2020 Roundup: Best Chatbots of the Year (So Far)
2020 has already been a huge year for chatbots. As popularity continues to increase, take a look at some of the best chatbot examples!
By Adam Westin
May 12, 2020
What makes a good chatbot? The best chatbots are user-friendly, conversational, and provide an efficient solution to a problem. Many chatbot developers have even been able to invent bots with lifelike personalities capable of navigating dynamic human conversations.
2020 has already been a huge year for chatbot development. As their popularity continues to grow and more industries adopt AI chatbot technology, new bots with new capabilities are introduced every single day. To help you find the top AI chatbots, we compiled a list of six of the best chatbot examples for 2020 (so far) from various industries.
1. World Health Organization (WHO) Health Alert
The World Health Organization is a leading source of information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To share fast, reliable information related to the pandemic and combat the spread of misinformation, WHO built a bot on WhatsApp called the WHO Health Alert. Users can select different topic options using emoji and keyword commands to learn about the virus and its effects. The bot also shares information on how people can protect themselves and others. Although the chatbot isn’t conversational, it’s available 24/7 and is updated with the latest news and number of infection cases.
2. National Geographic Genius
To help promote its new show Genius, chronicling the lives of figures like Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, National Geographic created a Facebook Messenger chatbot that spoke in the voice of the featured Genius. The bot followed users’ conversations and responded with information about the show. For the Einstein episode, users were connected with “Einstein,” who offered irreverent jokes and quips about topics he studied. The result was six-to-eight minute average conversations, 11 turns per conversation, 50 percent user re-engagement, and an engaged community of followers.
This stellar engagement can be attributed to the user-friendly and conversation-driven approach of the bot. First, National Geographic used its chatbot to create an intimate experience. The Einstein bot answered both personal and professional questions, making people feel as if they were talking to a friend in real time and establishing a human-like connection. The chatbot was also engaging because it had some personality and humor.
One of the biggest challenges when learning a new language is practicing out loud. When learning on your own, you’re likely missing out on valuable conversational skills, but naturally there’s a fear of embarrassment when it comes to conversing with native speakers.
Duolingo, a freemium language learning app that gamifies practicing a new language, built a native chatbot within its app to curb that fear and to help users build up their conversational skills. Various language tutoring bots with different personalities are available to match multiple learning styles. The bot is built to be conversational and friendly, and Duolingo learners can practice with it anytime, with any character they wish, until they feel comfortable enough to talk with other speakers.
This chatbot is interactive and enjoyable, and it solves a major consumer pain point.
4. Bank of America’s “Erica”
Bank of America’s financial assistant, Erica, can do everything from providing balance information and making budgeting suggestions to paying bills and helping with simple transactions. This chatbot example already has more than 7 million users and has completed over 50 million transactions to date.
Erica has key elements that revolutionized banking. The chatbot became an advisor to consumers, her capabilities evolving with customers’ banking needs. She went from scheduling payments to offering advice on how to pay down debt. Not only does a good chatbot solve problems, but also it acts as a resource for helpful content. If you ask Erica about credit scores, she’ll give you content around spending and budgeting. Easy-to-use transaction-search functions, which give users the ability to search and discover the company’s products and services, along with proactive reminders to cancel subscriptions, also make Erica stand out among other banking chatbots.
5. Madison Reed’s “Madi”
Madi, Madison Reed’s genius hair color bot, is “obsessed with finding your most flattering shade.” The process begins with a simple selfie. Users upload a photo of themselves and, using image recognition and hair localization, Madi analyzes the photo and identifies your primary hair color, plus secondary tones. Mimicking a salon experience, Madi also asks her clients a few simple questions to learn about their hair and their desired outcome. Along with suggesting the perfect color, the bot also offers additional recommendations that users can browse as photos to compare shades and allows them to complete their Madison Reed purchase right from their phones.
Madi is an example of masterful conversation design. The bot speaks like its audience, using flattering comments to build a connection. To garner responses, she asks relevant questions and makes the user feel as if they’re talking to a friend. Similar to lead-generation tactics, Madi helps solve a customer problem—waiting for a colorist appointment can take months, but Madi is like having a personal colorist available 24/7. All these features have paid off—the bot has boosted engagement by 400 percent with a 21 percent click-through rate to the company’s website.
6. Amtrak’s “Julie”
Many brands have demonstrated that chatbots can ensure excellent—if not the best—customer service. Interestingly, Amtrak is one of the biggest companies using a chatbot to provide customer support—particularly by utilizing its bot to provide automated responses to frequently asked questions, allowing human employees more time to answer more complicated questions.
Amtrak’s customer service chatbot, Julie, is fast and convenient, answering customer queries and helping them with transactions so they don’t have to call or email a representative. Users can ask Julie—in their own words—for information on booking reservations, FAQs, stations, and routes. And Julie asks customers if they have any more questions, just like a human agent would. If she can’t solve your problem, she connects you with a real customer service support person.
The chatbot has been able to answer 5 million questions annually and has proved to be successful. Amtrak saved $1 million in customer service expenses in a single year and experienced a 30 percent revenue increase through automated bookings.
More and more brands are using chatbots to provide customer service, market themselves, and sell their products. Due to advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots are the future of chatbot technology and are likely to become the norm in 2020 and beyond.