What started out as a promising new technology a while back has now grown into a popular business tool – today chatbots are already widely used for various business tasks.
Furthermore, the variety of chatbots is huge and people need to know more about them in order to choose the right chatbot for their business. You cannot simply pick out the first bot you find out there and think that it will help you improve your business operations.
By understanding the different categories of chatbots, how they are designed and how they work, you will be able to use them more effectively. At the moment, there isn’t an official categorization of chatbot systems, so I will try to make a clear distinction between them based on their features and functionalities.
1. Specialized chatbots
This is the biggest category of chatbots. They were the first to appear on the market and all the other categories are modifications on specialized bots. I named them “specialized bots” because they are designed with a single problem in mind, which they work on and try to solve better than any existing websites or applications.
Some specialized bots are designed to help you play music, others are designed to help with shopping, make payments for users, reduce problems when looking for travel locations, and so on. However, a lot of bots of this type aren’t designed well and they fail to serve their purpose.
These bots need to help consumers do what they came for, or find the information they need quickly and efficiently. This is what you need to consider when creating a specialized bot for your business.
2. Course chatbots
Course chatbots are designed with a certain number of scenarios that branch out. When users communicate with them, they can chose paths which were previously defined by the developers. They are similar to older video games where users had the complete freedom to choose any path they wanted and their road changed based on their decisions.
However, users can only pick the paths which are offered to them. Simply put, they are in an environment governed by certain rules that they cannot brake. It’s the same with course chatbots. In a lot of cases, course chatbots don’t allow users free writing, but they are given keywords or buttons that they can choose and which take them to the next predefined step.
3. Social chatbots
This is one of the more creative and interesting types. Similarly to specialized bots, social chatbots are also designed to achieve a goal or complete a task. However, their unique feature is that they utilize a crowd or a group of people to achieve goals.
They are able to do this because messaging platforms have such a unique nature. Slack, Tinder, and Fam are just some of the examples of social chatbots. They can be very effective even when used for simple purposes.
Facebook has already adopted a lot of different chatbots and many companies use them to engage their page visitors and offer them information, discuss valuable topics and make consumers more open to doing business.
4. Entertainment chatbots
Entertainment chatbots are the opposite of specialized chatbots, and they are designed to be entertaining to users and let them have fun. There is no goal or higher purpose and the only thing they need to do is amuse people. They can also be brand persona or social chatbots at the same time.
They are designed as apps that can help users pass the time, and entertain themselves or their friends. Still, companies can use them to show off their brands and let their consumers now that they are all about fun and games. This is why some people actually think of them as a new form of small video games.
5. All-around bots
This category is reserved for all-knowing AI bots, with a lot of information behind them. At the same time, they can be seen as superior specialized chatbots. You’ve probably heard of Cortana or Siri, well they fit into this category. These full-blown chatbot platforms evolve and learn to provide various information and perform different actions.
These bots can also learn over time and provide more information to users. All-around bots don’t have prepared answers which they draw out from a database, but they have the ability to build answers through AI and machine learning. They can understand user intent better and build more complex and accurate answers which users need.
This is a basic way to categorize chatbots. I tried to keep it as simple as possible and talk about the most distinctive types, but chatbots will continue to evolve as users find new and innovative approaches to applying them.
Free chatbot creation platforms like SnatchBot, for example, allow users to experiment and modify their chatbots to fit specific purposes. With SnatchBot, you no longer need a programmer (or programmers) to create a chatbot, which puts the power to change the way we use chatbots in the hands of the users.
This means that chatbots went from being an exclusive, specialized tool to something that is available to anyone who is willing to take the time to create one. Do you think there are more categories or subcategories? If so, feel free to share your thoughts.