Discover the Difference Between Chatbot and Virtual Agent

Chatbots have become the most proficient use in the business as customers expect to resolve queries faster than ever before. In this blog, we will understand the difference between Chatbot and Virtual Agent and what will be the benefitted of the business. 

The fast pace business needs to have accurate ways through which they can provide the best business to their customers and engagement plays an important role in it. 

What are Chatbots?

We have come across chatbots once in a lifetime. Chatbots are generally found on websites of  E-commerce, Manufacturing, Travel, BPO, Customer Support, Contact Centres, Education, Entertainment, Healthcare, HR, Sports, and many more industries. Now the question is What does a Chatbot do?

The chatbot works as per a pre-programmed script which makes you feel that you are talking to a Customer support agent or associate.

Chatbot vs virtual agent
chatbot vs virtual agent

It can help streamline conversations between Customers and Businesses, resulting in enhancing the overall customer experience. Chatbots also offer opportunities to grow the business through lead generation and also reduce the extra cost which will ultimately increase the profit.

Also Read: Top 5 best chatbot of 2022

The main reason for a business or organization to integrate Chatbot is to be available for the customers 24*7 and cater to their queries in no time. The installation of non-code Chatbots is straightforward. Chatbots work without the working hour limits so that no customer is left unanswered.

What is a Virtual Agent?

The capabilities of Virtual Agents are greater than those of chatbots. They have become popular lately due to recent AI and cognitive computing advances. The Virtual Assistant or Agent may look similar to Chatbot, but at a certain point, they are different. The technology behind Virtual Agent allows them to be used on a much larger scale.

Chatbot vs virtual agent
chatbot vs virtual agent

As a virtual agent, the software provides answers or directions to customers based on certain rules. While that’s similar to a chatbot, virtual agents use natural language processing (NLP). Virtual Agents can understand human speech, and phrases and are supported by artificial neural networks that enable them to predict the intent of the user no matter how random the query is.

The pre-programming is based on the high quality of the Data. Ensure that your data sets are complete, accurate, and up-to-date before implementing a virtual agent. Otherwise, your customers won’t have a positive experience with your virtual agent.

Let us understand these with an example:

If shelly is a customer who wants to have a customized teddy bear for her sister, she asks the Virtual Agent to have a painted Customized name for her sister. The Virtual Agent will articulate all the instructions properly.  It responds that it’s possible to personalize the teddy bear and shows her pictures of which different painting styles the company offers.

In our day-to-day life, we consider many things similar or the same, though they have different functions and abilities. The same situation can be related when it comes to the matter of Chatbots and Virtual agents.

What is the Difference Between a Chatbot and a Virtual Agent?

Intelligence

Chatbots: Chatbots cannot hold long and interactive conversations because of the limited scripts.  If the question asked is other than the learned set of responses by the customer, they will fail. They cannot process the language particularly.

Chatbot vs virtual agent
chatbot vs virtual agent

Virtual Agent: Virtual agents have a sophisticated conversational system. It can easily understand the customer’s question and can give relatable answers. They understand not just the language but also the meaning of what the user is saying. Even the conversation can also be elaborated and fun.

System Technology

Chatbots: Chatbots are built based on models that provide an architecture on how to generate responses. Depending on the purpose for which they’re used, relevant models are selected to build Chatbots. Chatbots are then trained to generate coherent responses.

Virtual Agent: Virtual Assistants are powered by artificial neural networks (ANNs) to continually learn from historic inputs. To arrive at accurate results for user queries, artificial neural networks are used to recognize, classify, predict, and analyze user inputs.

Core-functionality

Chatbots: Chatbot has limited scope in their use and is not suitable for complex processes. It serves as a great tool to acquire information from customers. However, advancements in artificial learning are gradually enabling Chatbots to learn from their interactions. The Chatbots can be previewed and deployed which ensures the business that the chatbot is working according to its requirement as customer assistance and also enhances the seamless flow of work in various departments.

Virtual Agent: Virtual Assistants have a wide range of scope in their usage and have the ability to carry out complex tasks like interacting with people on their own. Unlike Chatbots, Virtual Assistants gain accuracy in their performance with use. They can be used as a personal assistant for reading articles, sharing about the weather, scheduling appointments, etc. 

Also Read: What are Chatbots for social media platforms?

Interface

Chatbots: Message-based conversational user interfaces (CUIs) enable customers to converse with chatbots by sending them messages.

Virtual Agent: Activated by voice commands, virtual assistants can operate without a chat interface. 

Channels

Chatbots: They are omnichannel which means, that Chatbots can be integrated with any messaging platform such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Websites, or any other messaging portals, chat widgets, and mobile applications. The idea behind this feature is the Business can resolve the customer’s queries in their preferred channels to give them a familiar platform and generate maximum leads out of it.

Virtual Agent: Virtual agents are the software that comes along with the device, such as Google Home, Alexa Echo dot, etc. This device generally works on voice commands and can be used on mobiles and laptops with special applications.

What’s Better for your Business: Chatbots or Virtual Agent?

We must first identify what is the purpose of integrating the conversational system. In addition to saving in terms of cost, a well-designed and optimized self-service engagement will also increase productivity savings and customer satisfaction, whilst a poorly executed self-service engagement will increase expense and will in turn be bad for business. There are three points to be considered while selecting a conversational system.

Productivity

Chatbots or virtual agent
Chatbots or Virtual Agent

If the business tends to improve personal productivity, in such situations the Virtual Agent proves beneficial. Virtual agents can help you improve your productivity by delegating tasks to an assistant. 

Customer engagements

A Customer-facing Chatbot proves best here. When we need 24*7 customer support or accelerate our sales and marketing efforts Chatbots have proved to be the best and the cheapest.

Conclusion

When it comes to technical grounds, Chatbots and Virtual agents have some similarities. Still, both are different concepts. 

Chatbots have been very successful in the finance industry, banking, legal, and health sectors. Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa are advanced forms of chatbots that can carry out a wider range of functions with much accuracy and efficiency.

Both the technology suffices different needs and requirements of the customers and the users. It completely depends on the business motto that decides which technology they need to inculcate.

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