NLP Chatbots: what are the differences?

chatbot NLP: what advantages

Popular since 2016, chatbots were at first overestimated, then decried. Today, they are becoming firmly established in the world of customer relations and employee relations. Zoom on a phenomenon as popular as it is mysterious.

A chatbot, in the broadest sense of the term, is a virtual assistant deployed on a website or a messaging application (Messenger, Whatsapp, ...), capable of managing a conversation in natural language or at least a guided tree structure.

There are two families of chatbots: linear bots ("dumb bots") and "smart" bots (chatbot NLP).

2 types of chatbots : linear / non-linear

Dumb bots: linear chatbots

Linear chatbots are automata based on decision tree logic. The user experience is sequenced in stages, linking together mechanically and allowing navigation in a more or less complex tree structure. No intelligence, the user experience is similar to a navigation in a graphical user interface.


  • closed courses, few errors possible,
  • simple to build in POC format


  • Hardly scalable,
  • unsuitable for "customer service" use-cases because it is difficult to manage rich knowledge bases,
  • need to rethink the entire course in the event of a change in all or part of the scope,
  • no listening to customer requests or collecting customer verbatim.

NLP Chatbots or Virtual Assistants

NLP chatbots have an understanding ability. They are the most advanced chatbots and often very suitable for customer service use cases.

Still not very widespread, they suffer from an image that is overused due to the difficulties of installation and performances often in half-tone.

Since 2016, when automated natural language processing technologies emerged, the performance and reliability of these technologies have continued to improve. At The Chatbot Factory, we have undertaken the development of our own NLP technologies with the ambition of simplifying their deployment by non-technical people and improving their ROI.

NLP chatbots are the most powerful virtual agents on the market. Fluid, free and "intelligent", AI-doped conversational agents are the most similar to humans.

However, they can be complex to implement. They are based on machine learning technologies that require a large amount of available and structured data.

In this field, the Tolk platform (developed by the teams of The Chatbot Factory) innovates by mixing two approaches of automated natural language processing. The semantic approach and the machine learning approach. They complement each other perfectly with the objective of delivering performance from the very first days of operation of chatbot, by guaranteeing an increase in power as chatbot feeds on the conversation data generated.

Advantages :

  • no decision trees that constrain the experiment,
  • speed of resolution of the request,
  • Possibility of bouncing to other themes or associated content,
  • user experience close to a "human" conversation,
  • Flexibility in the evolution of career paths and knowledge bases,
  • listening to the customer based on the questions asked,
  • escalating to a smart, dynamic agent,
  • ability to respond in a personalized manner,
  • higher level of user satisfaction.


  • out of scope more often,
  • choice of technology (prefer hybrid models),
  • more advanced in performance management.

Tolk's plusses:

  • NLP Hybrid technologies,
  • Set up in 1 to 2 hours from a FAQ,
  • Native and automatic disambiguation,
  • Automatic and dynamic generation of training datasets,
  • Self-assessment of model performance for continuous optimization.

Why launch your chatbot ?

Consumer expectations and their uses have evolved significantly to move towards digital environments. Messaging, Chat or other instant messengers have colonized our daily lives. On a personal basis or in the professional world, exchanges are more and more organized on these platforms.

The cases of use for NLP chatbots are numerous, but most often crystallize around 2 functional verticals :

  • customer service - automatically respond to recurring user queries, automate business processes and manage complex recurring requests (requiring CRM integrations),
  • lead capture - capturing and qualifying business opportunities, then intelligently directing them to the right person for processing.

Maximizing the ROI of such projects requires high-performance technology, easy-to-use tools that guarantee the bot's evolution, and a team of business experts who are properly trained and continuously involved in order to maximize customer satisfaction and virtual agent performance.

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