Intelligent assistants vs. chatbots: Which is best for your biz? (VB Live)

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The future is here; it’s just not evenly distributed – yet. As chatbots and intelligent assistants get more sophisticated and use cases start piling up, they’re finally moving out of the early adopter phase and into the need-to-have territory for businesses.

A recent study shows that consumers are ready for them, if they’re done right. It revealed that 40 percent of consumers would make a purchase from a chatbot interface, and nearly 60 percent of would engage with a chatbot especially if it meant receiving coupons or special offers.

But the buzz surrounding these tools has done a lot to obscure what they actually are, what they can do for your company, and how you can implement one successfully, and not egregiously.

The difference

Today’s chatbots and virtual assistants have evolved past basic logic with the integration of back-end artificial intelligence. It helps to create experiences that are more conversational while providing a lot more utility for the end user.

Chatbots are generally focused on on a single purpose, whether it’s in ecommerce as a shopping agent, first-level customer service, or customer engagement and entertainment. With less complicated machine learning algorithms and leaner architecture, they require less infrastructure and are far quicker to build, deploy, and implement than an AI-powered virtual assistant, letting you automate a single business function with a smaller investment.

Intelligent assistants can technically be chatbots if they interact with you through a conversational interface such as Slack or Facebook Messenger, but they’re powered by more advanced cognitive computing technologies such as advancements in natural language processing, complex machine learning, and AI. They can continuously learn from consumer interaction to become better at predicting end users’ needs, and can potentially understand and carry out multi-step requests and perform more complex tasks such as making a hotel or plane reservation.

The measure of success

The key measure of success of either is how much value the chatbot or assistant adds. No user is impressed by a shiny new feature that doesn’t do anything to add value to their experience — which makes your company breathlessly bandwagony, rather than technologically sophisticated.

A chatbot or virtual assistant should either be performing a task a person would find hard to do themselves, or saving your user time by performing tasks that would take them a long while to accomplish. Just think about the times you’ve been forced into a voice recognition maze with no “hit zero for an operator” option. And how very, very close you probably came to throwing your phone out the window.

Do you really need one?

You can actually hurt your business if you don’t think critically about if your brand really will benefit from the power of chatbots or virtual assistants — or if you’re just riding a trend. Plus, if it’s implemented without a plan, the execution is going to provide actual pain and frustration to your consumer (think about that endless voice tree).

So learn how to get those customers on board, plus which platform you need and how to launch, when you join our latest VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register now.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Understand the messaging platforms of the future
  • Learn which platforms people are using — and why
  • Measure the success of your chatbot through best-practice KPIs
  • Create personalized interaction between your organization and your customers


  • Amir Shevat, Director of Developer Relations, Slack
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VB

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