Customer Service Chatbots: Rule-Based vs AI Bots – what you need to know

Driven by the shift to digital in the past couple of years, companies are dealing with a rising inflow of customer requests. Chatbots have proven to be Gamechangers for Customer Services. But how do they work? What types of Chatbots exist? And most importantly: How can your Customer Services benefit from them? Find answers and Success Stories of Chatbots for Customer Services below.

In this article you’ll find:

  1. How Chatbots boost your Customer Services
  2. What types of Chatbots exist?
    1. Rule-Based Chatbots
    2. AI Chatbots
    3. Which one to choose for Customer Services?
  3. AI Chatbots as corner stones for Customer Service
  4. Success Stories
    1. TONEART – B2B Online Retailer for Camcorders
    2. WOLF – B2B systems for heating, ventilation and solar
    3. BIZBIKE – Belgium’s biggest eBike provider
    4. iFood – Brazilian online food ordering & delivery platform
  5. How future Chatbot trends might affect Customer Services

1. How Chatbots boost your Customer Services

The benefits you obtain with Chatbots for Customer Service are manifold:

  • 24/7 Availability
  • Diversity in languages
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Boosted efficiency
  • Better Customer Experience
  • Brand loyalty
  • Improved purchase conversions

Unlike human Customer Service Agents, Chatbots don’t get tired and don’t need sleep. They’re available for the customer 24/7. What’s even better: They can speak A LOT of languages, making good Customer Support possible all around the globe.


24h availability is difficult to realize with employees alone, but no problem with a chatbot.

Albert Stieglhofer, Team Lead Customer Services @ Wolf GmbH


Other than that, most of the requests in Customer Services have already been solved before. Automated replies can cover the lion’s share of your requests, and thereby reduce costs and boost overall efficiency.

Also, Chatbots draw customers into personal conversations. As a result, they’re having a better customer experience and start building loyalty to your brand. In short, they can get straight to what they want by just telling the Chatbot what they want. It’s as simple as that.

💡 Download this IDC Whitepaper and learn how you can leverage your conversations for digital customer engagement!

Chatbots are even great salesmen. A lot of companies report that through adding virtual shopping assistants (Chatbots) they see big improvement in purchase conversion. Where before, customers tended to end the purchasing process prematurely, with the assistance of a bot, they are more likely to finish their purchase.

2. What types Chatbots exist?

What you should know is, that not all Chatbots work in the same way. There are differences. The biggest exists between Rule-Based Bots and AI Bots. Let’s get started by having a look at the two variants.

2.1 Rule-Based Chatbots

Rule-Based Chatbots are simple compared to AI Chatbots. They work through preconfigured conversation paths but are also able to understand keywords. To cover all keyword eventualities however can be rather time intensive. The conversation flow may stop, if the user is not following instructions at all but it is still pretty easy to create a conversation that looks and feels natural.

Women's Best Chatbot chat


2.2 AI Chatbots

AI Chatbots bring a lot more capabilities to the table. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), a bot is able to fulfill tasks by making sense of what the user is typing into the chat.

Beyond that, it uses Machine Learning (ML) to continually improve the quality of its replies. Put easily, the bot assesses what went right or wrong in past conversations and adapts its answers accordingly. To be able to hold completely natural conversations, there is need of a big data basis, which the bot can work with.

Chatlayer Chatbot chat

2.3 Which one to choose for Customer Services?

To sum things up, while Rule-Based Chatbots provided a quick and easy solution in the last few years, AI Chatbots have already taken over and will continue to do so in the coming years. They simply provide more horse power for Customer Service departments.

Here is a quick overview:


  • Simple use cases: FAQs, first-level customer support, data collection
  • Easy set up
  • Less expensive


  • Diversity in Language support
  • NLP makes free conversations possible and ML improves the quality of responses with every interaction
  • Chatbots not only relieve Customer Service agents but support them when they take over e.g. with suggestions etc.
  • New level of Conversational Design is possible with AI.



Rule-Based bots are a great first step to get familiar with chatbots. Also, if your business draws benefit from personal conversations between customer and agent, a Rule-Based bot might be all that is needed. An AI Chatbot on the other hand is the doorway to the next level in communicating with customers.

Either way, make sure, that your chatbot comes with a human handover protocol. These are crucial, as they allow your Customer Service agents to seamlessly take over a chat, when human help is required.

3. AI Chatbots will be corner stones for Customer Service

The strength of AI Chatbots firstly lies in their support of a lot of different languages, making them especially useful for companies operating globally.

Secondly their ability to understand the context of written language with NLP enables them to independently make sense of inquiries and solve simpler ones on their own. Together with their ability to learn (ML) and to adapt, this makes them the perfect entry point for your customer, as they can quickly find accurate solutions to problems from past interaction. As a result, Customer Service agents only have to deal with pre-sorted requests, that really need human intervention.

Moreover, Chatbots not only relieve Customer Service Agents but help them out when they are struggling. Analysing the data from the past, the AI can come up with response suggestions for the agent, so he doesn’t need to search for answers on his own.

Lastly, AI Chatbots are useful when it comes to Conversational Design. Not unlike Visual UX Design or Verbal UX Design, Conversational Design is meant to improve Customer Experience at conversational touchpoints between brand and customer. With AI, this can be creatively integrated into chatbots.

In summary, AI Chatbots are not designed to fully replace human agents, but to lift a big part of the weight off their shoulders, meaning repetitive and simple inquiries, that usually make up more than half of the total request volume. As a result, your Customer Service staff can focus on more complex tasks.

💡 For a deep-dive into the Customer Service Chatbots and their benefits, take a look at this article by Chatlayer: How AI can supercharge your customer service

4. Success Stories



More than 30.000 users visit TONEART’s B2B online shop for sophisticated camera technology monthly. These products usually take some explaining, so their staff was forced to answer calls non-stop and barely found time to do other tasks.


With MessengerPeople’s Chatbot, TONEART now manages to answer FAQs automatically. More complicated inquiries can be handed over to experts using the Messenger Communication Platform, saving time and providing a professional customer experience.

We were able to visibly reduce the volume of phone calls in our company and our regular customers communicate with us almost exclusively via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

TONEART Managing Director Thomas Zeitz


🔎 Get more details on the TONEART Success Story and see how implementing a chatbot helped their Customer Support.

4.2 WOLF


WOLF is a B2B system provider for heating, ventilation and solar. The company’s aspiration is to be “a craftsman’s best friend”. So they thought about how you communicate with your best friend? Simple answer: Most of the time via Instant messaging.

Their 3 main goals were to automate FAQ responses, integrate already existing digital service into their solution and create an optimal transition from Chatbot to Customer Service agent.


WOLF GmbH chat WOLF GmbH chat WOLF GmbH chat

WOLF’s Rule-Based WhatsApp Chatbot is the first response to the majority of inquiries. For the part of them that could not already be solved solely by the chatbot, the customers can request and schedule a return call. This request reaches a Customer Service agent via e-mail with additional information, helping him to prepare before calling back.

As far as the technical implementation, the Chatbot could be set up using MessengerPeople’s Chatbot Builder, requiring zero IT knowledge.

🔎 Want more Success Stories? Here you go!



Belgium’s biggest eBike provider Bizbike has more than 100.000 electronic Bicyles on the road. They were looking for ways to ensure customer satisfaction with quick responses and high-quality support.


Together with chatlayer, Bizbike focused mainly on automating answers to simple questions and requests. As a result, the company’s chatbot already solves almost a third of incoming inquiries and saves them a substantial amount of monthly time.

Example Chat Bizbike

Example Chat Bizbike


💡 Read more about key features and strengths of AI Chatbots from Chatlayer by Sinch.

4.4 iFood


The Brazilian online food ordering and delivery platform iFood struggled with their delivery drivers not having effective Customer Services. They would need to call human CS agents and therefore struggle with time. ifood was looking to scale their CS Operations and improve the entire delivery chain. Part of that was the signing up process for new restaurants, registering new delivery staff and customer service towards the end user.


Chatlayer’s Conversational AI Chatbots helped iFood with onboarding processes for new drivers and restaurants by automating the registration. Additionally, the new Chatbots made it possible to conduct surveys to measure NPS scores. Last but not least, they integreated a full Customer Support into the Chatbot services.

Example Chat ifood

Example Chat ifood


💡 If you want to know more about Chatlayer’s Chatbots for Customer Services, have a look at their recently released Conversational AI Playbook. You’ll find 3 success stories in detail with KPI’s, a ton of info material and lots of visuals depicting their Chatbots.

Download hereConversational AI Playbook Chatlayer


Personalized conversations will get more and more frequent in the future, as they are already implementable to some degree. Customers personal data and recent interactions with the brand can be accessed through databases and integrated into the conversation with the chatbot.

Taking it a step further, the AI can change the way it talks based on demographic data on the customer, e. g. using different vocabulary for different age groups. This is called Segmentation.

A 100% Individualization – not to be expected within the next few years – is the goal, meaning that even customer specific sentiments will influence the way chatbots respond

AI support for agents

Sometimes, not only the customer needs help but the Customer Service agent does too, in order to be able to help. AI will function more and more as a guide for agents to quickly find responses and solutions based on the AIs knowledge of past experiences. The Messenger Communication Platform from MessengerPeople by Sinch for example offers Chatblocks that help users to answer faster and human agents can aleady make use of response suggestions provided by the platforms AI.

Omnichannel connectivity

As customers move through countless channels throughout the day, their support needs are also not limited to only on channel. So why do companies only offer help through one? Omnichannel support are possible with platforms like the Messenger Communication Platform by MessengerPeople, that integrates multiple channels in one place.

🎤 Listen to Chatlayer CPO Joachim Jonkers and MessengerPeople’s Katha Kremming talk about the future of Chatbots

Use the joint forces of Chatlayer and MessengerPeople for your Chatbot Project

Our “Messenger Communication Platform” is your starting point of customer communication via WhatsApp and other relevant messaging apps. The deep integration with Chatlayer by Sinch will make it possible for you to create AI-powered virtual assistants that don’t feel like chatbots and use them for all channels you like.

With the joint forces of Chatlayer and MessengerPeople, you can…

  • 👨‍⚖️ … use WhatsApp and other messaging apps fully GDPR compliant for your customer service
  • 🚀… start immediately and without any IT efforts necessary – even out of home office!
  • 💻… edit and reply to all messages centrally – no matter from which messaging app they were sent
  • ↔ … assign tickets manually or automatically via auto routing to your colleagues in charge
  • 🤖 … start easily with automation and drive it to the next level with conversational AI
  • 💕… use integrations to your existing customer management software / CRM to drive personalized customer engagement
  • 💰 … use the No. 1 communication channel effectively and at fair pricing and without a set-up fee for maximum personal digital consulting!

Chatlayer by Sinch Website screenshot

👉 Tip: You want to start directly with an AI Chatbot project, arrange a live demo with Chatlayer now. The team will guide you through the product via web demo and give you expert tips as well as answers to all your questions in close relation to the Chatlayer & MessengerPeople solution.

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