Chatbots versus AI (Artificial Intelligence) Assistants – is there a difference? As AI Assistants and chatbots become more mainstream in the small business space, with the promise of helping companies better engage customers and manage clerical duties, FrontdeskAI, the leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for small businesses, warns that not all these Assistants are created equal. In fact, many solutions marketed as AI Assistants may in fact be chatbots, one trick solutions that are good for uncomplicated situations at best – and can ultimately frustrate customers at worst.
“Many products that purport to be AI, are in fact chatbots that do not necessarily have AI capabilities,” says Srivatsan Laxman, CEO and founder of FrontdeskAI. “AI Assistants can learn over time and their capabilities grow – this is the true hallmark of an AI solution. AI Assistants can be highly customized to an individual business needs, including their brand style and tone. They respond to a vast range of customer enquiries quickly – learning as they go. They can also anticipate customer needs and seamlessly book appointments – all leading to positive customer engagement, increased productivity and greater profitability. This is not the case with chatbots.”
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Ensuring a business achieves all the productivity and profitability potential of using AI assistants, starts with choosing the right solution. Laxman encourages small businesses to understand the difference between an AI Assistant and a chatbot before they buy – and offers a simple 5 question guide.
- Chatbots CANNOT learn over time – Ask if the solution learns over time because chatbot programming does not allow for the service to grow or learn as it interacts with customers. The most powerful AI solutions reach out to a human expert when it is unsure of how to respond, and then learns from that interaction for the future. AI assistants also gain knowledge of your customer patterns and needs over time, making every interaction enjoyable and productive.
- Chatbots CANNOT engage in contextual conversations – Ask if the solution can engage in a contextual discussion. For example, can the Assistant interpret customer requests and point them to services that truly anticipate and match their needs based on previous interactions? Unlike a chatbot, AI assistants can do this with ease, leading to improved customer satisfaction and profitability.
- Chatbots CANNOT be easily customized – Be sure to ask about customization because traditional chatbots are often generic and hard to customize to a specific industry or business. Even the smallest of customizations require programming and developer resources. AI assistants are natively customizable through simple user interfaces and natural language instructions. As a result, they can be tailored to meet a wide-range of business specific requirements and workflows. This is very important in ensuring customers experience the type of service, brand engagement and tone that reflects your business.
- Chatbots CANNOT remember customer information – ask if the solution will remember your customer and their preferences because AI assistants accomplish this with ease. Customers like to be remembered. This simple but important element adds to satisfaction and loyalty. Chatbots cannot do this.
- Chatbots CANNOT ‘think’ on the fly or adapt to changing situations. To determine if a solution is truly AI, ask if customers can ask questions that go “off-script” – important because a chatbot cannot recalibrate to offer a satisfactory answer or solution which often leads to frustration. AI assistants can offer proactive solutions to customer questions. For example they won’t simply advise opening times, they can offer appointments and services. When presenting availabilities to customers they can take care to reduce schedule fragmentation and maximize staff utilization. AI Assistants work hard to deliver customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability.