Chatbot And Virtual Assistant, Are They Different?

Chatbot And Virtual Assistant, Are They Different?
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What is the most essential thing that you can do to improve relationships with your customers? The answer is simply to improve customer service. Just think of your customer service agents and sales teams. Hоw muсh оf their time is sрent оn bоring, lоw-рriоrity interасtiоns, like resetting раsswоrds оr sifting thrоugh sаles leаds? Whаt if yоu соuld reсоuр thаt time, leaving your team tо fосus оn engaging situations or worthwhile sales орроrtunity—whаt options does it have? 

If the answer is a lot, then consider the chatbot or the virtual assistants. Some people don’t realize that there is actually a difference between these and like all new technology, these two terms are often used interchangeably. The key difference between chatbots and virtual assistants is their primary function. Chatbots are automated programs that interact with customers like a human goal-oriented conversation. Whereas Virtual assistants create an experience for the user altogether, transporting him/her to a different world. Both chatbots and virtual assistants feature a human interface system, in the sense that they understand what the user is saying and have in-built replies to give to the user. 

What are Chatbots? 

A chatbot is an AI program that can imitate a conversation with a user in natural language through websites, messaging applications, mobile applications or by phone. In this way, the customer who has entered into his business platform can ask for their needs and make their workload easier by adding the answer prepared earlier. That’s why chatbots are more used in business despite the fact that they can automate simple tasks for all clients. 

Chatbots hold with users only when a predetermined action happens, like a user typing in the pop-up box or speaking to a device that’s “listening”. The chatbot then sets keywords from the user, comparing them to their holded knowledge based. Taking the “great likely” response, the chatbot puts out scripted information to the user. They aren’t going “learning” based on the interaction.

Different types of chatbots
  1. Menu/button based chatbots 

As the name implies, Chatbots provide the user a choice of menus or buttons from several possibilities. The bot will then invite you to pick from and so on according to what the user clicks on. 

  1. Linguistic Based (Rule-Based Chatbots) 

Rule-based chatbots are also referred to as decision-tree bots. They employ a number of set rules, as the name indicates. These principles are the basis for the sorts of problems with which the chatbot knows and can provide solutions. 

  1. Keyword recognition-based chatbots 

keyword-based chatbots can recognize terms that relate to the user’s inquiry, and customize an adequate answer by gathering information from the web using Artificial Intelligence. 

  1. Machine Learning chatbots 

A profound chatbot learns from scratch in the “deep learning” process. The chatbot is constructed using methods of machine learning. A deep chatbot learns all about your human-to-human conversation and data. 

  1. Voice bots 

Voice-activated chatbots are the ones that can converse and engage with one another. They might receive the command orally or in writing. They are scheduled to answer via voice. This may be divided into two varieties — one that answers together via text and speech. And the other, which answers exclusively by speech. 

What are some applications of Chatbots? 
  1. Appointment scheduling or Booking bots 
  2. Customer support chatbots 
  3. Marketing and sales chatbots 
  4. Entertainment bots 
  5. Learning bots

What are Virtual Assistants? 

Virtual assistants, also popularly called intelligent virtual assistants or intelligent personal assistants are online personal assistants that help people with their day-to-day activities like managing their email, scheduling meetings, etc. Popular virtual assistants include Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant. Virtual assistants have gotten pretty good at simulating human conversation using AI. When these bots receive a user command, it is first sorted into structured data to decipher what it means. For this, they use pattern matching algorithms and NLP(Natural Language Processing) to figure out user intent. Then the machine back to respond back with an appropriate message with sounds like a human natural replay 

There are literally hundreds of services that you can offer as a virtual assistant. Some of the most common ones are answering customer service emails, posting on social media for business writing or blogging, invoicing, calendar management, research, and appointment setting. Virtual assistants focus both on natural language processing and understanding of natural languages (NLU). In colloquial interactions, virtual assistants can also comprehend slang. They also have a sense of empathy and grasp language-borne feelings. NLP has a human-like feature with better conversational capacity than Chatbots for Virtual Assistants. 

Advantages of Virtual Assistants 

  1. Due to automated customer contacts, operating expenses are substantially reduced. 2. Due to its fast repayment term and overall high rentability, virtual assistants deliver a high return on investment.
  2. Virtual assistants may significantly minimize the administrative labor via automated digital operations and enhancing digital performance.
  3. With more available data, in turn, providing analysis and statistics, Virtual Assistants can give you a deeper understanding of your customer and their needs.
  4. Reduce the need for live agents (We still need them to manage and educate the powered AI agents, but virtual assistants do not remove living agencies)
  5. Improve productivity of agents and lower average handling time

Key Differences Between Chatbots and Virtual Assistants 

Emotions understating 

Unlike chatbots, Virtual assistants can detect the sentiment in the user’s messages and analyze it for emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, happiness, optimism etc. On this basis, it can gauge if the mood behind the conversation is positive, negative, or neutral. Virtual assistants also pull

information from search engines such as Google and Bing and apps to translate that into text or voice information. 

Language Understanding – Chatbots can catch the keywords but can not recognize the aim of the consumer. They provide applicable answers based totally on those key-words. On the other hand, Virtual assistants can recognize the rationale, apprehend the emotion, and analyze the intricacies of the natural language. Virtual assistants are more adaptable and provide personalized and human-like interactions with the consumer. 

Context Handling – When we engage with others, the context of our intentions or moves performs a quantifiable role within the interaction. Our expertise in language, emotions, and social cues may differ depending on where, how, and when we encounter them. AI Chatbots aren’t able to know the context. Virtual assistants, also known as contextual assistants, consider the context while generating responses, allowing them to recognise and respond to a variety of unique and unexpected human inputs. Context handling allows the digital assistant to offer additional customized and relevant responses to the user. They can gracefully cope with the interaction while the consumer switches from the expected verbal exchange path. 

Learning and Improvements – Chatbots are programmed with unvarying responses. On the contrary, digital assistants are more adaptive in nature and may research from past interactions, thereby enhancing the great of future interactions. This makes virtual assistants much less likely to fail whilst educated with large amounts of statistics over a period. 

Perform Tasks – Chatbots are mostly used as conversational interfaces for uncomplicated FAQs and can’t perform tasks. Virtual assistants can help the consumer in performing described tasks, like checking order status, elevating a carrier ticket, scheduling an appointment, sending notifications, and so on.

Virtual Assistants or Chatbot: Which One Should You Choose? 

Both chatbots and virtual assistants support extensive capabilities to help restructure a business. The remarkable focus is to identify the right areas of application in your business to leverage both of these AI applications. 

There are many more benefits chatbots and virtual assistants offer that we have not mentioned. When choosing any of these you need to know your requirements first 

Here are some questions you can query yourself to double-check if you’re choosing the accurate solution: 

-Is you looking for a simple and cost-effective solution? 

For simple to medium complex businesses, a chatbot is very useful. End users can interact with the chatbot via different messaging and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp or SMS.

– Is it to improve relationships with your customers? 

If you are looking to scale your customer service to offer 27/4 support, or accelerate your sales and marketing efforts, then a customer-facing chatbot is the right solution for you. 

– Are you looking to upgrade your personal productivity? 

If yes, a virtual assistant is what you need. Virtual agents can help you improve your productivity by assigning tasks to an assistant. 

– Are you aiming for the ultimate objective of enhancing both customer engagement and productivity? 

If you want to achieve both of these things, you’ll need to install both a customer-facing chatbot and an employee-facing Virtual Assistant.


Technology has been changing at a fast pace, and our lifestyle and working style is not an anomaly. So, there is no wonder if your business has adopted some innovative ideas to get things done. Automated messaging is one of the hottest innovations in the artificial intelligence space. We need to first be clear and recognize our business goals and plan and what we are aiming to achieve by implementing Virtual Assistants or Chatbots. A well-designed and optimized self-service arrangement will lead to substantial cost savings and customer happiness, whilst a poorly executed self-service engagement will grow expense and will in turn be poor for business. Controlling the chatbot tide might be tempting and easy to implement. For simple to medium complex businesses, a chatbot is very useful. End users can interact with the chatbot via different messaging and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp or SMS. Like interactions can be achieved over a voice channel, too. Virtual assistants for business (unlike Alexa skills) are harder to implement. The virtual assistant can do a lot of tasks unlike fetching and receiving information that a chatbot does. But with the rapidly evolving and adoption of technologies, the lines will blur and eventually the terms will be used interchangeably!