Chatbot systems typically fail (with failure defined as consumers asking to speak to human agents instead of dealing with a chatbot) because most of them can’t interact with people in a natural way. Most chatbots are simply “FAQ bots” — all they do is provide scripted answers to a set of frequently asked questions. They lack intelligence and are incapable of understanding the meaning of customers’ questions in order to respond accordingly. They literally just look at the customer’s words and compare them to a database of written questions and answers.

How Conversational Bots Differ

A conversational bot, however, can move beyond just answering questions to focus on intent — what the consumer is trying to do.

To understand the difference between the two types of bots, consider when booking a flight. If you ask an FAQ bot if meals are served on the flight, the bot would likely respond with a message that says something along the lines of “Meals are only served on flights of four hours or more,” along with a link to a web page explaining the meal policy. If you ask how to order a meal for your flight, you might get a link to a page where you can place an order, and if you click on the link, you would no longer be in the […]

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