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Conversational AI vs Chatbots: What’s the Difference?

If you’re exploring technology and automation for your contact center, you may be curious about the differences between conversational AI and chatbots. Although these technologies have some similarities, there are important differences to consider before making your purchase decision. While both are designed to answer customer questions or inquiries without an initial live agent involved, their end goals are often different.

Conversational AI aims to resolve customer requests fully, accurately, and quickly with zero wait time and no human intervention. It can also recognize and respond to questions across all omnichannel communication including voice, text, and messaging. This technology also uses natural language processing to understand the way humans talk, eliminating the need for strict word choices and excessive escalations.

Chatbots, on the other hand, primarily work through only the chat messaging function of a website, not on SMS texts or as part of a phone system. In many cases, they are designed using strict rules and limited if/then reasoning, which results in many customer questions being deflected to self-service channels or ending up in hold queues.

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI is an automated call center solution that can answer an unlimited number of customer inquiries at one time. It is designed to handle all Tier One repetitive calls without human interaction, which frees customer service representatives to handle more complex questions and improves agent satisfaction. It can be integrated with other channels to offer a more complete picture of contact center activity.

One example of this kind of contact center automation is in the hotel and travel industry. Many businesses deal with a large number of new reservations as well as changes and cancellations. These inquiries are repetitive and simple to automate yet can be boring and burdensome to live agents. A solution such as The Thinking Machine by Replicant gives the capability to answer unlimited customer calls simultaneously, delivering value to both the company and the customer.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an automated technology that usually sits on a web page, inviting customers to type any questions into a messaging box. After searching a FAQ database using keywords from the query, it provides standard answers from the FAQ library. If these AI conversations cannot be resolved, the chatbot transfers the customer to a live agent to resolve the issue. According to Gartner, “By 2027, chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for roughly a quarter of organizations.”

What is the Biggest Difference?

The main difference between these two solutions is the customer service experience they generate. Conversational AI technology offers a much richer customer interaction than chatbots. Instead of redirecting the customer to self-service information or into a queue to wait in line for a live agent, the customer’s problem can be resolved immediately. This leads to higher customer satisfaction.

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According to a McKinsey report, organizations today have “produced a seemingly never-ending wave of tech-based breakthroughs that keep resetting the bar for customer care. The use cases for artificial intelligence, automation, and analytics in the contact center are increasingly expanding, making these technologies fixtures in virtually every executive boardroom discussion.”

Learn how Replicant’s conversational AI solution can help you save time, improve customer satisfaction and increase ROI in your contact center. Schedule a demo to talk with one of our experienced professionals. We’d love to share how we can usher your call center into the future.

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