One of the most asked questions we get is how do chatbots work? It’s understandable, as there are seemingly no end to the advances in chatbot technology today.

If you take a step back, there are three types of core chatbots most consumers see today:

How Do Rules-Based Chatbots Work?

Rules-based chatbot software executes pre-determined actions based on “playbooks” you set up on the back end of the user interface. Much like a virtual assistant, rules-based chatbot technology can act based on clicks actions, such as “Yes” vs. “No”, or by recognizing a particular keyword or group of keywords. For example, you could set up a rules-based chatbot to respond if someone selects “Red” or “Green” but also if they respond with “I want red shoes” and your target keyword is “red shoes”.

Below is an example of how a rules-based chatbot could behave based on the pre-determined actions that you design ahead of time.

How Do AI Chatbots Work?

A.I. chatbots use artificial intelligence & natural language processing technology to understand sentences structure, then process that information & progressively get better at answering the question at hand. Learn more about AI Chatbots here.

Instead of relying on a pre-determined outcome designed by a human, AI chatbots first understand what your question is:

Then once they understand your intent, they deliver an answer that they think is the right answer based on existing data. Over time, and by observing correct & incorrect answers, the machine gets better at understanding what the ‘right’ answer is (think Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa) . This is why AI chatbots, although powerful, aren’t right for everyone because they require a training period, and generally require more effort to get started. However, once they understand your business well, they can be incredibly powerful.

We typically see the adoption of AI chatbots for enterprises, however, there are exceptions like e-commerce and other high volume industries that require scale earlier. Check out Drift Automation if this might be a fit for you.


How Does Live Chat Work?

Live Chat is a chat technology that sits on your website or product and acts as a window to your team for your customer. Live chat software has some routing capability to assign real-time conversations, but overall it’s pretty simple. When someone wants to talk and your team is online, live chat connects someone from your team to help address that person’s issue. Check out our Live Chat Beginners Guide here to learn more.

The difference between Chatbots, AI chatbots & Live Chat can be summed up here:

Can’t Decide Which Chatbot Is Right For You?

This decision becomes harder and harder as you begin to evaluate all the potential use cases for chatbots across the entire customer experience. Luckily we have a team of experts here to guide you through the decision making process.

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