How to Distinguish Which Type of Chatbot is Right For You

Emily Randolph
written by
Emily Randolph
last updated
June 10, 2021
How to Distinguish Which Type of Chatbot is Right For You

What is a chatbot? Most people have no idea.

Chatbots that give the most accessible help without requiring extra work are the ones to look out for. You want to find: fast help, valuable data, and self-sufficiency.

For a larger company, hiring people to run live chat is no big deal, but smaller companies may want to look for a chatbot that can run itself. 

There are two main types of chatbots that encompass all chatbots on the spectrum — there are the ones that talk and the ones that don’t.

  1. Conversational
  2. Non-conversational

Give each type a thorough examination to determine which type of chatbot is right for you.

Conversational chatbots create conversations with customers on their own. It’s like having a conversation with a robot, but you’re not always aware it’s a robot. Within this category, there are scripted bots and AI bots. 

With scripted bots, you have to predict what people will ask. If you think the user will ask about your refund policy, then you provide answers on your refund policy and the bot will use this script. 

For example, the user may be presented with 3 option paths to choose from.

When the user chooses a path, the bot can follow the script for the path chosen. This can sometimes be limiting, but it allows you to control the answers your bot provides. 

AI bots, however, are pretty unpredictable — they do everything for you, but you have no control. You let the user control the entire conversation.

For example, if you have an e-commerce store and sell wireless charger kits, here’s what can happen in a conversation flow:

  1. AI Chatbot: How can I help you? Did you check out our sale?
  2. User: What’s the shipping policy? (note the user ignored the AI’s question)
  3. AI Chatbot: Here’s a link to our policy
  4. User: (leaves the critical path landing page, and goes to a shipping page, potentially losing the sale)

This doesn’t happen in scripted chatbots or in support bots (see non-conversational below).

Conversational chatbots try to shotgun as many answers as possible, which can sometimes be good but can also be very confusing for the user. 

A chatless chatbot (non-conversational) is usually referred to as a support bot. It provides all the support without the messaging. 

As a small business, it’s hard to keep track of support, and you don’t want to have to tell customers to come back later. For example, when a user has a specific question about your pricing, you want to capture that question regardless of whether or not you can answer it immediately.

That way, you can solve it for future users as well.

Support bots are also knowledge bases that provide different experiences depending on the information you are trying to present. Its focus is purely on serving answers and collecting questions. 

You can add FAQs and a multitude of answers so your customers can get knowledge quickly.

Talking to customers takes a lot of time, and without deep investment into configuration scripts, support bots help create:

  • Equal weight
  • Question collection
  • An affordable solution

Support isn’t helpful unless there is speed and convenience. Fast access to information builds customers confidence and results in sales. 

Getting to know customers allows you to mold your business into something more relevant and exciting. The data and feedback you get from customers via things like surveys will help you do so.

You can’t grow your business if you’re busy working the phones all day. Chatbots that are completely self-sufficient afford you the freedom to grow your business. 

With all these things, you can feel good knowing that you have support and focus your efforts on building your company. 


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