What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a support system for your customer service. Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, your chatbot can simulate conversation with a user through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps and more, giving them accurate and relevant information. By powering your chatbot with Watson Assistant, you can avoid the difficulties associated with traditional bots and build a tool that will improve your customer support.

Learn more

See how it works in these 3-minute explainers

Product overview

Learn how to get started building an AI chatbot with a quick overview of Watson Assistant.

Web Chat

Learn about Web Chat, a UI for your end-user that can be deployed in minutes.

Intent recommendation

Import existing customer chat logs into Watson Assistant to identify common intents.

Chatbot tutorial

Take a short tutorial of our chatbot technology, Watson Assistant. You'll create intents and entities and learn how to structure your chatbot conversational flow.


Easily build your own chatbot

Watson developer community

Learn from peers and consult with experts in real-time

Chatbot learning path

How-to documentation, from chatbot basics to creating your own apps

Watson Assistant docs

Documentation on getting started, integrations, dialog flow, analytics and more

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to common questions and links to learn more

What are chatbots used for?

Chatbots are used to provide customer service support and connect users with the services or information they need by simulating a person-to-person conversation.

How do chatbots work?

Chatbots interpret and process a user's words or phrases and give an answer. They can provide responses based on a combination of predefined scripts and machine learning applications.

How long does it take to build a chatbot?

You can build your first chatbot through our tutorial in only 10 minutes.

How do I integrate a chatbot into my website?

Through the Integrations tab of your assistant, you can copy and paste a JavaScript snippet into your existing website’s HTML. This will create a fully customizable web widget on your desired page. You can also integrate Watson Assistant into WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Alexa and CRM systems. And of course, our chatbot API integrates with other Watson APIs.

What is dialog in chatbot?

The component where you build the conversation that the chatbot has with your users. Dialog gives the user a clear understanding of what the chatbot is there to do and allows the chatbot to define user intent and provide a pre-authored response.

What is utterance in chatbot?

Anything the user inputs into a chatbot which is then used to derive intent. If a user types “What are your office hours?”, the entire sentence is an utterance.

What technology is used in chatbot?

Chatbots use natural language processing (NLP). Natural language processing makes it possible for your bot to read text, hear and interpret speech, measure sentiment and determine which parts are important.

How much does it cost to create a chatbot?

You can start with our Lite plan at no cost or explore our Plus and Enterprise plans to enhance your chatbot’s capabilities.

What is the difference between a virtual agent and a chatbot?

The primary difference between a chatbot and a virtual agent is the chatbot’s inability to learn. A chatbot can provide clear pre-written answers, but a virtual agent like Watson Assistant, uses AI to interpret a question and determine what the user really needs to know.

How do chatbots learn?

Chatbots can learn by analyzing data you provide, and through the dialog with your users. Chatbots can also learn by having a human editing the system. In most cases, both are required.

What are three core functionalities of a chatbot?

To accurately interpret a user’s intent and maintain the context of the dialog, to provide the user with accurate and relevant information, and to be indistinguishable from a human interaction.

What are the types of chatbots?

Chatbots are often associated with customer support and customer experience. IBM customers have used chatbots in a range of use cases – including engaging with customers for customer self-service, automating backend processes, optimizing workflows and more.

Is there a chatbot plugin for Wordpress?

Yes, you can use this Wordpress plugin here (link resides outside IBM.com). In a few minutes, you can train Watson to answer FAQs, provide useful information and help customers navigate your website.

Are chatbots accurate?

Watson Assistant uses machine learning and intent detection algorithms to understand how to answer end-user questions accurately. The artificial intelligence at the core of Watson Assistant is designed to correctly identify the countless permutations of intent in real-world interactions. In short, we designed Watson Assistant to be easy to train and to recognize accurately what the user wants.

How do you integrate a chatbot with SMS?

Add a text messaging integration so your assistant can exchange messages with your customers. You can learn how here, and to watch a video that walks through the setup process, see Phone and SMS Integration in the IBM Watson Apps Community.

What is chatbot containment metric?

Containment is the number of conversations in which the assistant is able to satisfy the customer's request without human agent intervention.

What does chatbot coverage mean?

Coverage is the number of conversations in which the assistant is confident that it can address a customer's request.