Before starting to the subject let me clarify the difference between Chatbot and Virtual Assistant. Because some of you may get confused with these two terminologies and I would like to upgrade it a bit. Chatbot and Virtual Assistant are two different buds of the same AI plant. Chatbots are generally used as information acquisition interfaces, such as extracting details of a product.

Virtual Assistants can assist you in conducting business, like reminding you of meetings, managing your to-do lists, taking down notes and many more. If you ask a chatbot for such assistance, they get confused, and ultimately keep asking the related questions to get more clarification. Even though both are considered as conversational interfaces, yet both are very different from one another.

Now, we can look a bit deep towards these two.

What are Chatbots?

Chatbots are automated programs used as an interface to interact with humans via texts or voice. The main aim of integrating Chatbot in business is to improve its customer experience. Chatbots holds an important role in customer service, wherein they’re used as an information acquisition tool. Customers interact with chatbots to clarify their queries regarding a product, gain product-related information, or sometimes book an appointment with the decision-makers within the business.

What are Virtual Assistants?

A virtual assistant is a personal software-based agent that assists with our day to day activities such as setting clock alarms, scheduling an appointment, making calls, typing messages, control and manage smart devices, check flight status, get directions, manage breaking news and so on. The turning point from chatbot to a virtual assistant happened with the progression in NLP(Natural Language Processing) and ML(Machine Learning).

NLU(Natural Language Understanding) helps the bot to understand and interpret user inputs in natural language, allowing a customer to carry the conversation with the bot naturally, as they would interact with a human agent. ML, on the other hand, is the cutting-edge technology that allows bots to train themselves on the basis of data and learn how to interact with customers and satisfy their needs efficiently and accurately.

What are the major differences?

The major difference between chatbots and virtual assistants lies in the conversational flow. Chatbots fall short of understanding human emotions and moods, they will get confused and they don’t know how to reply if we ask something other than trained. Virtual assistants, on the other hand, interact with users much more human-like, offering higher efficiency and accuracy. Maintaining a conversational flow is very important in the case of a chatbot. If you broke somewhere then the bot could not remember where you stopped earlier and which leads to communication break. Whereas Virtual assistant utilizes dynamic conversation flow techniques in order to understand human intent, enriching communications with humans.

As we said right at the start, a lot of people use the terms ‘chatbots’ and ‘Virtual Assistants’ interchangeably. If you are one of them, then we certainly hope that this article has broadened your understanding at a certain extend. The technology is rapidly evolving by the minute and every business opting this technology to fundamentally transform the way your brand interacts with customers, to assist, to convince or to sell.

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