Voicebot vs. Chatbot – What’s the Difference?


AI-powered bots are everywhere today. More businesses than ever have integrated bot-powered chat features on their website or have developed AI bots for use with platforms like Facebook Messenger. The two most common types are voicebots and chatbots, but what’s the difference between them? And if there is a difference, which is better for your business? 

A head-to-head comparison

Before we dive into the pros and cons of the voicebot versus chatbot discussion, let’s have a quick comparison of the differences and similarities.


  • Chats with leads and customers via text
  • Uses AI and machine learning
  • Can use visual elements in addition to text
  • Can be trained on your business’s information, persona, etc.
  • Are accessible through digital devices and interfaces (websites, chat apps, etc.)
  • Can be integrated across multiple platforms, including your website, social media, mobile apps, and others
  • Can be used to automate a wide range of services, including customer support, marketing, sales, and more
  • Can easily be connected with live agents


  • Communicates using digitized speech
  • Can feel very artificial 
  • Relies on automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech technology, NLP engines, natural language processing, and language detection
  • Can only be used with devices that support calling
  • Can only be integrated into systems that support calling
  • Cannot accept text input from leads or customers
  • Can be used for sales calls, basic customer support, automated reminders, and other simple tasks
  • Can be connected with live agents (but that defeats the purpose of having a voicebot)

Now that we have a better understanding of how a voicebot and chatbot differ in terms of capabilities and functionalities, let’s dig a little deeper into the equation.

What is a voicebot?

Voicebots are just what they sound like – AI-powered virtual agents designed to communicate with leads, customers, and/or clients through speech. They’re powered by AI and associated technologies to translate the spoken word into text that can be understood by the bot. The bot then formulates a natural-sounding response and translates that from text to speech.

Voicebots offer a range of benefits for businesses. For one, they provide voice-based communications, which can be more engaging than text in some cases and can be employed in situations where text chatting isn’t possible or desirable, such as answering your business’s phones. Many customers find voicebots engaging and natural. They can also integrate with AI voice assistants.

However, there are drawbacks to consider here. One of those is that voicebots cannot integrate with any system that doesn’t support calling. So, your website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other digital channels are out of luck. 

Another drawback here is that voicebots are often unable to handle complex questions or situations. An advanced chatbot can usually do a better job in these situations. 

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot interacts with leads and customers via text, rather than voice. That simplifies things to a great extent because there is no need for speech recognition capabilities, speech-to-text technology, and all the rest. Chatbots also offer a wider range of use cases for most businesses and can create more natural-sounding conversations than voicebots.

One of the most important benefits of a chatbot is the ability to integrate it with a wide range of platforms. Where voicebots can only be used with systems that support calling, chatbots can be added to your website, social media channels, mobile apps, and so much more. The benefits go beyond versatility; it creates a cohesive experience for your customers and leads no matter what channel they prefer to communicate through.

Another benefit here is that chatbots can provide more than just text. They can integrate visual elements in their responses, too, including images, infographics, and more depending on how you set them up. That can help them convey multilayered information in response to questions and concerns, providing a more immersive, accurate, and engaging experience.

However, all chatbots are not created equal. Some are pretty bare bones, while others can offer advanced functionality that enables them to become critical parts of your sales funnel. For instance, a simple web chat can be a powerful tool if your chatbot can surface information based on keywords and geographic information, surface Q&As based on a searcher’s intent, and trigger playbooks that move them forward in the funnel.

The right chatbot can do more than respond to queries, too. It can help you identify the sources of your most qualified leads so that you can fine-tune your marketing efforts, and it can even integrate with your calendar so that searchers can easily book an appointment or consultation.

Of course, even the most advanced chatbots cannot answer all questions. That’s why you must pair yours with knowledgeable live agents who can seamlessly pick up the conversation from the AI and provide your leads and customers with the human touch that’s too often missing from automated systems.

The winner? An advanced, AI-powered chatbot backed by human agents

Voicebots have a lot of promise. And given the increase in voice searches and other voice-based actions, you can expect to see more of them over time. However, chatbots remain the most versatile, effective, and engaging option. And when they’re paired with live human agents, you have a powerful combination that can dramatically improve your processes, enhance customer satisfaction, drive leads through your sales funnel, and more.

At Smith.ai, our industry-leading, AI-based chatbot easily integrates with your website and other channels. Consistent, flexible, and able to be trained on your business’s data, it’s also backed up by our expert live agents to handle complex or sensitive matters. It’s never been easier to move the needle with the people who matter most – your potential and existing customers.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

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Written by Mike Graner

Mike Graner is the Marketing Manager at Smith.ai. He focuses on engaging content, company updates, and in-person events.

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