6 Types of Chatbots: Which Type of Chatbot is Right For You?

Stefan van der VlagGeneral, Guides & Resources


Chatbots are the future. The rise of artificial intelligence and natural language processing has led to a boom in chatbot technology. From customer service to personal assistants, different types of chatbots are becoming an integral part of our everyday lives.

Social media platforms, messaging apps, and even websites are now using chatbots to engage with users in a more conversational manner. But not all chatbots are created equal—there are various types of chatbots that serve different purposes.

Some businesses require a simple chatbot to handle customer inquiries, while others may need a more complex conversational AI to provide personalized recommendations.  In this article, we will explore the different types of chatbots and help you determine the right type of chatbot.

Before we move on to the different types of chatbots, let’s first understand what a chatbot is.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot software is essentially a digital interface powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that simulates human-like conversations with users. It can understand and respond to queries in real-time, making it an invaluable tool for businesses looking to enhance customer experience.

Chatbots can significantly reduce response time and improve user satisfaction by answering frequently asked questions and providing instant support. For marketers, this means an opportunity to engage customers in a more personalized and efficient way, driving sales and fostering loyalty.

Different Types of Chatbots

When we look at chatbots as a whole, there are 6 types of chatbots. Let’s see which chatbot for your business is right.

  1. Rule-based chatbots
  2. Keyword recognition-based chatbots
  3. Menu-based chatbots
  4. Contextual chatbots (Intelligent chatbots)
  5. Hybrid chatbots
  6. Voice-enabled chatbots

1) Rule-based AI chatbots

The best chatbot example is the rules-based chatbot. Rule-based chatbots operate on a set of predefined rules. These bots are particularly useful when customer queries are predictable and can be classified into specific categories. Implementing a rule-based chatbot can be a strategic move for a senior marketer, especially in guiding customers through a sales funnel.

For example, an e-commerce company might use rule-based bots to assist users in tracking orders, returning products, or answering FAQs about shipping policies. This enhances the customer service experience and allows the marketing team to focus on more complex customer interactions that require human intelligence.

On the other hand, keyword recognition-based chatbots provide a more flexible interaction by recognizing keywords in user queries to generate responses. This type of chatbot is advantageous for brands looking to provide a semi-personalized customer support experience without a hefty investment in AI.

A practical application might be for a service provider, like a telecom company, where customers commonly inquire about plans, network issues, or billing information. The chatbot can efficiently handle such queries by identifying keywords like “billing”, “network problems”, or “plan options”, and providing standard responses that guide the user to the next steps or escalate issues that require human attention. This approach significantly reduces response times and improves customer satisfaction, aligning well with the marketing goals of retaining and engaging users.

2) Keyword-based chatbots

Keyword-based chatbots are uniquely positioned in the digital marketing toolkit, effectively bridging customer engagement and automation. From a senior marketer’s perspective, the strength of keyword-based chatbots lies in their versatility and responsiveness. They can quickly decipher user intent based on specific phrases or keywords inputted during the conversation, allowing for a more dynamic interaction than rule-based systems.

For instance, imagine a customer exploring options for skincare products on a beauty website. A keyword-based chatbot can easily pick up on phrases such as “sensitive skin” or “anti-aging” and offer personalized recommendations or direct the customer to relevant product pages.

This enhances the user experience and cleverly funnels potential leads toward making a purchase, all while gathering valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors. For marketers aiming to create highly targeted campaigns, the data collected through these interactions is gold. It enables the customization of offers and messages that resonate well with individual users, elevating the brand experience and fostering customer loyalty.

3) Menu-based chatbots

Menu-based chatbots stand out for their simplicity and ease of navigation, making them a favorite for businesses aiming to streamline customer interaction without the complexity of AI-driven conversational models. From a marketing perspective, these chatbots offer a controlled environment where every customer interaction is guided through predetermined options. This ensures that users stay on track, greatly reducing the possibility of confusion or dissatisfaction during their query resolution process.

For businesses, implementing menu-based chatbots can be likened to having a 24/7 digital concierge, guiding customers through a curated selection of services, products, and information with minimal waiting time.

For example, a restaurant could use a menu-based chatbot on its website to assist customers in making reservations, viewing the menu, or getting directions, thereby enhancing the customer experience with efficiency and simplicity.

What makes menu-based chatbots particularly special is their ability to funnel users to the right information or services quickly without the need for complex AI. They are straightforward to implement, often requiring less time and resources than more sophisticated chatbots.

For marketers, this represents a chance to effectively engage customers, nudging them towards the next phase of their customer journey—be it making a purchase, booking a service, or exploring more about the brand. This direct method boosts user satisfaction and increases conversions, positioning menu-based chatbots as a formidable asset in a marketer’s toolkit for fostering business growth.

4) Contextual chatbots (Intelligent chatbots)

As the name suggests, contextual chatbots are the kinds of chatbots that are programmed to understand user context and provide personalized responses accordingly. These bots use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to interpret user intent based on the conversation’s overall flow.

Contextual chatbots are incredibly valuable for marketers as they offer a more human-like interaction that can adapt to a wide range of scenarios, providing users with an experience that closely resembles talking to a human customer service representative.

For instance, a contextual chatbot for a travel agency can understand and respond to complex queries about flight options, hotel bookings, and activities at the destination. It can also provide custom recommendations based on user preferences, making the entire booking process more intuitive and enjoyable for the customer.

Every business needs to have a solid understanding of its customers’ needs and preferences. Marketing teams can leverage the data gathered by contextual chatbots to create highly targeted campaigns, offer personalized recommendations, and improve customer retention strategies.

Take this example – a banking chatbot that understands a customer’s financial needs and offers customized investment options or insurance plans based on their conversation. This streamlines the customer’s experience and showcases the brand’s commitment to understanding and meeting their customers’ specific needs, strengthening brand loyalty in the process.

5) Hybrid chatbots (Best kinds of chatbots)

Hybrid chatbots represent the evolution of digital customer interaction, combining the simplicity of menu-based bots with the intuitiveness of AI-powered conversational agents. From a senior marketer’s perspective, this fusion offers an unparalleled advantage in engaging customers effectively across different stages of their purchase journey.

Imagine, for instance, initiating interaction with a bot that guides you through a series of straightforward options — much like a menu-based bot — but can seamlessly shift to understanding and responding to complex queries conversationally, akin to a contextual chatbot.

This versatility ensures that every customer, regardless of familiarity with your products or services, finds the interaction satisfying and productive.

For us as marketers, hybrid chatbots are like having a multi-skilled team member who is equally adept at welcoming visitors, offering them a brochure, and engaging in a meaningful conversation to address their unique needs.

This dual capability enhances user experience and provides us with rich insights into customer preferences and behavior. These insights are crucial for refining our marketing strategies and personalizing our outreach, maximizing engagement and conversion opportunities.

6) Voice-enabled chatbots

Many individuals use voice assistants, such as Siri or Alexa, on their smartphones or smart devices. The popularity of these virtual assistants represents a massive opportunity for businesses to tap into this platform and reach out to their customers in a more conversational manner.

In fact, studies have shown that voice-enabled chatbots can reduce customer handling time by up to 70% and increase customer satisfaction by providing more natural and efficient interactions.

Here is how it works – Customers can use their voice to ask a question or make a request, and the chatbot will respond accordingly. This eliminates the need for typing and navigating through options, making the interaction faster and more seamless.

Do you know those long wait times on customer service calls that often lead to frustration and dissatisfaction? Voice-enabled chatbots can significantly reduce or eliminate them, creating a positive customer experience and freeing up human agents’ time to handle more complex inquiries.

Not only does this approach increase efficiency, but it also allows businesses to engage with customers in a hands-free manner. This is especially useful for commuters, individuals with disabilities, or those engaging in other tasks while seeking assistance from a brand.

Useful use cases of chatbots for marketers

Here comes the fun part—exploring some successful chatbot implementations and gaining inspiration from them to improve our marketing strategies.

1) ‘Sephora’s Virtual Artist’

Imagine you’re walking through a beauty store, looking for the perfect lipstick but feeling overwhelmed by the choices. Sephora’s Virtual Artist chatbot is like having a personal beauty advisor in your pocket. It’s really simple – you take a photo of your face, and this chatbot shows you how different products will look on you.

No more guessing or buying things you end up not liking. It’s like trying on makeup without having to apply it. For marketers like us, this is a clever way to combine technology with shopping, making it fun, personal, and easy for customers. Plus, it helps people feel more confident in their purchases.

2) ‘Whole Foods’ Chatbot

The Whole Foods chatbot is a great example of using a mix of AI and human support for a seamless customer experience. This chatbot allows users to browse recipes, search for products, and even place orders through the messaging app itself.

But where it stands out is its integration with humans. If the user asks a question that the chatbot cannot answer, it seamlessly hands over the conversation to a human representative. This ensures that customers get timely and accurate responses while reducing the burden on human agents.

3) ‘Starbucks’ Chatbot

The Starbucks chatbot is another excellent example of using technology to enhance customer experience and improve efficiency. Customers can place their orders through the messaging app, and the chatbot will confirm the order and provide an estimated pick-up time.

This saves customers from waiting in long lines and helps Starbucks manage its operations more efficiently. I need not mention how this leads to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction. In fact, the coffee giant reported a significant increase in mobile orders and transactions after launching its chatbot.

Relevant Examples of Different Types of AI Chatbots from the Content

1. Information (FAQ) bots

Informational chatbots are a game-changer for businesses across industries, especially in healthcare, communications, and banking. They are invaluable tools for engaging customers by providing instant access to key information. From answering FAQs to offering product details and pricing, these bots streamline customer interactions and enhance website user experience. With their ability to build a knowledge base and address inquiries promptly, informational chatbots empower businesses to deliver exceptional service and drive customer satisfaction.

Stats show popularity in healthcare. Around 64% of people prefer chatbots for their AI-based ability to manage inquiries and requests quickly. In the communications sector, it is 59%, and in the banking industry, it is 58%.

Let’s take the example of restaurants. For instance, a chatbot can be programmed to provide information such as menus, opening hours, and location details. This reduces the need for customers to manually search for this information or call the restaurant for it. Not only does this save time and effort, but it also provides an engaging experience that keeps customers coming back.

Ex:  ‘Ask Marriot’ bot on the hotel chain’s website. This bot quickly answers commonly asked questions like check-in/check-out times, pet policies, and parking information. This saves customers and hotel staff time, creating a more efficient and satisfying experience for all parties involved.

2) Lead Generation bots

Lead generation bots are designed to engage potential customers and gather their information for sales teams to follow up on. These bots can be integrated into websites, social media platforms, and even messaging apps.

For instance, a lead generation bot on a real estate website can ask users about their budget, preferred location, and other preferences to help narrow down the search for them.

Ex:  ‘Snapprbot’ on the photography booking platform Snappr. This bot engages with potential customers, asking for their event details and providing them with a quote for a photographer. This not only saves time for both parties but also increases the chances of conversion by capturing leads in real time.

3) Customer support chatbots

Customer support chatbots are becoming increasingly popular among businesses, particularly in e-commerce and retail. These bots can handle various inquiries, from order tracking to product recommendations.

Ex: ‘Nestle’ launched a customer support bot on Facebook Messenger in 2018 for its coffee brand, Nespresso. This became the base of a successful marketing campaign that increased customer satisfaction and drove sales by offering personalized product recommendations.

What Benefits of Chatbots Can Businesses Get?

By now, we know there are different types of chatbots, their distinct purposes, and diverse channels. But what about the benefits they bring to businesses? Let’s take a look:


This is the primary reason why businesses are opting for chatbots. Chatbots reduce the need for human resources, which in turn saves business costs. It’s not a new thing that AI is more efficient than humans!

Increased efficiency:

Chatbots can handle multiple inquiries and tasks simultaneously, making them more efficient than human agents. This not only saves time but also allows businesses to cater to a larger volume of customers at once. Holiday periods, for example, can be managed easily with the help of a chatbot.


Customers prefer personalized experiences, and chatbots can provide that. Since customers know they will probably be chatting with a computer program, they are more open to sharing their information. But if they find the chatbot robotic and the chatbot cannot understand them properly, it can lead to customer frustration.

24/7 availability:

This is the core benefit of chatbots – they are available round-the-clock, providing customers with immediate assistance and eliminating the need to wait for human agents to be available. This is especially useful for global companies with customers in different time zones.

Data collection and analysis:

This is a significant advantage of chatbots. They can collect and analyze customer data, providing valuable insights for businesses to improve their services and products. This also helps create personalized marketing strategies based on customer preferences and behavior.

Increased customer satisfaction:

Studies have shown that Gen Z and millennial customers prefer chatbots for their speed, convenience, and ability to provide quick solutions. This leads to increased customer satisfaction, resulting in better brand perception and increased customer loyalty.

Overall, chatbots have become a crucial tool for businesses looking to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. With advancements in AI technology, we can expect chatbots to become even more sophisticated and efficient in the future.

So, businesses should definitely consider incorporating chatbots into their customer service strategy to gain a competitive edge and meet the evolving needs of modern consumers.

It’s safe to say that the rise of chatbots is here to stay, and they are revolutionizing the way businesses interact with their customers.

Types of chatbots: key takeaway

To sum up the article, it is safe to say that chatbots have become an integral part of businesses across various industries. From healthcare and communications to banking, retail, and real estate, chatbots are utilized for different purposes, such as lead generation, customer support, and sales assistance.

It’s just the beginning, AI technology is evolving rapidly and so are chatbots. We can expect to see more advanced and efficient chatbots in the future, making our lives easier and businesses more successful. It’s time for businesses to embrace this technological advancement and leverage it to impact their customer experiences positively.

With the right approach, chatbots can bring numerous benefits to businesses, making them an essential tool for the future.  So, it’s safe to say that the rise of chatbots is here to stay, and they are revolutionizing the way businesses interact with their customers.

How can Clepher chatbots help your business?

Clepher is a popular chatbot platform that offers businesses a wide range of features and use cases, including lead generation, customer support, and e-commerce solutions. Some ways Clepher chatbots can help businesses are:

  • Automate conversations: One of the fastest ways to lose a potential customer is by making them wait for a response. Clepher chatbots can handle multiple conversations at once, providing quick and efficient responses round-the-clock.
  • 24/7 availability: As mentioned earlier, this is one of the core benefits of chatbots. With Clepher chatbots, businesses can ensure that their customers always have someone to talk to, no matter the time or day.
  • Lead generation: Clepher chatbots can capture real-time leads and even schedule appointments with potential customers. This helps businesses save time and effort while increasing their chances of conversion.
  • Personalization: Our chatbots come with various customization options, making it easy for businesses to create a personalized customer experience. No robotic responses here!
  • Real-time analytics: With Clepher’s chatbot platform, businesses can track and analyze conversations in real-time, gaining valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences.
  • Multilingual support: In today’s global market, having multilingual support is essential for businesses to cater to a diverse customer base. Clepher chatbots offer multilingual capabilities, making it easier for businesses to communicate with customers from different regions.

In conclusion, Clepher AI-powered chatbots are a powerful tool that can help businesses save time and costs, improve customer satisfaction, and gain valuable insights. With its user-friendly interface and advanced features, Clepher is a top choice for businesses looking to incorporate different types of chatbots into their operations. Don’t miss the opportunity to enhance your customer service and take your business to the next level with Clepher Chatbots. Try it out for yourself today!

6 types of chatbots

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