You’re probably familiar with the buzz around chatbots and their potential to revolutionise business communication. But with so much chatter, it can be hard to know which types of chatbots exist and what they can do for your business.
In a nutshell, chatbots are more than just automated dialogue. They have the power to transform customer service, advertising, and even sales.
Chatbot marketing helps companies meet customer expectations, build their brands, and streamline digital transformation. In fact, chatbots are rapidly becoming the go-to communication medium in the business world, with a staggering 24.9% growth rate.
But with numerous chatbot options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. That's why I’m here to break down the different types of chatbots, chatbot use cases, and their unique applications. Whether you're looking to improve customer service, generate leads, or simply engage with your audience, there's a chatbot type that's perfect for your business!
Types of chatbots: #1 Rule-based chatbot
Rule-based chatbots are structural and designed around branching tree dialogues that are programmed to follow pre-set rules and chat flows. Rule-based chatbots are commonly used for generating leads, answering FAQs, booking appointments, or providing basic information about a product or service.
The beauty of rule-based chatbot use cases is that they're incredibly versatile and applicable to any industry. For example, in the real estate industry, a rule-based chatbot can help potential clients book direct appointments with agents, saving them the time and hassle of contacting the agent themselves.
But how can businesses leverage rule-based chatbots for their chatbot marketing efforts? By using pre-qualifying questions to filter leads, rule-based chatbots save a significant amount of time in the sales funnel. In real estate, for instance, you can ask customers questions about their budget, preferred location, and timeline for purchasing a property. This helps you identify the most promising leads while capturing their contact information for follow-up.
By automatically routing leads to your CRM and saving them in your database, rule-based chatbots help streamline operations, improve customer engagement, and boost lead generation. Rule-based chatbots like Serviceform’s Chatbots are particularly effective at handling basic customer service tasks, like answering FAQs, providing order updates, and processing returns or exchanges.
The best part? With drag-and-drop chatbot builders, you can easily create and experiment with chatbots to build one that meets your business needs. Whether you're a small business or large corporation, rule-based chatbots are an efficient and versatile tool making a significant impact on chatbot marketing.
Types of chatbots: #2 AI chatbot
The hype around AI chatbots is huge but why? Because they can have human-like conversations with customers.
Though there are different types of chatbots, all of them essentially remove barriers of the virtual business world and function as a bridge between people. AI chatbots are especially built to answer customer queries conversationally by using natural language processing (NLP).
This allows AI chatbots to answer questions they’re not trained to. Customers can even carry on conversations with these types of chatbots using their voice as the intent and the chatbot will be able to assist them.
For example, AI chatbots can be used to help a customer through the buying process by recommending products, helping them search, comparing prices of products, and ultimately check out by paying for them. You can have a payment gateway integration inside the chatbot like Stripe to allow customers to make that payment. This way you can ensure that customers are given both instant and friendly chatbot assistance without having to exit the chat window.
However, you should be careful that if used in an inappropriate context, AI chatbots can be real buzzkills and hurt rather than help. This can decrease your productivity and cause havoc in the sales process. So it’s necessary to distinguish AI chatbot use cases from the rule-based ones before you make any decisions in your chatbot marketing strategy.
Types of chatbots: #3 Full-page chatbot
Most of the types of chatbots you’ve encountered are located in the corner of the website and only pop up when you interact with them. This is mainly because chatbot marketing is designed to capture customer attention as they land on the website without obstructing the content on the website.
One of the more interesting types of chatbots trending today is the full-page chatbot. They help customers have a visually immersive experience by taking up the entire webpage. These types of chatbots are often set up as redirects so customers can have a personalised experience.
For example, if you’re in the real estate business you can help clients have a virtual property tour inside the full-page chatbot.
This allows customers to get a 360-degree view of the property and helps answer a lot of their questions. This not only saves you time explaining the property but also builds their trust in you, making it more likely they’ll purchase the property. This positively impacts your brand and chatbot marketing.
Types of chatbots: #4 Voice-enabled chatbot
Chatbot voice recognition is actively taking the chatbot technology world by storm.
Voice-enabled chatbots use a conversational AI voice and are faster than emails, call centres, or navigating support sections on a company’s website.
A voice bot is a conversational solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language understanding (NLU) to help interpret intent and meaning in speech commands. This technology enables users to interact with a device simply by speaking!
Unsurprising, voice software comes with the immense potential to transform the way businesses speak to their customers.
You can enable voice bots to greet customers as they visit a landing page (and in a non-creepy way obviously!) to get their attention. This elevates the customer experience. From the many chatbot use cases it provides, you can design your bot’s conversation flow to work as a full-time lead generation tool. Your voice response chatbot can give relevant product suggestions to users making them more likely to convert and become a lead.
Types of chatbots: #5 Inline chatbot
An inline bot is one of the few types of chatbots that are used within a webpage and not as a stand-alone chat window. It’s also called an engagement chatbot as it interacts with website visitors as they scroll the webpage. This is efficient and interactive chatbot marketing to get customer attention and generate leads. For instance, you can use an inline bot to ask users for their email addresses or phone number in exchange for a discount code.
Inline bots don’t require a separate chat window and can be used within the context of an ongoing conversation. Inline bots can be used for a variety of purposes in chatbot marketing.
Inline bots can be used to provide users with product recommendations or help them search for specific products within the chat application. Inline bot chatbot use cases can be particularly useful for ecommerce businesses that want to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers. Users can simply type in a product name or category and the inline bot will provide them with relevant product recommendations.
Types of chatbots: #6 Social media chatbot
Did you know that social media is used by over 4 billion people worldwide? That's a huge number! And the best part is, social media platforms are a great way to communicate with your customers 24/7.
One of the ways you can leverage social media for your chatbot marketing is through social media bots. These types of chatbots are designed to interact with users on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. They can respond to user queries, provide information, and even start conversations with users.
Social media bots use rule-based system or AI to understand and respond to user queries in a human-like way. They can provide quick and efficient customer support, answer common queries, and even escalate complex problems to human agents.
But that's not all. Social media bots also help with lead generation by initiating conversations with users and collecting contact information. They can even provide targeted offers or promotions to potential customers.
Also, social media bots are a reliable chatbot marketing method to promote your products or services, provide recommendations, and even facilitate purchases directly on social media platforms. By engaging with users and providing valuable information about your brand, social media bots are increasing brand awareness and providing personalised user experiences.
Types of chatbots: #7 Hybrid chatbot
Of all the different types of chatbots, hybrid chatbots are one of the most versatile and powerful. Hybrid chatbots are a combination of rule-based and AI-powered chatbots. They leverage both technologies to provide an optimal chatbot experience for users. These chatbots can be programmed with predefined rules while using machine learning to understand user intent and provide personalised responses.
They can be used to handle simple and complex customer enquiries by providing immediate answers to frequently asked questions. They can also connect users to a live agent for more complex issues. By using hybrid chatbots for customer service, businesses can provide a seamless and efficient customer experience while reducing the workload of their customer support team.
Businesses can use hybrid chatbots to qualify leads and collect valuable data for their sales teams by integrating lead capture forms and integrations with CRM systems. The chatbot can initiate conversations with users, providing them with product information and guiding them through the sales process.
So why should you consider using hybrid chatbots for chatbot marketing?
Firstly, they enhance the user experience by using both rule-based and AI-powered approaches to understanding user intent and giving personalised responses. Hybrid chatbots help businesses save time and money by automating customer service, lead generation, and chatbot marketing. They can also improve customer satisfaction by providing immediate responses, with 24/7 availability and personalised support.
Which type of chatbot is ideal for you?
Many types of chatbot examples are seen everywhere today. Across all kinds of businesses and enterprises. But have you ever noticed that no two chatbots are the same?
Their purpose, functions, dialogue flow, and the tasks they take care of are all completely different! Why? Because different business types have different needs that are fulfilled by their individual chatbot use cases.
What type of chatbot to choose depends entirely on your current business goals. I suggest you start with a rule-based chatbot so you can wrap your head around how it all works and experience some of the potential of chatbot marketing for yourself.