Chatbots are essentially a form of automated service that customers can communicate with via text or voice on different channels, e.g. website, Facebook Messenger, phone, other applications or via voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant.
What’s important to understand is that there are two types of chatbots – the ones structured by hardcoded questions/answers and the ones that are able to learn through Machine Learning.
The first type has a smaller knowledge base and limited skills. They can only give correct output based on specific instructions, meaning the questions asked must correspond to their set programming.
Chatbots that are able to semi-automatically learn can understand natural language and therefore do not need as specific commands. That means bots based on Machine Learning get smarter with every interaction. The effort behind these automated systems is of course much greater.