AI Chatbots versus AI Virtual Assistants. What’s the Difference for IT Service Desks?

In today’s fast-paced, digital, and dynamic enterprise environments, the need for speed is vital. Businesses want increased productivity with less resources, more cost savings, and improved accuracy, while offering the ultimate customer experience to end-users. Employees and customers expect from IT Service Desks self-serving automation, an always-on service accessible anytime and anywhere, from any channel and device of their choice capable of instantly engaging and resolving their daily issues. As enterprises of any size and any industrial vertical are becoming more and more customer-focused, AI Chatbots and AI Virtual Assistants are found to be extremely useful technologies.

ai customer service, ai chatbot, ai virtual assistant

Like all new technology, AI Chatbots and AI Virtual Assistants are often used interchangeably even though their primary functions and level of technology sophistication are very different.

AI Chatbots are primarily meant to communicate with end-users, by interacting either by text, on website chats, chat applications or over email or SMS, or audibly like with Alexa or Siri. Despite what AI Chatbot vendors say, AI Chatbot effectiveness is guard-railed to solely basic, short and goal-oriented user-interactions. Even though some ones can be somewhat convincing using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies at appropriate times, AI Chatbot interactions and responses with users feel canned and robot-like and as of 2019, none of the AI Chatbot products in the market has reliably passed the Turing Test, a simple test which measures the likelihood that a machine can fool end-users to be a human.

AI Virtual Assistants Leverage Key Technology to Drive Productivity

AI Virtual Assistants are more advanced than AI Chatbots. They can do more because they are empowered by the latest advances in cognitive computing, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). AI Virtual Assistants can engage with end-users in complex, multi-topics, long, and noisy conversations. They can precisely understand the end-user intent(s) and provide personalized and accurate answers, but also they can trigger and complete tasks and multi-domains processes, and even escalate when and as needed to human agents. And all in a smooth, clear, and immersive experience to the end-users mimicking the behavior and interaction style of human agents.

AI Chatbots are “cold software programs”. They are not able to read and interpret the context within which the end-users prompt a request, nor they are able to adjust their responses accordingly. Conversely, AI Virtual Assistants contextualize and customize their interaction in real-time using advanced User Behavioral Intelligence and Sentiment analytics. They can pick up the tone negativity of an interaction and automatically switch to be sympathetic, apologizing, and more understanding to the end-user.

ai chatbot

AI Virtual Assistants Continuously Learn and Understand

AI Chatbots do not learn and do not remember. Meant for communication, AI Chatbots engage with end-users only when a predetermined action occurs, like a user typing in a dialogue interface or speaking to a device that’s “listening”. The AI Chatbot then hand-picks pre-canned keywords from the user phrase based on its limited word-dictionary and takes the “most likely” response based on pre-canned scripted information flow to the user. They aren’t going “off the wire” or “learning” based on the interaction. Instead, AI Virtual Assistants never sleep, and they are in a 24/7 active learning modality. Sometimes they learn from live interactions with end-users, other times they learn from conversations between users and human agents, and when no user activity, they turn their attention into ticketing systems analyzing how tickets were successfully resolved by human agents, being a simple reference to a knowledge article or complex multi-step procedures which are preserved in AI Virtual Assistant guided workflows. New intents, entities, and synonymous, phrasal slangs, and ways to resolve simple to complex end-user requests are continuously discovered, learned, and put into action almost in real-time. A continuous learning system which aims at 100% self-service automation for IT Service Desk and Customer Service.

Aisera offers the most feature-comprehensive and technology-advanced self-service automation solution in the market which blends AI Virtual Assistant technology, Conversational AI (cognitive search), and Conversational RPA into one SaaS cloud offer for IT Service Desk and Customer Services. Aisera proprietary unsupervised NLP/NLU technology, User Behavioral Intelligence, and Sentiment Analytics are protected by several patents-pending applications.

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