ReadingChatbots vs conversational AI: Knowing the difference

Chatbots vs conversational AI: Knowing the difference


There was a time when contacting a customer support executive to resolve a query took an extended period. This delay led many people to skip this process, leaving their concerns unanswered and resulting in dissatisfaction.

However, technological advancements have overcome this challenge. Today, chatbots and conversational AI promptly address the historical challenge of prolonged customer support by offering instant assistance. Amidst this evolution, a persistent question arises, what is the difference between chatbots and conversational AI? Are they both synonymous or distinct entities?

In this blog post, we will break down and differentiate: chatbots vs conversational AI.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is like a virtual assistant always available to talk to your customers, answer their questions, and help them immediately.

Technically, it's a computer program designed to chat with people, handle their questions, help with tasks, and show them around your website or app. These chatbots use set responses and sometimes learn from interactions to be better at assisting, making them a key part of handling customer questions and needs.

Statista forecasts a substantial surge in the chatbot market, projecting it to reach approximately 1.25 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, a significant escalation from its size of 190.8 million U.S. dollars in 2016.

Types of chatbots

Based on their functionalities and capabilities, chatbots are categorized into two types:

Rule-based chatbot: Rule-based chatbots operate on predefined rules and decision trees. They follow specific instructions set by their developers to respond to certain keywords or phrases. Rule-based chatbots have limited flexibility and cannot handle queries outside their programmed scope.

AI-powered chatbots: AI-powered chatbots utilize artificial intelligence, particularly natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, to comprehend and interpret user queries. AI systems understand human language, learn from interactions, grasp context, and offer dynamic responses.

According to Forbes Advisor, More than 60% of business owners believe that AI will enhance customer relationships. AI-powered chatbots are capable of handling more complex conversations and tasks compared to rule-based chatbots.

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI broadens the scope of chatbots, embracing a more sophisticated approach to communication. These AI-driven computer programs do not just respond but comprehend, learn, and adapt dynamically to user interactions. Conversational AI refers to utilizing the power of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and contextual awareness to engage users in more human-like conversations.

Types of conversational AI

Contextual AI: The base of this technology is context comprehension. Going beyond generic and straightforward answers, Contextual AI interacts by understanding the context of the conversation. It understands previous conversations, remembers user preferences, and curates personalized responses accordingly. Contextual AI ensures a more fluid conversation, mimicking human-like understanding and providing a more seamless user experience.

Chatbots: Chatbots are the foundational components of conversational AI, that operate on predefined conversation flows or scripts. The main distinction between traditional AI chatbots and conversational AI chatbots lies in their contextual understanding and response customization. Conversational AI excels in deriving context from past interactions, allowing for personalized responses, whereas traditional AI lacks this capability. Nearly 3/4th of consumers expect immediate responses to their inquiries, making the implementation of a chatbot an optimal solution.

Virtual assistants: Broadening the scope of sophistication, virtual assistants offer a more comprehensive set of functionalities, being intelligent personal assistants. They integrate multiple capabilities, often combining elements of natural language understanding, task execution, and contextual awareness. Employing a virtual assistant can reduce a company's expenses by up to 78%. Virtual assistants aim to assist users in a broader range of tasks and contexts, providing a more holistic and personalized experience.

Voice assistants: Voice assistants operate predominantly through voice interactions, leveraging speech recognition and synthesis technologies. They cater to user queries and commands through spoken language. Voice assistants, often embedded in devices like smart speakers or mobile phones, bring about a hands-free, voice-driven experience, enabling you to interact naturally without the need for textual input. Forecasts indicate that by 2024, the count of digital voice assistants will surpass 8.4 billion units, exceeding the global population.

Chatbots vs conversational AI

Let’s have a look at the detailed distinction between chatbots and conversational AI for better clarity:

ChatbotConversational AI
Operates within predefined rules and limitations. They excel in handling simple queries and tasks but struggle with complexity.Adapts dynamically to interactions. It comprehends complexities, evolving with each interaction, handling diverse and intricate queries effectively.
Offers predetermined, standard responses, lacking personalization.Tailors responses based on context, user history, and preferences, providing personalized and adaptive replies.
Suitable for basic inquiries because of limitations in understanding context and nuances.Tackles complex queries by offering in-depth query resolution as it comprehends context and interprets nuances.
Has limited learning abilities and lack adaptability over time.Learns from interactions, improving itself with each new response to provide better user experiences.
Provides structured interactions, often less engaging and human-like.Engages users in more dynamic and human-like conversations.

Implementation of chatbots and conversational AI

To get a better understanding and real-life implementation of chatbots and conversational AI, refer to these examples:

Real-world examples of chatbot

“Dom” by Domino’s for order fulfillment: Domino’s has created a unique and interactive chatbot named “Dom.” It can be integrated into various messaging platforms, allowing users to place new orders, track current orders, or seek instant customer service. Dom assists users in customizing their pizzas and handles payment processes seamlessly. This chatbot not only enhances customer convenience but also showcases how AI-powered assistants can streamline and personalize the food ordering experience.

“Turing” by DevRev for instant and reliable customer support: Turing is the most advanced AI-enabled chatbot that you can integrate into your website. It streamlines your customer support operations by automating user interaction and swiftly resolving queries.

It features two built-in modes: Suggestion mode and Auto Response mode. The Suggestion mode offers user query suggestions for users to select and proceed further. On the other hand, the Auto Response mode automatically replies by finding the most relevant answer from the knowledge base. In instances where the answer isn't available in the knowledge base, it generates a support ticket or auto-assigns a customer support agent for further resolution.

Curious to see these capabilities in action? Check out the examples of AI in customer service, and witness how Turing's innovative features are reshaping the customer service landscape.

“Vacay” to plan vacations across the globe: Vacay is an AI-powered chatbot designed for comprehensive vacation planning. It excels in suggesting flights tailored to your preferences and budget, alongside recommending diverse destinations. It has the ability to craft entire itineraries personalized to your interests and timeframe. From bustling cities to serene beaches, Vacay curates travel plans aligned with your desires, simplifying the otherwise daunting task of trip planning.

Real-world examples of conversational AI

Netflix's recommendation system: Netflix employs Contextual AI to enhance user experience through its recommendation system. By analyzing viewing history, preferences, and even the time of day, Netflix's AI algorithms suggest personalized content. This AI-driven contextual understanding enables the platform to recommend movies or TV shows tailored to individual tastes, creating a more engaging and personalized streaming experience.

Google Assistant: Google Assistant stands as a prime example of a versatile virtual assistant. Integrated into various devices, it offers a wide range of functionalities, from providing weather updates to managing schedules and controlling smart home devices. Its contextual awareness allows for natural language interactions and adaptive responses, providing users with personalized assistance across multiple tasks and contexts.

Amazon's Alexa: Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, operates through voice interactions and serves as the centerpiece of various smart devices. It facilitates tasks such as setting reminders, playing music, and controlling smart home devices. With its natural language processing capabilities and integration into smart home ecosystems, Alexa provides a seamless voice-driven experience, illustrating the power of voice assistants in daily life.

Benefits of conversational AI

Adaptability and learning: Conversational AI, unlike traditional chatbots, can evolve and learn from previous interactions, continuously improving its responses and understanding of customer queries. This adaptability allows you to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant answers.

Contextual understanding: Conversational AI comprehends nuances and context in conversations, providing more human-like interactions. This ability to understand context enables smoother conversations, leading to more effective problem-solving and richer user experiences.

Personalization and engagement: Conversational AI has the ability to gather and use data like customer preferences and behavior. Using this data, it tailors user-specific responses that deliver relevant information to the users. While chatbots do not have this ability and lack personalization.

Handling complexity: Traditional chatbots often struggle with complex queries or contextually diverse conversations, whereas Conversational AI excels in handling intricate and varied interactions. This capability expands its utility across a wider spectrum of user needs and queries.

The future of Chatbots vs. Conversational AI

The future of chatbots and conversational AI is undoubtedly promising. These technologies have evolved significantly and continue to progress, unlocking tremendous opportunities and substantial benefits. Let's explore some of the exciting possibilities that will certainly play a significant role in reshaping how we interact with our customers.

  • Integration of emotional intelligence: The future holds the promise of AI-driven assistants possessing emotional intelligence, enabling them to understand and respond to human emotions. This advancement will elevate user experiences by providing empathetic interactions.
  • AI-driven decision-making: As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, Conversational AI is expected to assist in decision-making processes, providing recommendations and insights based on vast data analysis and user interactions.
  • Advancements in natural language understanding: The future will see further advancements in natural language understanding, enabling AI assistants to comprehend and respond to diverse languages and dialects more accurately.
  • Ethical and transparent AI: There will be a greater emphasis on ethical AI practices, ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI-driven interactions. Building trust with users will be pivotal for widespread adoption.

Deciphering the future of customer engagement

Chatbots and conversational AI continually redefine how businesses engage with their audience. As technology evolves, the quest for more human-like interactions while maintaining efficiency remains crucial. The amalgamation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and conversational interfaces empowers you to bridge this gap, offering personalized, streamlined, and engaging interactions.

To navigate this AI-driven landscape and offer a seamless customer service experience, integrating a chatbot on your website might seem daunting. Embracing solutions like DevRev, equipped with a Turing chatbot, signifies the integration of innovative technology to foster deeper connections with your audience, naturally enhancing customer satisfaction and driving business growth.

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