10 Best Chatbots For Customer Service Online In 2022

Delivering first-class customer service is a top priority for every business. Clients and prospects expect their inquiries to be dealt with promptly and efficiently, else they are likely to take business elsewhere.

But delivering on these expectations is not always easy. Any busy organization may find that its customer support teams become overwhelmed with requests. Many of these are routine or could be answered via the company’s knowledge base. Yet they still consume the time end energy of overworked virtual assistants.

Chatbots provide a solution to this problem. They leverage artificial intelligence to automate initial conversations with customers. This helps clients get answers quickly while freeing customer support reps to deal with more challenging queries. 

In this article, I’m reviewing the best chatbot software for customer service. I’ll show you the top tools on the market—and suggest what makes them stand out. 

Tool List

Here’s the list of the best chatbot for customer service that I’ll cover in this article.

  1. HubSpot Service Hub
  2. Helpshift 
  3. Kommunicate 
  4. ActiveChat 
  5. Quiq Messaging 
  6. Tars 
  7. Drift 
  8. Intercom 
  9. Genesys
  10. Acquire 

Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best chatbot for customer service? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): I look for a modern interface that’s easy to navigate on both mobile and desktop devices
  2. Usability: I’m seeking chatbots that customers will find intuitive to use, even if they have little tech experience
  3. Integrations: I expect a good chatbot to integrate with popular customer service platforms
  4. Value for $: I look for chatbots that offer good value for both large and small customer service teams

Chatbots for Customer Service: Key Features

These are the core features I’m looking for when evaluating chatbot software:

  1. Artificial intelligence: chatbots with the ability to understand open-ended questions and give answers that make sense
  2. A visual flow builder: drag-and-drop functionality that makes zero-code bot building not just possible, but easy
  3. Omnichannel messaging support: supporting communication over social media channels such as Facebook Messenger and What’s App, plus website chat
  4. Live chat handover: a reliable system for handing the conversation over to a live agent when human interaction is required
  5. Detailed analytics: the ability for managers to gain deeper insights into the customer experience and pain points
  6. Chatbot marketing: features designed to promote products and services to customers automatically
  7. Sentiment analysis: mining opinions, thoughts, and feelings from conversations to better understand customer satisfaction
  8. Widget customization: options for tailoring the chatbot’s branding, tone, style, language, and other fundamental elements
  9. Data security: high-level protection against threats that may compromise the chatbot system
  10. Built-in API: the ability to extend functionality by integrating with other tools and software

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Chatbots For Customer Service

Here’s a brief description of each chatbot for customer service to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface. 

1. HubSpot Service Hub – Best building chatbots at scale

hubspot service hub chatbots for customer service screenshot
With HubSpot, it’s easy to build a chatbot that meets your specific requirements.

HubSpot’s Chatbot Builder helps you build chatbots at scale to automate the conversations on your website. This free tool allows you to create bots without coding, using canned chatbot templates and an intuitive interface. The visual editor helps you customize the conversation in accordance with the tone and voice you want.

The software integrates with HubSpot’s contacts database, so bots can deliver personalized messages based on existing contact information. Data collected by bots is stored and synced automatically. 

This tool integrates with Gmail, Google Workplace, Outlook, and Office 365 for Windows.

The Chatbot Builder is included with HubSpot Marketing Hub, which costs from $45/user/month. There is no free trial. 

2. Helpshift – Best for rapid deployment

helpshift chatbots for customer service screenshot
Using HelpShift, you can create bots in minutes.

Helpshift’s AI-based customer service chatbots can respond to requests through live chat or a messaging interface. They use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and answer questions. Drawing on content from the knowledge base, the bots identify keywords in inquiries and respond accordingly. 

Thanks to the code-free, visual interface, you can build new chatbots in minutes without tech support. You can test and iterate quickly, deploying complex workflows to match your needs. The software uses decision trees and rule-based logic to find the best response to any query.

This tool integrates with popular platforms such as Salesforce, ZenDesk, Dropbox, and Google Calendar.

Helpshift offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial. 

3. Kommunicate – Best for balancing chatbots with the human touch

kommunicate chatbots for customer service screenshot
It’s easy to build a Kommunicate bot and integrate it with your existing tools.

Kommunicate helps you build AI-powered chatbots without code to generate more leads and improve the customer experience. You can create bots that qualify leads, schedule meetings, or provide direct answers. All customer conversations can be managed easily from a single dashboard.

The software is designed to provide the optimal balance of automated and human interaction. Bots hand over to live support agents when a more nuanced response is required. Bots can handle conversations via live chat, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Line.

This tool integrates with CRMs such as Pipedrive, Zendesk, and Agile CRM, plus other popular business tools. 

Kommunicate costs from $40/user/month, and a 30-day free trial is available.

4. ActiveChat – Best for customer-centric brands

activechat chatbots for customer service screenshot
ActiveChat offers many options for customizing your chatbots.

ActiveChat specializes in conversational AI bots that automate conversations and make human teams more productive. They combine the ability to understand natural language with the simplicity of decision trees. The bots can interact with customers in real-time over various channels, including your website, Facebook, SMS, and Telegram. 

Over 50 conversation building blocks are available for creating advanced, complex bots. The software tracks customer sentiment to prevent errors in automated conversations. Where necessary, the bot hands over to a live agent for further interaction. 

This platform integrates with major business and ecommerce platforms such as Google Sheets, Google Calendar, WooCommerce, and Shopify.

ActiveChat offers customized pricing on request. A free trial is available.

5. Quiq Messaging – Best for integrating with bots from other platforms

quiq messaging chatbots for customer service screenshot
With Quiq, customers can engage in conversations that feel natural.

Quiq excels at orchestrating conversations that naturally involve both bots and humans. The process can include Quiq bots, bots from third-party platforms, and human agents. The Quiq software passes context and custom metadata between bots and human agents. This provides the best possible insights into each conversation, making it easier to meet customer needs.

Bots can be used intelligently at any time in conversations, not just to initiate them. Agents may transfer a conversation to a bot to obtain information from the knowledge base. Managers can watch bots in conversation and intervene if deemed necessary. 

This tool integrates with business platforms such as Oracle, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Shopify.

Quiq costs from $12,000/user/year. A limited free trial is available.

6. Tars – Best for ease of setup

tars chatbots for customer service screenshot
Tars chatbots can be used effectively on both mobile and desktop platforms.

Tars chatbot platform helps marketing and customer service teams optimize conversion funnels and automate customer interactions. With over 1000 template choices available, chatbots can be built for any purpose using the self-service drag and drop builder. Chatbots can then be published either as website widgets, as a standalone page or on the WhatsApp platform. 

Managers can view and analyze data using the Tars dashboard to better understand how bots are performing. Data can be moved automatically to CRM or database applications.  

This tool provides integrations via Zapier and webhooks.   

Tars offers customized pricing on request. A free 14-day trial is available. 

7. Drift – Best for turning conversations into sales

drift chatbots for customer service screenshot
With Drift, customers can schedule a meeting directly from a bot conversation.

Drift chatbots are focused on leveraging customer conversations to create sales opportunities. They pre-qualify website visitors then help them schedule a meeting with a sales representative. The result is a better return on marketing spend and more qualified meetings booked for reps.

The software also helps refine top-of-the-funnel messaging. Drift’s A/B split testing features allow you to try different hooks to see which works best. By analyzing this data, you can continually improve chatbot and funnel performance. 

This tool provides over 50 integrations, including SalesLoft, SalesForce Marketo, and Pardot.

Drift offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.  

8. Intercom – Best for simple customer interface

intercom chatbots for customer service screenshot
Intercom helps you plan conversation flows that make sense.

Intercom helps businesses acquire, engage and support customers. This is achieved through a bot-based algorithm, supported by targeted emails, push notifications, in-app messages, and an integrated helpdesk. 

After engaging prospects in conversation, Intercom can auto-assign leads either directly or in a round-robin manner, according to the setup. The app tracks data and referral URLs, as well as organizing multi-channel conversations and follow ups.

Other Intercom features include customer context management, call-out collaborations, scheduling, metrics and chat volume management. The software can also be used as a mobile app, allowing users to respond to leads using iOS or Android devices. 

This tool integrates with platforms such as Salesforce, Slack, Segment, and HubSpot. 

Intercom offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial. 

9. Genesys – Best for chatbots that span digital channels

genesys chatbots for customer service screenshot
Genesys gives you a wide range of chatbot options.

Genesys uses natural language understanding to create proactive bots that understand common chat vernacular. AI software surfaces intent from conversations, then provides insights that can be used to improve bots. The intuitive drag-and-drop flow builder makes it easy to build bots, with dialog management built in. 

You can add context to conversations by including field-level validation that connects to back-end or third-party systems. Bots gather and check customer information, then use this data to get smarter over time. Genesys bots can be deployed across multiple channels, to engage with customers on the platform of their choice. 

This tool integrates with business platforms such as Adobe, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Zoom. 

Genesys costs from $75/user/month. There is no free trial.

10. Acquire – Designed for more human-like automated chats

acquire chatbots for customer service screenshot
Acquire bots can hand over to a human agent when necessary.

Acquire is a customer engagement solution that deals with all sales and support queries through one widget. This includes inquiries via chatbots, live chat, email, video calling, SMS, screen share, and co-browsing. 

Managers can see all these communication touchpoints in a single dashboard. The data analytics includes customer profiles that give a better understanding of the customer journey. Using this information, managers can optimize the customer experience and engage visitors more effectively.

Acquire integrates with the company knowledge base to improve live chat performance and show which support content resonates the most. All customer communications can be tracked in a single timeline.

This tool integrates with platforms such as IBM Watson, Azure QnA, and Dialogflow. Bots can also be connected to third-party messaging apps using webhooks and the Acquire API. 

Acquire offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.  

Other Options

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Yellow.ai – Best for total user experience automation
  2. Kore – Automates and streamlines customer journeys
  3. Botmock – Codeless rapid prototyping of conversation apps
  4. Hiver – Best for Gmail-based customer service
  5. Chatra – Website-based customer service messaging
  6. Olark – Integrates chatbots with live support
  7. Freshchat – Best for omnichannel support
  8. Zendesk – Excels at reducing repetitive work
  9. Kayako – Combines help center, website, and mobile app support
  10. Podium – Best for local businesses
  11. Drift – Best for tailored chatbot conversations
  12. Netomi – Best for dealing with spikes in support demand
  13. Jitbit Helpdesk – Simple, straightforward chatbot implementation
  14. Zoho Desk’s Zia – Chatbots for sales teams
  15. Conversica – Best for turning customers into advocates
  16. Ushur – No code, AI chatbot solutions
  17. IBM Watson Assistant – Best for understanding customers in context

Why Use A Chatbot For Customer Service?

Chatbots allow organizations to automate many customer service requests. They leverage machine learning to guide inquirers to the answers they need, quickly and efficiently. 

By dealing with customer questions quickly, chatbots can speed up response times and free customer service agents to work on more complex requests. They can also assist with marketing and lead generation—promoting products and services on autopilot to generate additional revenue.

What Do You Think About This List?

Are chatbots the future of customer service, or just another tech fad? Do you agree with my choices for the best apps? Let us know in the comments below. 

You can also check out our article on the pros and cons of customer service automation, plus our thoughts on the benefits, challenges, and ‘how to’ of customer service automation. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter, so you can stay up to date with the latest from top thinkers in the CX world.

Related Read: 10 Best Live Chat Software To Connect With Your Customers At Scale [2022]