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What is the Difference Between Conversational AI and Chatbots?

X - Xonique
Conversational AI

Nowadays, businesses want to offer customers a better experience while reducing service costs. They’re rapidly discovering that chatbots and AI could help them achieve these goals. Chatbots have become a commonplace feature in business. They are everywhere nowadays, which can be proven by the statistics showing that 80% of consumers have had the opportunity to interact with chatbots before.

Chatbots are well-known because they provide 24/7 support to customers and ensure that users can access support whenever they need help. Since they provide a conversational experience, they’re frequently confused by the term “Conversational AI”. Although they have the same issue, i.e., creating a conversational experience without relying on a human, they have many distinct differences. 

Conversational AI and Artificial Intelligence Chatbot are frequently used interchangeably; however, they’re not the same. Consider chatbots to be helpful assistants available to aid with specific jobs. They generally adhere to defined rules for matching user inquiries with pre-programmed pre-programmed responses and can answer common questions. But it’s crucial to understand the limitations of these programs.

If you ask a simple chatbot to do something outside its programmed understanding, it will respond with a general “Sorry, I don’t understand.” However, there’s the universe of conversational AI, far above basic chatbots, in which AI-powered systems can comprehend the human voice with greater sophistication.

Let’s start by introducing some definitions before diving into the world of chatbots and AI for conversation. Together, we’ll examine the differences that make them distinctive.

What Is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a device that communicates using an algorithm based on rules and, occasionally, machine learning or natural language processing (NLP). Chatbots bring many advantages to businesses, starting by managing customers’ requests during non-work hours, reducing service costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.

If words are written down, a chatbot responds to user requests and gives a pre-written answer. Because chatbots typically are rule-based and cannot reply to users and solve issues, they may be limited. Chatbots’ ability to comprehend what the user wants to know is generally built around pre-written questions that have been programmed in the past. In this case, if the user’s question is not part of previously programmed prompts, the chatbot might be unable to comprehend the individual or address the issue.

But, by applying machine learning algorithms, chatbots can evolve further and become programmed into multi-purpose programs that can understand users’ needs and offer better resolution pathways. This is the point where conversational AI can come into play.

What Is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI enables your Artificial Intelligence Bot to comprehend human speech and respond humanly. It also allows your chatbot to converse with you naturally. It employs speech recognition and machine learning to discern how people speak about their feelings and their conversation’s context and respond accordingly. Also, it supports many communication channels (including voice, text, and video) and is context-aware, allowing it to understand complex requests involving multiple inputs/outputs.

The primary distinction between chatbots and AI for conversation is that the former is an application program that computers run, while it is a kind of technology. Examples of chatbots that use conversational AI chatbots are Siri, Cortana, Alexa as well as others. Based on the level of sophistication, the chatbot may or may not use chatbots that use AI to communicate.

Conversational AI enables companies to provide more personalized customer experiences through intelligent and fluid conversations. Artificial intelligence, through its ability to understand natural conversation, active learning, dialog flow management, and data mining, can help transform and streamline user experiences from beginning to end.

Chatbots Vs. Conversational AI

Conversational AI and chatbots are frequently discussed in conjunction, and it’s crucial to recognize their distinct characteristics. The main differences between chatbots and conversational AI focus on how they respond to calls and their end goal. Chatbots rely on keywords to comprehend customer needs; thus, questions must be addressed sequentially using programmed keywords to make them effective.

Conversational AI allows users to speak, type, or write quickly and ask questions. Chatbots often direct customers to self-service alternatives or specific pages, but conversational AI is designed to solve all issues. Chatbots can be described as intelligent agents that can handle specific jobs and give predefined answers according to predefined guidelines. Conversational AI, on the other hand, elevates chatbots to a higher level. It blends artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning to produce more sophisticated and engaging conversational interfaces. 

Chatbots employ automated rules to engage with customers via texts and online chats. They can handle specific requests and assist with rerouting and transfer. Conversational AI utilizes natural language processing and machine learning to discover customers’ needs, fully comprehend requests, and respond to them. It allows users to talk or type naturally without needing to use specific words to understand.

Understanding their differences is crucial to formulating the most effective solution for your needs.

Traditional Chatbots

  • The capability is based on text-only commands, inputs, as well as outputs
  • Single channel: This may be used for chat interfaces but only for chat.
  • The scripted conversations are predetermined and scripted.
  • Linear interactions based on rules. Does not handle beyond-task tasks.
  • Their is a navigational focus 
  • Any revision or change to predefined rules or the flow of conversation requires a reconfiguration.
  • Maintenance Revisions, updates, and manual maintenance are lengthy and laborious to implement.
  • The building process is lengthy and complex.

Conversational AI Chatbot

  • The device can text and voice commands and inputs and outputs.
  • Omnichannel technology can be utilized through voice assistants, websites, smart speakers, and call centers.
  • Natural processing of language, understanding, and contextualization
  • Dynamic, wide-spread, non-linear interactions
  • Dialogue focused
  • Continuous learning and rapid iteration cycles
  • Highly flexible. When the business database and webpages are changed, as well as the chat-based Al interface.
  • Simple deployment and easy integration into existing databases

Key Benefits Of Chatbots And Conversational AI

Chatbots that use AI provide an extra element to contact centers. They are designed to help users navigate to other information sources, including FAQs and websites, and promote self-service, which can assist customers in navigating the already available knowledge. Chatbots aim to ensure customers aren’t on hold and eliminate them from agents’ queues by redirecting them to existing sources. They are task-oriented and frequently function as FAQ systems or rerouting devices to direct users to specific areas on the website or the call center.

Conversational AI is a more durable solution that offers numerous advantages for contact centers. Thanks to its capability to recognize natural speech patterns and solve problems, Conversational Chatbot has better ratings than chatbots. Additionally, it comes with customized analytics dashboards, which offer deeper learning about the clients who call the contact center. Conversational AI has proven to provide a return on investment across all contact center aspects, such as hiring, training, and retaining agents, outbound service, and more.

Use Cases Of Chatbot And. Conversational AI Within Customer Support

Chatbots’ goal and chatbots is to improve the experience of customer service. Chatbot provides responses based on pre-programmed pre-programmed guidelines. But chatbots offer a more sophisticated and interactive approach. It allows more personal, natural, and informed conversations with customers and has been proven to deliver significantly improved CX and lower costs than conventional chatbots.

Let’s look at some scenarios in which chatbots and conversational AI can improve customer service.

Chatbot Uses Cases To Improve Customer Service

Basic FAQs

When a customer looks at an online shop and asks a simple question regarding the store’s opening hours or return policy, instead of navigating through the websites or trying to find a customer support agent, chatbots with friendly personalities immediately assist the customer. The chatbot quickly gives customers the required information, ensuring they have the best shopping experience.

Appointment Scheduling

Imagine your client wants to make an appointment at the most popular salon. Instead of navigating complicated telephone menus or waiting in a queue, the chatbot comes in to ease the process. It helps users navigate scheduled time slots, collects the necessary information, and then confirms the appointment in a snap.

Updates On The Status Of Orders

Your customer purchased something online and is anxiously waiting for its arrival. Instead of constantly checking their emails or tracking manually the delivery, a helpful chatbot is there to help them. The chatbot provides instant information on their orders, with tracking details and estimates of delivery time, and keeps them up-to-date every step of the process.

Support Via Automated Systems

Everybody has had their routines, such as password resets, balance inquiries, or updating personal information. Instead of making endless calls or filling out forms, chatbots are in place to simplify these tasks. The chatbot can quickly assist us in the needed actions, saving us time and effort.

Conversational AI chatbot Usage Cases For Customer Service

Individualized Product Suggestions

Conversational AI acts as your virtual shopping assistant and analyzes your customers’ choices and previous purchases. It recognizes each customer’s individual tastes and offers personalized recommendations to help them find products tailored to their preferences. And that’s not all. With the latest innovations like workflows that trigger events and a lifecycle optimizer for users, you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity to meet your partner, opening the door to revenue-generating opportunities that improve outcomes!

The Complex Issue Of Resolution

Imagine your client having a technical issue with the latest gadget purchased. Attempting to figure out an answer can be stressful. This is when conversational AI systems can help. They can solve complex issues, giving step-by-step directions and thorough details about the product.

Natural Language Understanding

Customers contact various customer support channels for a specific query but communicate it with distinct terms or phrases. Conversational AI systems are armed with natural language comprehension capabilities that allow them to understand the context, subtleties, and variations you may encounter in your questions. They will respond like they know the significance behind your clients’ phrases.

Empathy And Emotional Support

In some cases, clients may require more than details or answers. When faced with complex issues, such as flight cancellation or delayed delivery, AI that can talk to you could support emotional problems and the band provided. The AI can be programmed to show empathy, comprehend your client’s concerns, and offer adequate guidance and reassurance.

Advantages Of Conversational AI Over Chatbots That Are Traditional

Conversational AI provides various business benefits, focusing on customer satisfaction, enhancing processes, and boosting expansion. Because it can generate leads efficiently and turn them into sales, companies can increase their client base and revenues.

Advanced Natural Language Understanding

Traditional chatbots work within established rules and provide answers using specific terms. They cannot do much and will not be able to answer questions that are outside the parameters they’ve set. Conversely, conversational AI provides a more personal touch to conversations. It’s built upon natural language processing and uses sophisticated technologies like deep learning, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Conversational AI can learn from past queries, allowing it to change and offer intelligent responses beyond strict algorithmic processes.

Imagine traditional chatbots having a set of rules; however, conversational AI grows and expands, providing the most dynamic and pertinent conversations. The conversational AI system is lively, making interactions more personal and natural. It mimics human interaction and understanding. It’s as if you have a skilled friend who can understand your queries, offer well-thought-out responses, and thus ensure that your conversations are more memorable and fun.

Contextual Maturation

There’s a limit to the amount of information that a bot, based on rules, can provide the user. If they are faced with a question that has yet to be fed into their systems and cannot respond promptly, that could be the primary source of customer dissatisfaction. Conversational AI, on the other hand, concentrates on prior conversations and chats, inquiries, and the user’s transactions and past. Based on that data, suggestions are tailored to the individual.

Multi-Intent Cognition

There’s no standard answer for all inquiries. In the example above, the customer must determine if the order was shipped and the time it takes to ship their purchase. A bot based on rules may answer one of these queries, and the user has to ask repeatedly. It could cause a ruckus with the client since they weren’t given the information they were searching for the first time. 

Conversely, conversational AI platforms can respond to requests with many questions and switch the conversation from one topic to another between conversations. As the user will not need to repeat the request or inquiry to be satisfied, they will feel more content. Indeed, the most advanced artificial intelligence can derive several intents in a single phrase and respond to all of them.

Accuracy, Integration, Scalability, And The Sameness

Chatbots, while much less expensive, are mainly a source of dispersed and unconnected experience. They’re often used separately on different systems and need more ability to scale and uniformity. Moving platforms could be stressful because you must begin the investigation process, leading to delays and inefficiencies.

However, conversational AI solutions provide a whole new level of scalability and coherence. They offer a consistent, unifying experience through seamless integration and managing inquiries across various social networks. By using conversational AI, organizations can build a solid presence on multiple platforms and provide customers with the same experience, regardless of the platform they use to interact.

The simplest way to describe it is that chatbots allow businesses to offer the best overall user experience. They remove the fragmentation of chatbots and allow for scaling and integration. Conversational AI enhances customer experiences and fosters stronger ties with clients by offering seamless customer interactions that deliver an integrated customer journey.

Conversational AI Vs. Chatbot: The Best Option

The decision between traditional chatbots and conversational AI is based on a deliberate analysis of the business’s specific requirements, which include the complexity of client inquiries and engagement goals, budgetary limitations, and available technological expertise. Traditional chatbots are simple, low-cost solutions to automate routine customer interactions, they are ideal for businesses that focus on efficiency. Chatbots and conversational AI offer an ad-hoc, flexible method that can provide customized, authentic experiences in line with companies that strive for the latest technology and long-term customer satisfaction.

The decision is based on balancing immediate advantages against expense and technical demands, and the company’s present situation and aspirations to grow must be considered. Technology must meet today’s demands rather than adapt to trends and customer’s needs, giving your company a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Conversational AI is a step toward better, more engaging, and enjoyable customer interactions. This technology meets today’s customers’ expectations and can be modified easily for future generations, giving businesses an edge in cutting-edge innovations in customer engagement.


Conversational AI and chatbots are effective for customer service, mainly when dealing with many daily support queries. This is because of the limited capabilities of rules-based chatbots, which are available rapidly for smaller to mid-sized enterprises that don’t need vast amounts of data to answer customer inquiries. It is essential to realize that these two technologies aren’t at each other, and you can take the help of your Chatbot Development Company for the same. As artificial intelligence, conversational AI will only become increasingly efficient. Conversational AI and chatbots provide several advantages in helping customer service representatives and agents save time while dealing with more complex responses from clients.

Written by Darshan Kothari

Darshan Kothari, Founder & CEO of Xonique, a globally-ranked AI and Machine Learning development company, holds an MS in AI & Machine Learning from LJMU and is a Certified Blockchain Expert. With over a decade of experience, Darshan has a track record of enabling startups to become global leaders through innovative IT solutions. He's pioneered projects in NFTs, stablecoins, and decentralized exchanges, and created the world's first KALQ keyboard app. As a mentor for web3 startups at Brinc, Darshan combines his academic expertise with practical innovation, leading Xonique in developing cutting-edge AI solutions across various domains.

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