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The 6 types of chatbots — Which one do you need?


The 6 types of chatbots — Which one do you need?

A chatbot on an eCommerce website would be totally unlike the one for Banking. Just how we contrast in our personality and talents, the same goes for chatbots in their appearance and activities!

In this blog, we’ll be touching upon what are the different types of AI chatbots, the different types of business chatbots, and their applications and their functionalities. This will give you a clear understanding as to how many types of chatbots are there and what would be the ideal chatbot type for your business!

Here are the types of chatbots

1. Menu/button-based chatbots

Menu/button-based chatbots are the most basic type of chatbots currently implemented in the market today. In most cases, these chatbots are glorified decision tree hierarchies presented to the user in the form of buttons. Similar to the automated phone menus we all interact with on almost a daily basis, these chatbots require the user to make several selections to dig deeper towards the ultimate answer.

While these chatbots are sufficient for answering FAQs that make up 80% of support queries; they fall well short in more advanced scenarios in which there are too many variables or too much knowledge at play to predict how users should get to specific answers with confidence. It’s also worth noting that menu/button-based chatbots are the slowest in terms of getting the user to their desired value.‍

2. Linguistic Based (Rule-Based Chatbots)

If you can predict the types of questions your customers may ask, a linguistic chatbot might be the solution for you. Linguistic or rules-based chatbots create conversational flows using if/then logic. First, you have to define the language conditions of your chatbots. Conditions can be created to assess the words, the order of the words, synonyms, and more. If the incoming query matches the conditions defined by your chatbot, your customers can receive the appropriate help in no time.

However, it’s your job to ensure that each permutation and combination of each question is defined, otherwise, the chatbot will not understand your customer’s input. This is why a linguistic model, while incredibly common, can be slow to develop. These chatbots demand rigidity and specificity.‍

3. Keyword recognition-based chatbots

Unlike menu-based chatbots, keyword recognition-based chatbots can listen to what users type and respond appropriately. These chatbots utilize customizable keywords and an AI application — Natural Language Processing (NLP) to determine how to serve an appropriate response to the user.

These types of chatbots fall short when they have to answer a lot of similar questions. The chatbots will start to slip when there are keyword redundancies between several related questions.

It is quite popular to see chatbots that are a hybrid of keyword recognition-based and menu/button-based. These chatbots provide users with the choice to try to ask their questions directly or use the chatbot’s menu buttons if the keyword recognition functionality is yielding poor results or the user requires some guidance to find their answer.‍

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4. Machine Learning chatbots

Ever wondered what is a contextual chatbot? A contextual chatbot is by far the most advanced of the three bots discussed previously. These types of chatbots utilize Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remember conversations with specific users to learn and grow over time. Unlike keyword recognition-based chatbots, contextual chatbots are smart enough to self-improve based on what users are asking for and how they are asking it.

For example, a contextual chatbot that allows users to order food, the chatbot will store the data from each conversation and learn what the user likes to order. The result is that eventually when a user chats with this chatbot, it will remember their most common order, their delivery address, and their payment information and merely ask if they’d like to repeat this order. Instead of having to respond to several questions the user just has to answer with ‘Yes’ and the food is ready!

While this food ordering example is elementary, it is easy to see just how powerful conversation context can be when harnessed with AI and ML. The ultimate goal of any chatbot should be to provide an improved user experience over the alternative of the status quo. Leveraging conversation context is one of the best ways to shorten processes like these via a chatbot.‍

5. The hybrid model

Businesses love the sophistication of AI-chatbots, but don’t always have the talents or the large volumes of data to support them. So, they opt for the hybrid model. The hybrid model offers the best of both words- the simplicity of the rules-based chatbots, with the complexity of the AI-bots.‍

6. Voice bots

To make conversational interfaces even more vernacular, businesses are now beginning to use voice-based chatbots or voice bots. Voice bots have been on the rise for the last couple of years, with Apple’s Siri, to Amazon’s Alexa, and why? Because of the convenience they bring. It’s much easier for a customer to speak rather than type. Voice bots bring frictionless experiences directly to the customer.

So, which type of chatbot is right for you?

While deciding if a chatbot is right for you, place yourself in the shoes of your users and think about the value they’re trying to receive. Is conversational context going to significantly impact this value? If not, then it is probably not worth the time and resources to implement at the moment.

Another thing to consider is your target user base and their UX preferences. Some users may prefer to have the chatbot guide them with visual menu buttons rather than an open-ended experience where they’re required to ask the chatbot questions directly. All the more reason to have users extensively test your chatbot before you fully commit and push it live.

The right chatbot is the one that best fits the value proposition you’re trying to convey to your users. In some cases, that could require enterprise-level AI capabilities; however, in other instances, simple menu buttons may be the perfect solution.

‍What are some applications of Chatbots?

1. Appointment scheduling or Booking bots

Appointment scheduling or booking bots are the kinds of bots you usually find in the Healthcare, airline, and Hotel industries. These bots help customers book slots for appointments with the enterprise they communicate with.

Appointment bots are often linked to Google calendar, so when a customer books an appointment with you, it automatically gets stored in the calendar, creates an event, and sends reminders to both the customer and the business representative. The HR team also uses HR chatbots to schedule interviews for recruitment purposes.

Phia — An intelligent HR chatbot for appointment scheduling

‍So if you have a business that requires a lot of booking and scheduling, this bot serves the purpose! Some of the types of chatbots under this category are-

  • HR Bot for scheduling meetings and interviews
  • Healthcare Bot for booking appointments
  • Travel Bot for flight bookings
  • Number of active users
  • Hotel Booking Bot to book rooms and services
  • Number of active users
Global Village’s chatbot for tourism

Global Village’s chatbot for tourism

  • Appointment Slot Booking can be integrated with any type of business
  • Cinema Bot to book movie tickets
  • Service Bots for automotive businesses
  • And so on…

2. Customer support chatbots

This must be the most popular use-case of chatbots! When someone says the word ‘chatbot’, the first thing to pop up in our mind is that one time we spoke to a chatbot for customer care. These types of chatbots perform all tasks a customer support representative would do. And it does them real good!‍

Poppy’s chatbot for retail engagement

‍Features such as 24/7 hour availability, quick and easy solutions, instant replies, and live chat facilities make chatbots the ideal tool to improve customer service. It not only improves communication between businesses and clients but also builds a rapport with them to earn customer loyalty. They also gather customer feedback and send it to your team so that you can work on the shortcomings.

They allow your customers to easily interact with your business through stimulating conversations and also play their part in increasing sales.

Some of the bot templates under this type of chatbots are-

  • Retail Support Bot
    To handle queries related to your retail product line. It’s also used to sell products directly
  • Telecom Bot
    To provide customers the convenience of checking their bill, make a payment, recharge plan, change plan, change number etc directly through the bot. It also procures any customer queries related to your service
  • Techdesk Bot
    To helps employees connect to the internal technical support team for issues related to the system and access to services/Applications. The bot is also used to send confirmation to the customer through email.
  • Banking Bot
    Caters to your banking needs in an interactive manner. It provides account related information, ongoing offers, helps you get an update on your checkbook, and also takes you to travel booking facilities
  • Orders, deliveries, and logistics Bot
    Order issues help handle issues with food delivery orders
Bandhan bank’s service desk chatbot

‍3. Marketing and sales chatbots

Marketing and sales are the next most popular use-case of chatbots after customer support. So these intelligent bots are able to personalize the customer experience, have a larger engagement capacity, reach a wider audience, analyze customer feedback and data, sends relevant notifications, and moves customers seamlessly through the sales funnel.

Podar Education chatbot to engage parents
  • eCommerce bot
    Browse through products directly from your chatbot. You can send your customers images through carousels and link your website for purchases
  • Education-course bot
    This bot allows prospective students to browse through various course offerings by an educational institution. The chatbot also provides details on course fees, duration, and admission mode per course
  • Automotive Lead Generation bot
    Allows customers to get details on cars, features, prices, etc, along with booking service
  • Real Estate bot
    Collect requirements from your customers on what they are looking for
  • Quiz bot for market research
    Generates a quiz around the market research. It comes with attractive wallpaper and button color customizations. Saves the answers provided by the user, calculates their score, and also sends an email to the user letting them know their score
  • Social media marketing bot
    A lead generation chatbot template for social media marketing agencies. Which notify the admin whenever a new lead is generated
  • Lead generation
    Google helps you take user information and save it in google sheets. So the prospects that are already on your product have strong leads. So this bot will help you store that information which can be used to market products to these customers or provide support to convert these leads
  • Lead generation with Salesforce
    Helps you take user information and save it in Salesforce. Prospects already on your product are strong leads this bot will help you store that information which can be used to market products to these customers or provide customer support to convert these leads

4. Entertainment bots

Entertainment bots are made for entertainment and media purposes. These bots include-

  • The tv show guide
    A simple yet powerful chatbot to help track channels as per category for a service provider
  • The go-karting bot
    The ideal chatbot template for booking go-karting services. The bot also shows some information about tracks and karts
  • Quiz bot
    Serves a quickfire round of questions to those interested in a little harmless fun dose of quiz questions. It ends with giving a quick score based on the correct answers
  • Riddle bot
    To engage your customers through games to keep them coming back to your website
  • News and media bot
    To help users access news from different categories. So the bot flow leads the user to news categories where they can select the desired category to access news and can also subscribe to a category
  • Cinema bot
    Lets your customer’s book movie tickets, read reviews, browse through different genres
  • The entertainment factor
    A bot that assists users with everything at their favorite getaway location. Adding ease to their fun!
  • Youtube channel bot
    Deploy a chatbot using this template anywhere to use it as your new social media channel to share your youtube content
  • The podcast bot
    Helps the user learn about the universe with the help of podcasts or become a VIP member to get updates!

These are just to name a few among the wide range of templates we offer! Register with Engati to build an ideal chatbot for your business and browse through 200 bot templates in the Bot Marketplace that caters to every business need of yours.

Also, to gain a little more insight on chatbot technology, read up on some of these blogs!

Happy Botting!

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The 6 types of chatbots — Which one do you need? was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.