Finding the right solution for your business is one of the most important parts of any well-formed tech strategy. Chatbots come in three different tiers of sophistication, and picking the right one can be the difference between a successful investment and a waste of time and money.
Just like you decided how much redundancy you want for your infrastructure and how much security you want to implement in your systems, you’ll want to approach chatbot development with a similar strategy. You don’t want too much, and you don’t want to fall short either.
We’re looking for that goldilocks zone: we want just enough. We’re going to go through the three levels of chatbot sophistication to give you the tools to make an educated decision.
1. Basic: Button/Menu Bots
The most basic form of chatbots are based on buttons and menus. These bots are actually decision tree hierarchies that we present to the user through a chat interface.
Basically, this involves pre-programming a set of ‘acceptable’ conversations for the bot to have, and it won’t be able to go outside those lines. These bots do not contain artificial intelligence or machine learning.
When a user contacts a basic bot, they receive a list of options like ‘make a payment,’ ‘schedule an appointment,’ or ‘customer support.’ From there, the user will continue to click through various options until they reach an answer.
While this model is effective for routine FAQs that comprise most support calls, it can’t handle more complex issues that require greater understanding. Nonetheless, these bots can still escalate a conversation to a live service agent if necessary.
Basic bots allow organizations with high volumes of routine conversations to automate a good deal of these processes. They aren’t suitable for more nuanced use cases, nor are they the highest speed option, but sometimes a Honda is almost as good as a Ferrari.
2. Intermediate: Keyword Recognition Bots
The next tier up, the intermediate chatbot, listens to users and responds accordingly. By using AI technologies like NLP (natural language processing), these bots pick up on keywords in a conversation in order to map them to a response database.
Let’s say that our basic bot could understand the command “schedule an appointment.” An intermediate bot takes that one step further by allowing a user to type “make an appointment,” “schedule a meeting,” or even “I’d like to come in tomorrow.”
While this is certainly an upgrade, these bots can begin to falter when asked to answer many similar questions or when multiple questions involve the same keywords. Many organizations solve this issue with a hybrid approach; their bots respond to a user with a list of options based off their keywords, allowing the user to select the most relevant one and eliminating sources of confusion.
Intermediate bots are perfect for organizations who want to begin integrating AI and who want more efficiency out of their chatbot solution. AI-powered bots can more quickly handle more queries. They are the BMWs of chatbots.
3. Advanced: Contextual Chatbots
These advanced bots harness the powers of machine learning (ML) and AI to remember conversations with specific people, learn over time, and become better at their jobs. Instead of having to program keywords into the bot, as we did with the intermediate bot, these advanced chatbots are able to learn from experience to figure out conversations.
For instance, this bot may remember that a user generally sets up appointments for Monday at 6PM in a certain location. When a user contacts the bot to set up another appointment, the bot will offer to schedule their usual time and place. Of course, the user can change the time, place, or request, but this generally simplifies these processes.
Now, this is an elementary example; it only begins to touch on the powers that AI brings to the table. Especially when it can access copious amounts of data, an AI-driven chatbot can handle complex issues, adapt to changes, and expand options for automation. Ultimately, they provide a better user experience and streamlined functionality.
Of course, the bot-equivalent of a Ferrari has a higher price tag, so we want to make sure it’s a good investment before driving it off the lot. If your organization needs an enterprise-level AI solution that can handle complex, multivariable tasks, then we’ll want to look at advanced chatbots.
The right chatbot for you depends on who you are, who you serve, and what capabilities you need. Many companies can realize sufficient ROI by implementing simple menu-driven bots, while others may require a more sophisticated option.
This is where expert consultation can make all the difference. Schedule a call with our team of leading experts for a free consultation. We’ll go through your entire situation, develop a comprehensive strategy, and suggest a custom-fit model.