How Many Types of Chatbots Are There?

Chatbots are defined as conversational application that aids in customer service, engagement, and support by replacing or augmenting human support agents with artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation technologies that can communicate with...

Elizabeth Lee
November 10, 2022
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Chatbots are defined as conversational application that aids in customer service, engagement, and support by replacing or augmenting human support agents with artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation technologies that can communicate with end-users via chat.


Chatbots are computer programs that replicate and analyze human dialogue (spoken or written), enabling humans to communicate with electronic devices as if they were conversing with a live agent. Chatbots can range from simple programs that respond to a single instance to advanced virtual assistants that can learn and improve as they collect and process data to provide superior levels of personalization.


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Table of Contents



How Does a Chatbot Work?


Chatbots work by responding to your questions, comments, and queries either in a chat interface or through voice technology. They use AI, automated rules, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML).

For those who are unsure of the above terms but already curious:

  • Automated rules are like directions or instructions for your chatbot
  • Natural language processing combines linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence. NLP is how computers can process and analyze human language.
  • Machine learning is a kind of AI that allows software applications to accurately predict outcomes on their own. ML relies on historical data to help with its predictions. Basically, it uses any and all information available to make guesses about what it should do next.


“Chatbot” is a fairly large umbrella term. The truth is, chatbots come in many shapes and sizes. But, we can give you broad strokes.

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6 Main Types of Chatbots


The six main types of chatbots commonly used are:


1. Scripted/Quick reply bots
This type of chatbot, as the title indicates, is the one that is used to interact with the end customer via a predefined knowledge base and technical abilities that can capably respond to fixed instructions only. In this manner, the queries need to be lined up with the language program in the chatbot.


2. Natural Language Processing (NLP) Chatbots
Generally, chatbots are considered one of the biggest applications of AI. At its core, a chatbot makes use of an Artificial Intelligence technology — Natural Language Processing (NLP) to depict the user’s input such as text or voice to an intent. Messages are classified in NLP chatbots and then, in order to obtain variables for an answer, language parsing is done.


3. Service/Action Chatbots
In order to complete the user’s request, these types of chatbots question relevant information from the user or take a certain action. The Airline industry mostly makes use of this type of chatbot. These are used by customers to check their flight booking, the price of flight reserving, and also to check statuses.


4. Social Messaging Chatbots
Social messaging chatbots are amalgamated within a social messaging platform such as Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, Slack, etc, allowing customers to directly communicate with the bot, similar to the way they do with their family or friends.


5. Context Enabled Chatbots
The most advanced form of conversational bots is contextual chatbots. In order to remember the conversations that happened earlier, these types of chatbots make use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, with particular users, to learn and grow with the passage of time. Contextual chatbots learn by experience with the user. A few examples of these chatbots are Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, etc.


6. Voice-Enabled Chatbots
These types of chatbots make personalized experiences for users. Voice-enabled chatbots accept the user’s input when he/she speaks, act upon his/her request, reply to his/her queries, and perform numerous creative tasks. By using text-to-speech (TTS) and voice recognition APIs, businesses can make their own voice-activated chatbot.

Matching your business needs to these chatbot types will help you choose the right chatbot to implement for your business. 


Different Chatbots for Marketing Business

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Chatbots are computer programs designed to learn and mimic human conversation using artificial intelligence (AI) called conversational AI. There are a few best practices that feed into conversational AI. Businesses commonly use chatbots to help customers with customer service, inquiries, and sales.

Here are the top 5 types of chatbots you can use in your business:


Support Bots


Support chatbots are made to solve specific problems. They ask for context awareness, personality, and multi-turn ability. They must be able to walk a user through the process of business and answer multiple FAQs. To perform actions, most of the support chatbots use deep learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP). For these chatbots the recognition of speech is optional.

Support chatbots or chatbot customer service are used in all industries — mostly in human resources, retail, digital marketing, and health care. These chatbots save business resources and improve the satisfaction rate of customers.


Skills Chatbots


These types of chatbots are single-turn-type and don’t require contextual awareness much. They can simply follow an order to perform an action. Skills chatbots require powerful NaturalLanguage Processing (NPL) features and must work quickly. Amazon’s Alexa is one example of a Skills Chatbot.


Assistant Bots


Similar to support bots, assistant bots should be good at communicating and answering FAQs. They should be entertaining in order to keep the user engaged. A great example of an assistant bot is Siri by Apple. It not only follows the user’s instructions but responds in a funny manner if it doesn’t understand the user’s query.


Transactional Bots


Transactional bots can be classified as assistant bots as they sometimes perform an action on behalf of the user for various transactions. Many custom solutions are possible for transactional bots, helping users enhance their productivity as the bot performs transactions by interacting with external systems. Like support chatbots, transactional bots are also used in various industries.


Informational and Information Gathering Chatbots


These types of chatbots help in collecting or disseminating information. A news bot, for instance, can send push notifications or suggest news to users using Artificial Intelligence and text classification technologies. Information-gathering bots act as research assistants by collecting as much information as they possibly can either from humans or the internet such as ebooks or a website. They are used in the education, corporate training sector, and digital marketing sector in order to accomplish research-based tasks.


Classification of Technical Chatbots

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Menu/Button based Chatbots


These are the most basic types of chatbots in today’s market. Mostly, these bots are glorified decision tree hierarchies given to the user in the form of buttons. Like automated phone menus, all of us interact with almost daily, menu/button-based chatbots require the user to make various selections to dig deeper towards the final answer. Thus, these chatbots are the slowest in order to getting the user to the value they want.


Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots


These chatbots are able or try to hear what users type and respond correctly. To determine how to give an appropriate answer to the user, keyword recognition-based chatbots use customizable keywords and Artificial Intelligence. Such chatbots fall short when they are asked to answer various similar questions. 

The bot starts to slip when there are keyword redundancies among various related questions. A hybrid of keyword recognition and menu/button-based bots can mostly be seen nowadays. These chatbots allow users to choose whether to ask their questions directly or make use of the bot’s menu buttons if the keyword recognition functionality yields poor results or the user asks for guidance to find answers.


Contextual Chatbots


Contextual chatbots in terms of placement work differently. Contextual chatbots are kind of advanced chatbots. Their basic aim is to try to figure out what the user intends i.e. in which sense or proportion the user is asking a question or doing some random stuff on the website. It then reverts those sentiments and behavior according to the intentions of the user. These chatbots remember the previous things a user has already asked or performed and based on that, it presents a more thoughtful answer.

For more versatility, contextual chatbots need a lot of data and a vast knowledge base for training. During the conversation, these bots learn as much as possible from the user utterances & past user journeys on the website or mobile app. By going through all these, it becomes capable of predicting possible actions to perform in real time.

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In General...


There may be some murmurs of discontent regarding the fact that AI is dominating yet another aspect of our daily lives. However, at the end of the day, chatbots are perceived as a useful technology by consumers and businesses alike.

Are there too many companies that use chatbots?

Not according to our study. Only 17% of customers believe that companies overuse chatbots and make it too difficult to reach human agents. On the other hand, the majority of respondents find chatting with bots a positive experience that is convenient and efficient.