The 10 Best Chatbots of 2021
Chatbot technology is quickly improving, but it’s only as good as the value it provides.
The best way to determine the state of chatbots in 2020 is to assess their advantages in real-life situations. We compiled a list of nine chatbots across various industries that are setting a good example of how a chatbot should function in 2021. To qualify for this list, the chatbot had to be:
- Useful: Does the chatbot solve a preexisting problem the business and its customers face? Is it a viable solution?
- Conversational: Do conversations flow and sound humanlike? Does the chatbot have a sense of humor? Can it understand typos and jargon?
- Easy to use: Do you need to sign-up/download/install anything to use the chatbot? Is it free or does it have strings attached? Does it have a user-friendly design?
Based on these criteria, here are our picks for the best chatbots of 2021.
- World Health Organization’s Health Alert
- Bank of America’s Erica
- Hello Fresh’s Freddy
- Domino’s Dom
- Westjet’s Juliet
- OMQ Chatbot
- Lidl’s Winebot Margot
- Andy - English Speaking Bot
- Creating your own chatbot
Misinformation tends to spread during a crisis. While the coronavirus continues to permeate the world, and the population remains stuck indoors, plenty of people are seeking help and answers online.
To better inform the world about COVID-19, the WHO Health Organization (WHO) launched a chatbot in 2020 for WhatsApp and Messenger users. With a potential reach of 4 billion people, the World Health Alert chatbot is designed to help people protect themselves from COVID-19, prevent its spread, and understand the facts related to the disease.
Using keyword and emoji commands, users can select from several topic options to learn more about the virus and how to protect themselves.
To access the service on WhatsApp, you can send a simple message like “hi” or “hello” to the number +41 79 781 87 91 or tap the WHO Health Alert link . To start a conversation on Messenger, click “Send Message” on the WHO’s Facebook page .
While the chatbot isn’t conversational, it’s available 24/7 and constantly updated with the latest news and amount of infection cases.
The bot is currently available in several languages, both on WhatsApp and Messenger.
Named after the last six letters of the bank’s name, Erica is Bank of America’s virtual assistant, designed to make everyday banking easier.
Banks often use jargon and terminology not understood by the general public: transaction, authorized user, fraudulent activity, etc. But customers don’t think that way. That’s why Bank of America decided to build a bot that understands financial terms while speaking to customers in a conversational tone.
The AI-powered chatbot combines predictive analytics and natural language to help the bank’s mobile app users with checking account balances, paying bills on time or sending money. Erica can also call up credit score information and provide tips on saving and budgeting by interacting with “Better Money Habits” , the bank’s knowledge base.
If human escalation is required, Erica connects with customer service agents’ consoles in call centers, allowing customers to contact an agent at any point. As agents can see what has been happening in Erica, there’s no need for customers to repeat information. Customers also don’t need to re-identify themselves, since they’re already authenticated through the Bank of America’s app.
In 2020, Erica saw a surge in users, with more than 14 million people turning to the bot to manage their personal finances , according to Aditya Bhasin, CIO of consumer and wealth management technology at BofA.
HelloFresh tackles the ubiquitous question, “What should we have for dinner?” both through their meal delivery and Freddy Freshbot, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps customers with their recipe and ordering needs.
When a user types in a dish or an ingredient, Freddy searches the HelloFresh blog for relevant recipes. When it’s time to pick up a meal, he sends a reminder.
Though he’s a button-based chatbot, Freddy understands food-related keywords. He even entertains Facebook readers with food-themed quizzes and riddles.
But, don’t be fooled: Freddy makes it clear from the start that he’s not a human and offers button options to connect the user to customer service at their request.
HelloFresh created Freddy with Chatfuel to help monitor their high volume of Facebook messages and improve response times. Thanks to Freddy, the meal delivery service managed to slash their response times by 76% while enjoying a 47% increase in incoming messages.
Besides improving HelloFresh’s customer service, Freddy has also featured in various Facebook campaigns to boost conversions .
For those that don’t feel like cooking, there’s Domino’s voice-controlled pizza-ordering assistant, Dom. Domino’s built the bot, in conjunction with Nuance, the creators of Siri for Apple, to bring voice ordering to their mobile app and Facebook Messenger.
Instead of calling or ordering online, customers can send their orders to Dom with a single word or emoji. While pizza on demand sounds exciting, Dom can only place orders based on the items customers have previously ordered or saved as favorites.
Dom’s not just a dough-brained bot; he can also deliver cheesy puns with orders, bringing humor to the ordering process .
When users had a less than unfavorable experience during Dom’s beta phase, he sent talking apology cards, proving that chatbots are, perhaps, human after all .
In 2018, Canadian airline Westjet introduced Juliet, on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Assistant, to help millions of customers with their travel plans.
Through natural language, Juliet provides instant answers on many topics ranging from baggage guidelines and to flight status, to traveling with pets. If a user is seeking travel inspiration, Juliet is able to recommend destinations based on their interests and vacation style.
Since the bot’s launch, Westjet has seen a 24% increase in customer satisfaction , with Juliet resolving nearly 700 common queries every day, while escalating more complex ones to a human agent.
When the coronavirus pandemic spread in 2020, people naturally started canceling flights and rebooking trips in the face of lockdowns and travel restrictions. With the help of Juliet, Westjet was able to handle the surge in volume (at one point, 200 queries per second! )
Juliet is powered by Netomi which boasts “the highest accuracy of any customer service AI due to its advanced Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine”.
The OMQ chatbot is a self-learning AI-powered solution, designed to relieve workloads for customer service agents across industries.
Through linking to OMQ’s central knowledge base, the chatbot understands and analyses customers’ intentions and selects the appropriate answer. If the request is unconventional or too complex to handle, an agent is assigned to the query.
Though it works on Natural Language Understanding (NLU), the OMQ chatbot is not a human. It can engage in small talk and understand customers’ intentions, but can’t answer questions about its plans for the weekend.
The OMQ chatbot doesn’t require training or special configuration to set it up, which is why it’s Userlike’s most popular chatbot partner . You can easily connect it to our live chat platform and start chatting with customers right away.
Choosing the right wine to serve at dinner can be challenging but not with Lidl UK’s Messenger bot “Margot”.
Realizing that they didn’t have anyone in their 800 UK stores that knew much about wines, Lidl teamed up with Chatbots Magazine to build Margot, a chatbot that gives tips on wine and recommends over 220 food pairings. If a customer is interested in the provenance of their wine, they can even learn about how wine is made.
In a typical customer interaction, the customer comes across Lidl’s website and is directed to launch the bot in Messenger. Full-time staff members monitor social media and are ready to step in if Margot senses that the user wants to speak to a member of staff. The user also has the option to call on agents at any point during the chat.
Because Margot works on natural language understanding, she understands the difference between £5, fiver and five quid (UK slang).
She can respond to emojis too: to receive expert advice on the best wine to pair with a burger, for example, all a user has to do is find the burger emoji. Margot may be a wine enthusiast, but she’s not snooty.
The DoNotPay app is the home of the world’s first robot lawyer, which provides legal services to residents in the US and the UK.
Though the chatbot was originally built to contest parking tickets, it now tackles a wide range of issues including service cancellations, victim compensation, consumer protection, and more.
To get started, users answer a series of questions about their situation and who they’d like to sue. The chatbot will then generate a script based on an algorithm that analyses historically successful appears.
Aside from litigation, DoNotPay also offers a Free Trial Card. This is a virtual credit card, which can be used for free online trials of any service. The benefit of this is that users can take advantage of free trials without having to provide their payment details. And because the card automatically declines charges as soon as a free trial ends, users don’t have to remember to cancel anything.
With DoNotPay, developer Joshua Browder aims to "level the playing field so anyone can have the same legal access under the law” .
AskBenji is the first-of-its-kind chatbot, designed to help students, parents, and educators at the University of Arizona get quick answers to questions about the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
As the chatbot is targeted towards students, AskBenji is only available on SMS — where its main demographic is. To use the free service, students send a message to the number 602-786-8171.
Users then type whatever they want and Benji will respond based on the keywords he recognizes, using rule-based logic. When he doesn’t understand, he keeps the conversation going by asking the user to rephrase their question or requesting more information.
Many students have trouble understanding how FAFSA, grants, and loans work, which is why Benji was created. Students receive links to relevant pages based on their inquiry, cutting down the time spent combing through the ASU website. One less stress to worry about while preparing for university.
Speaking a foreign language can be awkward when you’re just starting out. Especially English, which seems to make up its own pronunciation rules with every word.
Luckily, Andy English Speaking bot is at hand. Using natural language, Andy lets users practice speaking English at their pace and level while correcting grammar, spelling and pronunciation (some of these features may only be available with the premium subscription).
With an average rating of 4.7 on the Google Play store, Andy is a prime example of a chatbot that can help foreign language learners improve their language skills through conversation.
The English chatbot is also available on the App Store, and on mobile and tablet on both platforms.
11Creating your own chatbot
If the above chatbot examples have inspired you, then you're at the right place to get started with your own chatbot. Whether to add to your website or to chat with customers through WhatsApp or other messengers.
At Userlike, you have two options for setting up your chatbots: through the Logic Chatbot , which allows you to create your own chatbot from scratch or through the Chatbot API , which allows you to connect your own chatbot to our HTTP framework.
With Userlike, your human support team and chatbots can work together to offer the best possible support. And what’s unique about our solution is that you can set up chatbots that work on your website and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Just register for a free 14-day trial to get started.