Every chatbot is unique in its own way. For instance, a chatbot on an eCommerce website will naturally be different from a chatbot on a banking platform.
In the previous blog, we've covered how small businesses can leverage chatbots to their advantage. Here, let’s touch upon the different types of chatbots, their features, applications, and functionalities. This will give you a good idea regarding the chatbot classification so you can make an informed decision as to what kind of chatbot will be ideal for your small business.
So, let’s jump right into it. Here are the top 5 types of chatbots that you need to consider for your business.
1. Menu/Button-Based Bots
The menu/button-based bots are the simplest and the most basic type of chatbots implemented in the market today. More often than not, these kinds of chatbots are a glorified form of decision tree hierarchies that are presented in front of the user in a button/menu-type fashion.
Remember the telephonic IVRs wherein the user has to press a lot of buttons to ultimately arrive at the answer they were looking for? A button-based chatbot is more or less similar.
In case you are looking to set up a chatbot for your website and other channels for the first time instead of investing in a lot of support representatives, these kinds of bots could be an ideal option because they are quite sufficient for answering FAQs - that, of course, make up 80% of the support queries. However, you must also be mindful that they fall short in more advanced scenarios in which there are too many variables and predictions. So, the end-user might not get the specific answer that they came looking for in the first place. To be frank, it is also worth noting that menu/button-based chatbots are the slowest in terms of getting real value to the user.
2. Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots
These kinds of chatbots are more advanced than their menu-based counterpart. Keyword Recognition-Based bots use Natural Language Processing NLP to cater to their users. Here, the user doesn’t need to select a bunch of options to solve their query. Rather, the user can interact by giving a free text input. Once the user enters their query, it analyzes the user’s text based on the keywords and gives the best possible result. Instead of making the user choose innumerable options, they have more freedom to input and have a more natural-sounding conversation.
However, the keyword-based chatbot falls flat when the user inputs the keywords it can’t recognize. And more often than not, the bot gets confused with several similar inputs, ultimately leading to a dissatisfying experience. In order to avoid the same, businesses usually combine both the menu-based and keyword-based chatbots to provide the user with a choice to either input their questions directly or utilize the menu button to find the answer that they are looking for.
3. Contextual Chatbots
Contextual chatbots integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. They are more advanced than the other two bot types that we discussed above because their technology and knowledge transcend beyond just spewing information at the customers.
These chatbots remember every interaction they have had with their customers, and they learn and grow with time, making the user experience better. For instance, say you order a particular attire using the bot. It will remember what kind you ordered, your payment information, your delivery address and much more, and when you visit a second time, it will conduct predictive analysis and show personalized recommendations.
Contextual chatbots can divided into two categories:
- Assistant Chatbots: With the advent of AI-assisted devices such as Google Home, Alexa and Siri has opened new avenues for small businesses to redefine the way they interact with their customers. An assistant chatbot is a software program that offers services that include but is not limited to booking appointments, scheduling reminders, booking tickets for events and many more! Since they are AI-powered, they can learn the preferences of their users and habits with time. Although their usage is quite limited at the moment as they are for individuals’ personal needs, businesses are realizing the technology’s potential and are slowly but surely gaining momentum.
- AI Bots: These bots use the power of Machine Learning and NLP to orchestrate a conversation with a customer. In short, these bots generate their own answers based on the user’s intent. They are some of the most advanced forms of chatbots available in the market today, and they can answercomplex customer queries. These are naturally more intelligent than the other chatbots, and require a huge volume of training data in order to avoid producing irrelevant responses.
4. Voice Chatbots
The name itself is self-explanatory, voice chatbots use vocal input and output as their medium of communication. A user can talk to the bot and it will respond to their query. These bots often use a speech recognition technology that is a part of the NLP to comprehend the intention behind the input.
Voice bots bring in the convenience factor that the other bots fail to. Although businesses haven’t really capitalized on this technology, they can create a voice-activated chatbot by using Text to Speech (TTS) and voice recognition APIs to create a hyper-personalized experience for their users like how Siri and Alexa do.
Voice bots bring accessibility to the table as they involve only bare minimal effort from the user. More importantly, the user can connect with it any place, any time and the user can make a booking or place an order without ever needing to input manual texts.
5. Social Messaging Chatbots
The chatbots that are integrated into a social media platform such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Slack are known as Social Messaging Chatbots. These kinds of bots also bring a personal touch to the user as it allows them to directly interact with the brand using their social handles. Furthermore, social messaging bots also have the ability to sell, process orders, track order information and answer the FAQs at a much quicker pace rather than waiting on an operator to read and reply.
In addition to that, it also cuts down costs for small and medium businesses while offering instant response time to the customers. For starters, you can look for apps that let you build your own DIY bots.
It would be an understatement to say that the relationship between customers and brands has metamorphosed completely after the intrusion of chatbots. Businesses from across the globe are rapidly deploying chatbots to serve their customers better. So, now that you know the different types of bots that are available in the market, you need to choose the one that is right for your business. To do that, you need to articulate the main goal that you want to achieve with your chatbot and who is going to be in control of asking the questions, which channels you want to use and your budget. If you can arrive at an answer for these four crucial questions, it will give you a fair idea as to which chatbot is right for your business and build your communication strategy around it.