Lately, there’s a lot of buzz around chatbots and conversational AI. But what exactly are they? And more importantly, what’s the difference between them? This post will explore the differences between chatbots and conversational AI and how they might help your business.

Chatbots for Dummies

Chatbots are computer programs that use text to simulate human conversation. They 

work by responding to user queries with pre-written responses. Chatbots help with customer service, marketing, and other basic online tasks.

Conversational AI refers to the broader category of AI technologies that enable computers to understand and respond to humans.

This includes both text-based chatbots and voice-based assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Chatbots vs Conversational AI: What are the differences?

At a glance, chatbots and conversational AI may appear similar. Nobody would blame you if you mixed them up. However, there are some crucial differences between the two.

For example, conversational AI uses machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to mimic human interaction. On the other hand, chatbots are more like a script, with set answers and limited scope.

While conversational AI would seem more appealing than a standard chatbot, the two serve distinct but not entirely unrelated roles.

Typically, chatbots perform transactional tasks such as:

  • Purchasing an item
  • Booking a hotel room
  • Tracking a package
  • Customer service support

Chatbots mainly interpret existing website content into chat dialogue. They use button navigation, which can be limiting and frustrating for users. AI understands user intent and can handle more complex requests and queries. 

Conversational AI keeps users engaged for longer by understanding the context of dialogue and providing appropriate responses, whereas chatbots often struggle with open-ended questions. 

Businesses benefit from conversational AI chatbots by:

  • Enhancing customer experience
  • Generating leads
  • Solving customer issues
  • Giving product recommendations

Both standard and conversational chatbots handle multiple tasks simultaneously, allowing customer service agents to focus on more complex issues. Conversational AI chatbots benefit from machine learning as they improve over time. A standard chatbot won’t.

The Impact of Chatbots and Conversational AI

It’s a fair bet that this technology is here to stay. Chatbots are already redefining the way we interact with businesses. For example, companies are weaving customer data into their live e-commerce chat to provide more personalized service. As users shop from their favourite messaging apps, this ‘conversational commerce’ is helping to increase sales.

Chatbots have the potential to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. At the same time, conversational AI saves time handling automated repetitive tasks in sales, marketing, and human resources.


The key difference between chatbots and conversational AI is that chatbots are designed for task-based interactions while conversational AI helps build relationships.

Despite their differences, chatbots and conversational AI both improve business operations.

As technology advances, the gap between the two will narrow, and adoption will increase.

Do you find yourself more drawn to chatbots or more conversational platforms? Let us know in the comments below!