The key differences between Chatbots and Conversational AI

chatbot vs conversational ai

The answer to this depends on your individual business goals and requirements. A typical chatbot would provide a straightforward way to address frequently asked questions from your students or clients. If you’re unsure of other phrases that your customers may use, then you may want to partner with your analytics and support teams. If your chatbot analytics tools have been set up appropriately, analytics teams can mine web data and investigate other queries from site search data.

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NLP is a field of AI that is growing rapidly, and chatbots and voice assistants are two of its most visible applications. One of their key distinctions is the degree of intelligence and autonomy between chatbots and conversational AI. Typically rule-based, chatbots respond to user input by following pre-established rules.

So what’s the difference between a chatbot and conversational AI?

With Conversational AI, the ability to build effective Digital Assistants is viable and efficient. Customer interactions with these platforms are consistent and quality across the brand, whether customers are interfacing with in-depth sales questions, or troubleshooting a support issue. Rule-based chatbots have some limitations and they are surely not the best option when a business thinks of catering to modern customers and needs. During this explosion of interest, “chatbot” has evolved into an umbrella term that may inaccurately describe what a chatbot can and cannot do. Chatbots and conversational AI technology are often used interchangeably. In reality, the capabilities between chatbot technology and artificial intelligence are very different.

chatbot vs conversational ai

When compared to conversational AI, chatbots lack features like multilingual and voice help capabilities. The users on such platforms do not have the facility to deliver voice commands or ask a query in any language other than the one registered in the system. On the other hand, because traditional, rule-based bots lack contextual sophistication, they deflect most conversations to a human agent.

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In fact, data from Google Trends shows that interest in chatbot solutions has increased ten-fold over the last 5 years. By carefully assessing your specific needs and requirements, you can determine whether a chatbot or Conversational AI is the better fit for your business. On top of this, conversational AI can remove any ambiguity around the query. So instead of bugging out and refusing the request, the AI can ask additional, relevant questions to get to the crux of the matter, just like a human counterpart would. But when someone asks something like “How long does it take to run a 5K?” they’re trying to figure something out behind the question, i.e. what they need to do to achieve this goal. So, a conversational AI will engage the end user, and understand the nature of the problem behind the question.

It operates according to the predefined conversation flows or uses artificial intelligence to identify user intent and provide appropriate answers. Also known as script-based chatbots, they are ideal for answering Frequently asked questions (FAQs) and addressing basic customer queries through messaging apps or website chat interfaces. Additionally, sometimes chatbots are not programmed to answer the broad range of user inquiries. In these cases, customers should be given the opportunity to connect with a human representative of the company.

Depending on your budget, team acceptance of new technologies, and your level of operations, figure out what would work best for you. For a text-based input, Conversational AI will decipher the intention through Natural Language Understanding (NLU). NLU is a sub-branch of NLP which involves transforming & analyzing human language into machine-readable text. For a voice-based interpretation, Conversational AI will use a combination of NLU and Automatic Speech Recognition. Organizations can create foundation models as a base for the AI systems to perform multiple tasks.

While building an AI chatbot, you should choose your target audience with the business objectives. The chatbot scripts should replicate the user intent and business objectives. Scripting an AI chatbot requires components such as entities, context, and user intent. Conversational AI platforms feed off inputs and sources such as websites, databases, and APIs.

Users not only have to trust the technology they’re using but also the company that created and promoted that technology. Finding out if a specific conversational AI application is safe to use will require a little bit of research into how the bot was made and how it functions. Like its predecessors, ALICE still relied upon rule matching input patterns to respond to human queries, and as such, none of them were using true conversational AI.

chatbot vs conversational ai

The most important thing to know about an AI chatbot is that it combines ML and NLU to understand what people need and bring the best solutions. Some AI chatbots are better for personal use, like conducting research, and others are best for business use, like featuring a chatbot on your website. Chatbots are used in customer service to respond to questions and assist clients in troubleshooting issues.

Chatbots vs. Conversational AI. What exactly is the difference?

Microsoft’s conversational AI chatbot, Xiaoice, was first released in China in 2014. Since then, it has been used by millions of people and has become increasingly popular. Xiaoice can be used for customer service, scheduling appointments, human resources help, and many other uses. If you know what people will ask or can tell them how to respond, it’s easy to provide rapid, basic responses. Conversational AI offers numerous types of value to different businesses, ranging from personalizing data to extensive customization for users who can invest time in training the AI. With that said, conversational AI offers three points of value that stand out from all the others.

chatbot vs conversational ai

Rule-based chatbots use keywords and other language identifiers to trigger pre-written responses—these are not built on conversational AI technology. Traditional chatbots operate within a set of predetermined rules, delivering answers based on predefined keywords. They have limited capabilities and won’t be able to respond to questions outside their programmed parameters. Lyro is a conversational AI chatbot created with small and medium businesses in mind. It helps free up the time of customer service reps by engaging in personalized conversations with customers for them. From what we have learned above, Chatbots are a type of Conversational AI technology, but not all chatbots use Conversational AI.

Chatbots are tools for automated, text-based communication and customer service; conversational AI is technology that creates a genuine human-like customer interaction. A chatbot is a computer program that emulates human conversations with users through artificial intelligence (AI). It is estimated that customer service teams handling 10,000 support requests every month can save more than 120 hours per month by using chatbots. Using that same math, teams with 50,000 support requests would save more than 1,000 hours, and support teams with 100,000 support requests would save more than 2,500 hours per month.

Your FAQs form the basis of goals, or intents, expressed within the user’s input, such as accessing an account. Once you outline your goals, you can plug them into a competitive conversational AI tool, like watsonx Assistant, as intents. You can always add more questions to the list over time, so start with a small segment of questions to prototype the development process for a conversational AI. The future of customer and employee experience innovation is all about creating and delivering solutions that help make every interaction more efficient and meaningful than the last.

What are all chatbots conversational interfaces?

Fourth, conversational AI can be used to automate tasks, such as customer support or appointment scheduling that makes life easier for both customers and employees. In the chatbot vs. Conversational AI debate, Conversational AI is almost always the better choice for your company. It takes time to set up and teach the system, but even that’s being reduced by extensions that can handle everyday tasks and queries. Once a Conversational AI is set up, it’s fundamentally better at completing most jobs.

chatbot vs conversational ai

Discover how our Artificial Intelligence Development & Consulting Services can revolutionize your business. Harness the potential of AI to transform your customer experiences and drive innovation. The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and chatbots and conversational AI are poised for remarkable growth. Some advanced chatbots even incorporate sentiment analysis to gauge customer emotions, allowing for better customer satisfaction management.

For example, if a user asks about a specific product, Conversational AI can look at how the user has talked to the app before and give more personalized answers. Chatbots may provide general solutions that don’t consider what was said before. Although the spotlight is currently on chatGPT, the challenge many companies may have and potentially continue to face is the false promise of rules-based chatbots. Many enterprises attempt to use rules-based chatbots for tasks, requiring extensive maintenance to prevent the workflows from breaking down.


So, while rule-based chatbots and conversational AI-based bots are both used for human-bot interaction, they are very different technologies and also provide a completely different customer experience. Rule-based chatbots (otherwise known as text-based or basic chatbots) follow a set of rules in order to respond to a user’s input. Under the hood, a rule-based chatbot uses a simple decision tree to support customers. This means that specific user queries have fixed answers and the messages will often be looped. Rule-based chatbots—also known as decision-tree, menu-based, script-based, button-based, or basic chatbots—are the most rudimentary type of chatbots.

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