Ever since Facebook Messenger allowed bot development on its platform in April 2016, the use of chatbots in marketing has exploded. From simple chatbots that answer yes or no questions to hyper-intelligent bots that communicate naturally, the number of options for platforms on which to build your chatbot — and chatbot programs to use as examples and references — can be overwhelming.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for chatbot platforms and “best practices” chatbots that will help you add a great tool to your outreach arsenal.
Chattypeople is one of the most popular chatbot platforms on the web, and with good reason: it is one of the best chatbot platforms on Facebook that includes integrated Facebook commerce. Since no coding experience is required, small businesses can create great chatbots without paying for developers; however, the depth of its technology allows more advanced users to take advantage of its more complex functions. Furthermore, it’s free to get started!
The team behind Dil Mil, the leading South Asian matchmaking app, has set its sights on lovelorn people in other communities. Shalom is the San Francisco-based startup’s newest project, a Facebook Messenger Bot that connects Jewish people looking for relationships. By using matchmaking algorithms similar to those in the Dil Mil app, Shalom promises to predict compatibility between Jewish users on Facebook Messenger’s easy-to-use format.
FlowXO does a great job of promoting flexibility as a platform. By allowing users to create fully automated bots, platforms for real people to interact with customers, and nearly everything in between, the platform cultivates the ability to customize your bot to do, and say, exactly what you want.
The makers of Poncho, a popular weather chatbot, capitalized on the effectiveness of natural language and “personality” in their product. Tapping into pop culture references with a big side of sass, Poncho has grown increasingly popular among millennials as a fun tool to get weather updates and a laugh.
Botkit is an open-source chatbot toolkit that helps developers create bots for several different platforms (such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio). One major selling point is the potential to create intelligent bots that mimic the way real people hold conversations; another is its strong developer community that provides support to newbies and experts alike.
Chatfuel is another platform that doesn’t require users to have coding experience. It’s extremely simple, and the user interface is clean and easy to understand; in fact, the site boasts that people can get a bot running on Facebook Messenger in under ten minutes. Although it is not yet open to third-party plugins (which would allow users to contribute their own and use others to maximize the bot’s effectiveness), there is one significant bonus: Chatfuel is free.
The flexibility of MEOKAY is one of its major draws for developers and non-developers alike. For those inexperienced in coding and other tools, MEOKAY offers strong support. For those more independent users who want to be able to customize and tweak bots as necessary, the platform allows deeper customization capabilities. You don’t need to be an engineer to use it, but you can also use your development skills to their fullest potential if desired.
Recast is a masterpiece in simplicity. The platform focuses on creating one, high quality chatbot instead of encouraging users to make several for different functions. More importantly, is that despite its simplicity it can be used across several major communication platforms.
9. Charity: Water & Lokai
This is a strong example of the effectiveness of programming a chatbot to use natural language and multiple platforms to its advantage. Yeshi is a chatbot posing as a young Ethiopian girl with limited access to clean water. By focusing on storytelling and geolocation, Yeshi’s developers created a chatbot in which people could emotionally invest. Its Stripe integration also allows it to raise funds, making the chatbot both fiscally and socially intelligent.
Boasting simplicity and user-friendliness as its main selling point, Morph.ai allows for easy human agent involvement and clear analytics. Creating a chatbot only takes three relatively easy steps; launching a bot across multiple platforms is simple and fast, and its natural language processing allows for bots that can simulate natural conversation with potential customers (which is linked to memory retention and, in turn, higher sales).
The tidal wave of popularity associated with chat bots isn’t going away anytime soon. When choosing the best marketing approach for your business, using AI as a tool to connect with customers can be a great addition to your strategy.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.