AI-based customer service chatbots have often frustrated customers. But don’t dump the bot idea: simpler rules-based chatbots are easy to implement, easy to use, 99-percent effective in solving customer issues, fast. Learn more about why it’s time go all-in on the next generation of chatbots in this VB Live event.

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Around about 2016, AI-powered, natural-language processing chatbots were introduced as the next level in customer service, designed to slash support costs, boost customer satisfaction, and free up agent time for the more complex cases. And brands went nuts — tech giants, from IBM to Facebook, poured millions into their potential, following increasing consumer interest in messaging (and perpetual disinterest in making phone calls). The sky was the limit, when it came to what a chatbot could do for verticals from finance to retail to law.

Disillusionment was swift, however — smarty-pants bots, designed to act as human as possible and do everything from crack jokes to make reservations, order tacos, and become a customer’s best friend, didn’t actually work as promised. Instead, they frustrated customers by losing the thread of conversations, misunderstanding intent, and not delivering against the promise. Customers stopped using them; companies wondered where all their money had gone.

But despite the disillusionment on both sides of the equation, the interest in chatbots hasn’t waned; the global bot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025. And the chatbot game has changed: Bots are stupid now — in a good way — and the level of customer service has skyrocketed.

Intelligent bots are great — but productive bots actually get the job done.

Bots today are rules-based, designed to solve very specific problems, rather than chat customers up. They’re able to collect specific customer information fast, when someone logs on hoping to have an issue resolved, and pass that customer seamlessly off to a live rep after their data has been gathered. See for instance Apple’s Business Chat, which makes entering information frictionless and the process of connection to a real person effortless.

Geico uses a customer’s answers to specific questions to pull up the insurance plan that meets all their needs. When booking a flight, a series of questions can surface the most convenient flight to their preferred destination.

The Amazon bot deflects tickets from customer service by pointing users to the right spot in the FAQ, and only pull in a live agent if the knowledge base doesn’t have the answer.

In other words, dumb bots are all about matching the customer’s needs to an outcome, in as flawless and frictionless a way as possible — and customer satisfaction is rising.

They’re not as sexy as the first round of chatbots, stuffed with artificial intelligence and buoyed with their creators’ hopes of delivering a human experience via technological genius. But today’s bots offer something a little more lucrative: they’re simple to implement, easy to use, actively reduce customer service friction, and function effectively 99 percent of the time. They might be dumb, but they’re delivering on their promise: smart service and increased customer satisfaction.

To learn more about why NLP-based bots drool and rules-based bots rule, hear about how companies like Amazon, Apple, and Geico are turning to lower-tech bots for higher-tech customer service, and how to get on board, don’t miss this VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

You’ll learn:

  • The difference between NLP and rules-based bots and why it matters
  • Why companies like Amazon are turning away from natural language processing-driven bots to rules-based bots
  • How to deliver mobile and web-based customer service that works, using the right bots.
  • How rules-based bots make the customer journey more effective


  • Leslie Joseph, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Abinash Tripathy, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Helpshift
  • Mitch Lee, Manager, Credit Karma and Co-Founder, Penny
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat

Sponsored by Helpshift