Chatbots vs. Virtual Assistants

What is Chatbot?

Chatbots are computer programs that are developed to converse with clients in a human-like manner. As a result, businesses use chatbots to connect with consumers (or prospects) and provide support around the clock.

Let’s use Barney as an example to better grasp the role of a chatbot.

Barney is an ecommerce chatbot (a digital customer service and sales representative) deployed by the brand Barney and Flowers – a gift shop that offers an unusual combination of dinosaurs and flowers as gifts. Now, Barney can:
– Field questions about the different customizations that are available along with relevant images
– Help customers through the process of customizing and placing their order
– Automate workflows for refund, and reschedule requests and offer instant resolutions
– Assist customers with updates on delivery

Barney serves as a customer chatbot, assisting customers with all that Barney and Flowers have designed it to do. If something goes beyond Barney’s capabilities, it can only transfer the dialogue to a human agent.

Chatbots are clever enough to detect the conversation’s context and initiate the appropriate bot flow. Chatbots, on the other hand, are unable to obtain responses or carry out a set of tasks on their own. A virtual assistant, on the other hand, can comb through current resources and provide support with a wide range of requests.

What is Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistants (also known as intelligent virtual assistants or intelligent personal assistants) are online personal assistants that aid people with daily tasks such as email management, meeting scheduling, and so on. Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana are all popular virtual assistants.

While these virtual assistants can help you with a variety of tasks, they can only recommend that you contact all of the Barneys in the world if you have a customer service issue. They cannot solve your problems on their own.


Chatbots are commonly used as data gathering interfaces, such as for obtaining product information. Virtual assistants can help you run your business by reminding you of meetings, keeping track of your to-do lists, taking notes, and so on. When you approach a chatbot for such virtual assistance, they become perplexed and end up asking the same questions over and over again. Both are considered conversational interfaces, yet both are very different from one another.

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