The 9 Best Chatbots of 2020

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. A chatbot can look modern but offer little to no value for customers. If a chatbot is too frustrating to use or unhelpful, companies risk hurting their image.

We compiled a list of nine chatbots across various industries that are setting a good example of how a chatbot should function in 2020. To qualify for this list, the chatbot has to be:

  • Useful: Does the chatbot solve a preexisting problem the business and its customers faced? 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 2020.

1
HelloFresh’s Freddy

HelloFresh tackles the ubiquitous question, “What should we eat for dinner?” both through their meal delivery service and chatbot.

Freddy Freshbot is a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps customers with their recipe and ordering needs. If users type in a dish or ingredient, Freddy searches for relevant recipes on the HelloFresh blog . When it’s time to pick new meals, Freddy sends a reminder.

The friendly bot even keeps users engaged with food-themed quizzes.

Freddy was created with Chatfuel and is a button-based bot, but does understand food-related keywords.

The chatbot makes it clear from the start that it’s not a human, but has button options to connect the user to customer service at their request.

HelloFresh created Freddy to help monitor their high volume of Facebook messages and improve response times. The meal delivery service had a 47% increase in incoming messages and reduced their response time by 76% thanks to Freddy.

The brand cleverly promotes chatbot-exclusive discount codes on their Facebook page, which are then delivered via message by Freddy. In 2018, HelloFresh experienced a 64% conversion rate from a Black Friday promo code and continues to award codes (often with “BOT” in the name to assess ROI) to customers when they interact with their quizzes and posts.

2
Capital One’s Eno

Capital One sought to improve relationships with its banking customers, and its mobile app Eno was born. The friendly banking chatbot helps keep customers alert about suspicious transactions, duplicate charges and unusually high spending.

Customers can text Eno 24/7 via website, mobile app or SMS to check their bank balance and recent transactions or to report any card trouble.

Eno will even send alerts when a customer is charged more than usual for a bill.

A lot of work and money went into the creation of this chatbot, which is unsurprising since Capital One is the eleventh largest bank in the United States. Eno understands over 2,200 terms and emoji making it a contextual chatbot that speaks conversationally, not via commands. It doesn’t discuss much outside of banking, but is helpful, professional and speaks with a gentle tone.

A unique feature of Eno is that it reviews the transactions of Capital One’s credit card customers for the year. If they’re eligible, Eno provides customers with a charitable donation summary. In 2019, Eno identified almost $2 billion in tax-deductible charitable donations from users’ accounts.

3
World Health Organization’s WHO Health Alert

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.

The World Health Organization is helping people stay healthy and informed with their new WHO Health Alert chatbot. The WhatsApp-exclusive bot is designed to give fast, reliable information about the coronavirus.

Using keyword and emoji commands, users can select from several topic options to learn more about the virus and its effect.

screenshot of the World Health Organization's opening message with number options

To get started, users need the WhatsApp app. From there, sending a simple message like “hi” or “hello” to the number +41 79 781 87 91 allows access to the free service.

The chatbot isn’t conversational, but it’s available 24/7 and constantly updated with the latest news and amount of infection cases. It’s currently available in English with plans to soon add Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

4
Amtrak’s Julie

Amtrak created Julie to improve their online self-service for their 375,000+ daily site visitors. Julie can answer questions and help with transactions so customers don’t need to call or email an agent.

Developed by Next IT , chatbot Julie is Amtrak’s newest customer-friendly innovation to follow-up their successful voice service assistant .

image of Julie chatbot helping with train schedules

Users can ask Julie in their own words for information on booking reservations, FAQs, station and route information, plus help with making hotel and rental car reservations.

Like a human agent (with an unfortunate human icon image — I wonder how many people this has tricked), Julie asks customers if they have any more questions instead of letting the conversation die.

Julie is only available on Amtrak.com, but this hasn’t hindered her success . The passenger railroad service experienced 30% more revenue generated per booking and 50% year-over-year growth with Julie. Not to mention the five million questions the chatbot answers annually.

Julie even won Awards.AI’s Global Annual Achievement Award for Best Consumer Application of AI . Just don’t try asking her for any jokes. She’s all business.

5
OMQ Chatbot

The OMQ chatbot is a pre-built conversational AI solution for businesses. Built in 2019, the chatbot is designed to relieve workloads for customer service agents across industries.

Used by major companies such as EMP and Baby Walz , the fast, efficient chatbot solution works right out-of-the-box.

screenshot of Baby Walz website showing chatbot widget

The chatbot is linked to OMQ’s central knowledge base and uses its artificial intelligence to learn from every new request and interaction with service employees and customers.

It can also engage in small talk and understands customers’ intentions. However, OMQ wanted the chatbot to make it clear that it’s not a human despite its advanced Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine.

The OMQ chatbot doesn’t require training or configuration to get it set up, which is one of the reasons 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.

The software works on instant messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram, but can also be integrated into your own website.

6
KLM’s BB

BB, short for Blue Bot, helps KLM travelers with finding new travel destinations, booking flights and packing their bags. It works on Facebook Messenger and wherever customers use Google Assistant.

KLM created BB to help handle the large volume of requests agents receive through social media.

Built with DialogFlow and powered by DigitalGenius , BB is a professional, helpful, friendly, edgy character that learns from customer conversations through natural language understanding and occasionally cracks a joke. Users reported that they enjoy discovering all the little Easter egg responses to their questions.

BB can help throughout the entire planning and booking process, but if there are problems, it can hand the conversation over to an agent at any time. Before traveling, BB will even check the weather and suggest what the customer should wear or bring, like an umbrella or extra clothes.

7
AskBenji

AskBenji is the first ever Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) chatbot. It was made for Arizona State University students to help them earn financial aid and grants to pay for their studies.

Benji is only available on SMS to cleverly target its main demographic. Students can send a message to the number 602-786-8171 to use the free service.

screenshot of conversation with Benji asking about FAFSA verification

Benji is a keyword-based conversational chatbot. Users can type whatever they want and Benji will respond based on the keywords it recognizes. When it doesn’t understand, it keeps the conversation going by asking the user to rephrase their question, or by saying that it understands the question but needs 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. It’s one less stress students have to worry about when preparing for university.

8
Lark

Technology solutions can be a hard sell to older generations, but Lark is successfully making strides. Developed for those with diabetes, poor behavioral health and hypertension, Lark helps monitor users’ health data.

With this information, Lark can determine which healthy habits an individual needs to adopt to see meaningful results.

Lark is a contextual chatbot, which means it can have humanlike conversations. It has a friendly, kind and humorous persona perfect for engaging older users. According to Lark CEO Julia Hu, Lark’s conversational approach has given seniors a social outlet directly tied to their health.

Lark was co-developed by Harvard and Stanford University, and earned full recognition from the Center for Disease Control for their diabetes prevention program. It was also named one of the top 10 Apple apps in 2015.

In a recent study with Omron , researchers discovered that pairing Lark with their blood pressure monitor resulted in a decrease above 5 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure over six months. This is a significant decrease that reduces cardiac events.

Lark is free when prescribed and given access by a healthcare provider and is available via mobile and website.

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9
Andy - English Speaking Bot

Andy helps users learn and practice English through simple exercises and casual conversation. The English language bot speaks naturally and in simple sentences depending on the user’s skill level.

screenshot of conversation with the Andy chatbot

Learning a new language can be awkward, but Andy keeps the conversation moving by asking questions and using open-ended phrases. He corrects a user’s grammar, spelling and pronunciation, but some of these features are only accessible with a premium account.

Andy is a prime example of using conversational AI to help people learn a new language through practice. It has an average user rating of 4.7 on the Apple app store, and is praised for being a chatbot that works so well.

The English chatbot is available in Google Play and the App store for mobile and tablet. You can also find it on Telegram .

Key features of the best AI chatbots of 2020

A noticeable change among today’s best chatbots is that they’re becoming more and more conversational. Button- and keyword-based chatbots are still thriving, but businesses are also spending more time and effort on creating a well-versed digital assistant. It would explain the rise in conversation designer positions.

We also observed that chatbots are being designed for more on-the-go use. Just how live chat is growing in the messenger scene, chatbots are following suit and going where their users go.

To learn more about how your customers feel about chatbots, watch our video on consumer chatbot perceptions:

If you’re a business looking for a chatbot solution, we recommend having live chat as a foundation to connect your bot to. Userlike offers a free 14-day trial and is partnered with the chatbot provider OMQ for a seamless chatting experience. Contact us and one of our reps will help you get set up.