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Worldly phrases are frequently mentioned alongside messenger chatbots such as machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI). The word “bot” alone can conjure up futuristic images of a looming digital Armageddon.This has led to a lot of confusion about what exactly chatbots are, where they fit into your business strategy and the barriers to entry businesses may face. 

Whilst AI and machine learning can bring with them significant benefits your business does not necessarily need such advanced development techniques to reach its desired business objectives. At it’s most simplest form a chatbot is simply a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users.

Many messenger chatbots are simply complex logic trees, integrated with 3rd party applications. At Chit Chat Agency, we believe all businesses, big and small can benefit from a messenger bot, it’s simply the next step in the evolution of email marketing and how customers communicate with businesses.  

Different types of chatbots exist. People often debate how many “types” of chatbots actually exist, it’s a not a straight forward answer but let’s take a look at the three most popular types.

Flow-oriented

A flow-oriented chatbot also known as a scripted chatbot. These bots are made to follow a certain path that’s defined by a logic tree. Typically the user goes through a set of questions/options and based on those inputs the chatbot then goes down the pre-defined path, thousands of dynamic paths can exist. So although the user still gets to make the decision, they will need to go down one of the pre-set paths, which is quite similar to how you get to change the scenario of a video game by choosing from a variety of options. 

Artificial Intelligence Chatbot

The main difference between Artificial Intelligence and flow-chatbots is that they can handle free-text. So the user can simply enter any text and the bot will be able to analyse that into a set of parameters and understand what the user requires and react accordingly based on the context of the conversation.

artificial intelligence chatbots
Artificial intelligent chatbots are often advanced flow oriented chatbots.

Hybrid Chatbot

Hybrid bots combine the two types of bots and create a semi-intelligent system that is configured with some AI capabilities and a pre-defined flow. In fact, most of the bots that you would encounter today, are likely to be hybrid bots. You can also integrate chatbots into CRMs or other business tools such as Google Sheets.

Perception vs Reality

Many people believe that chatbots are deeply technical and view that as a barrier to entry. However, whilst chatbots are technical the reality is that conversational design plays a bigger role in the development of chatbots and messenger marketing.