Chatbots and virtual assistants – How do they differ?First a quick rundown of the core differences between chatbots and virtual assistants: Chatbots work with structured dialogue. They are typically programmed to answer specific replies to specific questions and generally can’t reply to complex questions that aren’t programmed into them. Virtual assistants, on the other hand, mainly concentrate on natural language processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to respond to queries. Both technologies rely on correctly trained machine learning models to work as intended.
Obstacles to top performanceWhile chatbot and virtual assistant use is certainly on the rise, end-users are too often confronted with imperfect performance due to insufficient quality or volume of training data. This can mean incorrect or irrelevant information, which has the exact opposite effect of what was intended. Instead of streamlining customer communications and driving better brand loyalty, poor chatbot performance can cause additional, often negative contact with human customer service personnel. When the technology causes this kind of frustration, it can result in damaged customer relationships and a lower CSAT score. A US Internet Users poll from last year identified the top reasons customers get frustrated with these solutions and near the top is – you guessed it – too many unhelpful responses. Other significant concerns identified by the same poll include:
- Prevents customer from speaking with an actual human being
- Redirects to self-serve FAQs
- Unnecessary pleasantries
- Unnecessarily long response times
- Incomplete data about customer