might find that Certainly can’t meet their needs.
Best for simple, repetitive customer requests
Thankful is another platform that provides customer service chatbots for ecommerce and retail companies. Their AI chatbot can send automatic replies to over 50 common customer queries, across all written channels.
As well as fully resolving simple questions, Thankful can speed up response times by offering agents suggested responses and recommending next steps.
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.