Chatbot vs. Voice Bot: Key Differences

Bishakh Dutta

February 7, 20246 min read

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AI is redefining the way we deliver customer support — using conversational AI tools like chatbots and voice bots. These nifty assistants help boost customer engagement, cut response time and spread delight with always-on customer support. 

However, with constrained resources and budgets, customer support leaders often struggle to choose between chatbots and voice bots as their primary caregiver. Both AI applications are promising and offer great benefits. Incorporating any one or both can have a positive impact on the productivity of your business. 

The question then remains — which should you choose? 

In this blog, we will explore the distinction between chatbots and voice bots, focusing on their unique applications, advantages and drawbacks, empowering informed decision-making and smart investment. Let’s begin. 

Table of Contents

What is a chatbot? 

A chatbot, short for chat robot, is a computer program designed to engage in conversation with users, imitating natural language interactions. Text-based interfaces such as messaging apps, websites or dedicated chat platforms commonly use chatbots. It understands and responds to user queries using pre-defined rules or sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) algorithms.  

Benefits of chatbots 

Chatbots use advanced technology to address user queries. Harnessing such technology offers various benefits to your business: 

  • Perpetual availability: Chatbots are tirelessly at your service, providing instant assistance around the clock. This endless availability ensures that users receive support and information whenever needed, irrespective of time zones or working hours. 

  • Cost efficiency: Chatbots significantly reduce the workload on human customer support by automating routine tasks and responding to common queries. This reliability results in substantial cost savings for businesses, allowing them to allocate resources more efficiently. 

  • User engagement: Advanced chatbots equipped with NLP can understand the nuances of human language. This technology allows for more accurate responses and creates personalized and engaging interactions, enhancing the user experience. 

 Also Read: 19 Benefits of Chatbots for Businesses in 2024 & Beyond  

Prevalent examples of chatbots 

Let us now look at some real-world applications of chatbots: 

Siri: Apple's Siri is a ubiquitous chatbot that responds to voice and text commands, facilitating various tasks, from setting reminders to sending messages.  

ChatGPT: Powered by OpenAI's language model, ChatGPT is employed in diverse applications, from customer support interactions to content generation, showcasing the versatility of chatbots.
Read more: How ChatGPT and Generative AI Shape the Future of Customer Service

Customer service chatbots: Many businesses deploy customer service chatbots on their websites or messaging apps to guide users through processes, answer frequently asked questions and provide information promptly.

15 Inspiring Chatbot Examples from Top Brands

What is a voice bot?

A voice bot, also known as a voice assistant or virtual assistant, is a specialized chatbot that operates through voice interactions. It utilizes technologies such as automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU) and speech synthesis to comprehend spoken commands and provide audible responses.  

Benefits of voice bots 

Voice bots are revolutionizing the service industry. Some of the prime benefits of incorporating a voice bot are: 

  • Hands-free operation: Voice bots enable users to interact without manual input, providing a seamless and convenient experience. This hands-free functionality is precious in scenarios where physical interaction is impractical, such as when driving or while engaged in other tasks. 

  • Multitasking: Users can perform tasks while on the move or occupied with other activities, as voice bots allow for interaction without diverting visual attention or using hands. This multitasking capability enhances user productivity and convenience. 

  • Accessibility: Voice bots contribute to inclusivity by offering an alternative mode of interaction for individuals with limited mobility or visual impairments. The audible nature of voice interactions broadens accessibility beyond traditional touch-based interfaces. 

 Read More: Best Practices for Voice Bot Implementation in Business 

Popular examples of voice bots 

Let us explore some famous examples of voice bots: 

Amazon Alexa: Integrated into various devices, Alexa responds to voice commands to control smart home devices, play music, provide weather updates and execute many other tasks.   

Google Assistant: Featured on Android devices and smart speakers, Google Assistant comprehends voice commands for searches, calendar management and seamless integration with various Google services.  

Apple HomePod: Apple's voice bot allows users to control smart home devices, play music and interact with Siri through spoken commands, enhancing the smart home experience.   

Also Learn: FAQ Bots Explained  

Chatbot vs. voice bot: Core differences 

Both these conversational AI technologies differ in several key aspects. Here's a tabular comparison of the differences between the two: 

Aspect 

Chatbot 

Voice bot 

Interaction medium 

Primarily text-based communication, using written messages 

Utilizes voice-based communication, processing spoken language  

User engagement 

Requires a screen for interaction; suitable for text platforms 

Enables hands-free interaction; ideal for scenarios like driving  

Use cases 

Well-suited for messaging platforms, websites and apps 

Ideal for devices without screens, like smart speakers  

Implementation 

Easily integrates into websites and apps with text interfaces 

Requires voice recognition technology and may need specific hardware support  

Personalization 

Personalized through text inputs and user-provided information 

Recognizes voices and may have personalized voice profiles  

 Voice bot or chatbot: What's best for your business? 

Choosing between a voice bot and a chatbot is a decision that depends on several factors, including your business goals, the people you're trying to reach and the types of interactions you want to enable. Let's look at the key considerations: 

1. User preferences 

  • Chatbots are an excellent choice if your audience is comfortable typing and reading text-based messages. 

  • They work well on websites and messaging apps where visual information, like written messages, is crucial. 

  • Voice bots are ideal for those who prefer hands-free, spoken interactions and may not be able or willing to use a keyboard or touchscreen. 

  • They are particularly convenient when manual interaction or screen access is challenging, for instance, when driving or when users have their hands full. 

2. Use cases 

  • Chatbots are great for providing customer support on websites, messaging platforms and apps. 

  • They excel in tasks like answering questions, helping with transactions and guiding users through processes using text-based interfaces. 

  • Voice bots shine in customer service scenarios where users must use spoken commands and receive audible responses, such as setting reminders, playing music and controlling smart home devices. 

  • They are well-suited for devices and environments without screens, like smart speakers and car systems. 

 3. Accessibility 

  • Chatbots are accessible to users with visual impairments and those who prefer traditional text-based interfaces. 

  • They may require screen access and manual interaction, which can be limiting in some contexts. 

  • Voice bots enhance accessibility for users with limited mobility, visual impairments or those who simply find hands-free interaction more convenient. 

  • They promote inclusivity by offering an alternative interaction mode beyond traditional touch-based interfaces. 

 4. Context of use 

  • Chatbots thrive in environments where users are comfortable with and have the capability for text-based input, such as messaging apps and websites. 

  • They integrate seamlessly into platforms with text interfaces. 

  • Voice bots excel in scenarios where voice commands offer a more natural and convenient interaction. 

  • They are ideal for devices and systems with impractical or unavailable screen access. 

 5. Technology and implementation 

  • Implementing chatbots is relatively straightforward, involving integration into platforms with text interfaces. 

  • The key technologies include NLU to interpret and generate text-based responses. 

  • Implementing voice bots requires more advanced technologies, such as ASR to convert spoken words into text, NLP to understand spoken language and speech synthesis to generate audible responses. 

  • Sometimes, they may need specific hardware support for optimal performance, especially in dedicated voice-enabled devices. 

 6. Personalization 

  • Personalization in chatbots depends on user-provided information through text inputs.  

  • You can tailor the responses based on data users provide in written form. 

  • Voice bots recognize individual voices and may offer a more personalized experience based on the unique vocal characteristics of each user.  

Read More: How Personalized Experiences Drive Business Growth 

7. Platform integration 

  • Chatbots allow easy integration into websites, messaging apps and various applications with text interfaces. 

  • They support multichannel integration, ensuring a consistent user experience across different platforms. 

  • Voice bots are well-suited for devices without screens, requiring integration into voice-enabled platforms like smart speakers, in-car systems and other voice-centric environments. 

 8. User engagement 

  • Chatbots engage users through text-based conversations, making them suitable for visually oriented platforms where users actively read and respond to messages. 

  • They work well in scenarios where users have the time and inclination to participate in written conversations. 

  • Voice bots facilitate hands-free interaction, enhancing engagement when visual attention is limited or undesirable, such as driving, cooking or exercising. 

  • They are ideal for users who prefer audible communication and don't want to focus on screens. 

Whether you implement a chatbot or a voice bot depends significantly on your business goals. In many cases, the ideal solution may involve a combination of both chatbots and voice bots to cater to a broader audience. Ultimately, the best choice aligns with your business goals, enhances the user experience and meets the diverse needs of your customers. 

Also Read: Key Differences Between Chatbots and Conversational AI

Are there any limitations to using chatbots or voice bots? 

While chatbots and voice bots offer significant advantages, they have limitations. Understanding these constraints is essential for making informed decisions about their implementation. Here are some key limitations associated with both: 

Limitations of chatbots 

Chatbots may need help understanding the nuances of human language, especially in situations where context is essential. They might misinterpret ambiguous queries. The effectiveness of chatbots is contingent on the quality and diversity of their training data. If adequately trained, they may provide accurate and relevant responses.  

What’s more?  

Basic chatbots often lack emotional intelligence, making it challenging to discern and appropriately respond to users' emotions or sentiments. Handling complex or multifaceted queries can be a challenge for chatbots. They may need help when faced with intricate requests that require a deep understanding of specific topics. Ambiguous or vague queries can lead to misunderstandings and inaccurate responses. 

Limitations of voice bots  

Voice bots heavily rely on accurate speech recognition. Noisy environments, accents or variations in pronunciation can lead to errors in understanding user commands. Voice interactions raise privacy issues as they involve recording and processing spoken words. Users may be concerned about the security of their voice data.  

Is that all?  

Not really. Many voice bots require a constant internet connection for accurate speech recognition and response generation. Offline scenarios may limit their functionality. Unlike chatbots that visually display information, voice bots limit providing information audibly. This limitation may be a drawback in scenarios where visual output is essential.  

While voice interactions are hands-free, voice bots may struggle with multitasking commands. Handling complex tasks that involve multiple steps can be challenging. While technological advancements continue to address some of these challenges, it's essential to set realistic expectations and, in some instances, consider hybrid solutions that leverage the strengths of both chatbots and voice bots to mitigate their limitations.  

Which one do you choose? 

There isn’t any direct answer to this question. Both chatbots and voice bots have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are highly capable of helping you meet your business goals.  The point is to find the right balance between your consumer preferences and business needs. To do this, you need to ask yourself some questions, like: 

  • What kind of user journey do I want to create? 

  • What kind of media do my customers use? 

  • What are the languages I need to provide support in? 

  • How much information do I need to convey? 

Fret not, we are here to help you. Enter Sprinklr Service, a unified AI-powered conversational AI platform that combines the power and potential of chatbots and voice bots and comes with ready-to-use intents for most mainstream industries.

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