8 Types of Chatbots That Can Help Grow Your Business

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An emerging technology that is seriously improving business growth across multiple fields is chatbot software. 

Chatbots are revolutionizing businesses in more ways than one. If you’re a business owner and are looking to improve your customer service, explore new technologies, and automate processes, you may want to consider looking into chatbots. 

Fortunately, this article is all about the types of chatbots that you can implement into your business.

From voice chatbots to generative AI programs, we’ll explore how chatbots can change your business for the better.


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1. Menu or button-based chatbots

Menu or button-based chatbots are among the simpler versions of this technology.

These chatbots contain a set of options that the creator can make. Once a user interacts with this chatbot, they will be given a set of options or menu items to choose from.

This chatbot type is great for basic interaction, but lacks the flexibility that a machine learning or generative AI chatbot would have.

Many companies that receive many basic requests may opt for this chatbot type.

2. Rule-based chatbots

Rule-based chatbots are similar to menu-based chatbots, as they are very simple and only respond to prompts that fit in with a set of well-defined rules. 

For example, if a customer wants to ask about the status of their order, they can ask, “Where is my order?” and the chatbot will be able to form a response. 

However, if the question is slightly different, the chatbot may not be able to answer. 

For instance, the question, “Please tell me where my yoga pants are?” will likely produce a confused response.

Many companies use rule-based chatbots to answer frequently asked questions.

3. Machine learning chatbots

Machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence that is based on programs adapting to inputs from users. 

In terms of chatbots, machine learning enables chatbots to answer a wide variety of questions.

As more questions are asked, the responses improve. Machine learning chatbots can learn from your users (customers and clients) and be able to effectively help those with questions or concerns.

These chatbots can be great in a customer service setting.

4. Voice chatbots

There is a wide range of voice chatbots that can be used. A common misconception is that voice chatbots can only handle basic requests, such as calling menus that you encounter before speaking to a representative at a company.

However, there are many generative AI or machine learning voice chatbots that act very similarly to human customer service agents. 

If used well, voice AI chatbots can replace some of the customer service workforce requirements of a company.

5. Generative AI chatbots

Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) chatbots are the most human-like programs available. 

These chatbots are capable of having conversations and performing tasks that are very close to what a human would do. 

A great example of a generative AI program is OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can respond to almost any prompt and provide insightful responses.

Approximately 180 million people rely on ChatGPT for valuable information on a broad range of topics.

6. Hybrid model chatbots

If you’re unsure which chatbot type to choose, you can combine any two that you like.

From rule-based systems to machine learning techniques, this approach can capitalize on the benefits of multiple chatbot types. 

By combining chatbot types, you can encourage the bot to engage in conversation and solve customer problems, but also remain professional and helpful regardless of the prompt. 

As most people have had a positive experience with a chatbot, why not add to that experience for your customers?

7. NLP chatbots

NLP (Natural Language Processing) chatbots are arguably the most advanced type of chatbot on the market. 

NLP chatbots are experts at responding to language inputted by a human and can invoke context and user intent into their interactions. 

NLP chatbots make great virtual assistants and customer support agents.

As machine learning improves over time, this technology can save businesses money and improve profits through seamless customer acquisition and interaction.

8. Keyword recognition-based chatbots

Lastly, keyword recognition-based chatbots are attuned to specific keywords or phrases that a user can say. 

Once these keywords are spoken, there is a set of responses that this chatbot will send.

If there are many keywords established, keyword recognition-based chatbots can easily direct customers or clients to the right channel, but there is no flexibility in their phrase requirements. 

The rigid chatting model might be more difficult for older customers, so consider your customer base before choosing keyword recognition-based chatbots.

What type of chatbot is best for your business?

As we’ve discussed, chatbots are useful in a variety of business scenarios – especially when it comes to customer relationship management, hiring requirements, and general automation. 

Chatbots are great for businesses of all sizes, even smaller companies that could benefit from some automation.

Now that we’ve explored the different types of chatbots available, consider the goals and needs of your business before choosing a chatbot type to try. 

You may need to try AI-based chatbots with the rule-based ones and see how your customers respond to both.

I wish you the best of luck in all of your future business endeavors with chatbots.

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Donny is the founder of SMB Guide. He is a seasoned small business owner and entrepreneur, with over 17+ years of experience growing and building companies. He is a well traveled and multi-faceted individual with several successful six figure business exits.