Virtual Assistants for Startups and SMBs: Discover How Bots Conquer the Business World

Chatbots are becoming the user interface of the future, enabling companies to redesign traditional business processes in areas such as personnel management, sales, marketing, customer service, and other specialized departments. Here is an overview of the best solutions that startups and SMBs can integrate into their workflows.

Chatbots Are Redesigning the Business World

Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana: Virtual assistants are becoming more and more popular, even if they don’t always work perfectly. In addition to AI and machine learning algorithms, there are other innovations behind these intelligent bots. And they are fundamentally changing the way we interact with software.

The graphical user interface that made the PC mainstream in the 1980s has completely disappeared with Alexa, Siri and Co. The keyword is Conversational User Interfaces (CUI). The term describes user interfaces in which inputs and outputs are made in natural language, in writing or orally. However, the concept is not new. In the 1960s, computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum developed one of the first chatbots with “Eliza”, a virtual psychotherapist. But thanks to the rapid developments in the areas of cloud computing and artificial intelligence or machine learning, chatbots have become so powerful in recent years that many industry experts consider them the user interface of the future.

Back in 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke at his Build developer conference on “Conversations as a platform”. He said that the future of Redmond’s leading software company lies precisely in this. Since then, dialog-oriented bots have become increasingly integrated into users’ everyday lives. Today, they play a central role in modern collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, and Slack. As well as in chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Co.

Bots for Each Specialized Department

We will naturally start delegating some routine HR tasks to a bot. For instance, annoying timekeeping, vacation requests, travel expense or expense accounting, among others. We can easily automate them due to clearly predefined rules and legal regulations that apply in these areas.

HR Bots

TrackingTime Bot for Timekeeping

Designed for professionals who work by hours and monetize their time, TrackingTime simplifies billing and payroll tasks. It helps companies efficiently manage their most valuable resource: time.

TrackingTime Bot for Microsoft Teams

This seamless integration with Microsoft Teams allows business teams to track time, see colleagues’ current tasks, and get an overview of open projects and tasks.

TrackingTime Bot for Slack

By using the TrackingTime bot for Slack, timer workers can easily track their time directly within their projects and tasks.

Google Workspace Chatbot

The TrackingTime bot for Google Workspace allows people to create tasks, track time, and monitor project progress. It also helps them see what their team is working on. They can invite team members to Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Meet based on their needs. All in one place.


AttendanceBot is a simple time tracking solution for Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace. Employees can record their working hours with simple commands, request vacation days, change work shifts, or call in sick.


TimeBot, mainly aimed at project-oriented teams, tracks working hours and assigns them to projects and tasks using Slack commands. Managers can get an overview of their team’s work with a simple command and receive daily email reports on project progress.

Bots for Agile Teams

Products developed exclusively for Slack, Teams, and Co. also include Polly. The company was founded in 2015 by former Microsoft developers. The Slack Fund, among others, supports it financially. So it’s no wonder this survey bot focuses on Slack and Teams.


Developed by former Microsoft developers, Polly focuses on Slack and Teams. It helps companies gather feedback quickly through automated surveys, making stand-up meetings more productive.

GeekBot and DailyBot

Agile teams looking to automate their stand-ups and optimize productivity should also consider GeekBot and DailyBot.


Niles acts as a team member you can ask questions to. If it knows the answer, it responds immediately; otherwise, it saves the response to a central wiki.

Kono and EventBot

Kono and EventBot are productivity bots that help managing group meetings and calendars in Slack.

Sales Automation and Support

More teams are discovering the potential of chatbots in sales and customer support, accelerating traditional lead generation processes through automation. Chatbots are especially common on websites, often greeting visitors and encouraging chats. The main providers of this type of chatbots are Zendesk, Drift, and, above all, Intercom.


Intercom is a comprehensive business messaging platform popular with startups and SMBs. It includes tools for email and live chat support, user analytics, personalized sales and marketing campaign automation, and customer service portal creation. Its chat and reply bots, powered by machine learning, can automatically answer FAQs and speed up repetitive tasks.

Automation plays a central role in this scenario. With the offered chat and reply bots, companies can create their own bots. They can automatically answer frequently asked questions and speed up repetitive tasks. For example, if a software customer asks about a certain product feature, the bot can suggest a suitable article from the integrated help center. As the manufacturer explains, bots are based on machine learning and therefore should get increasingly better with every customer interaction.

APIs, Tools and Frameworks for Developers

Developers seeking maximum flexibility in bot development can turn to various tools, APIs, and frameworks. Leading language assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant offer APIs for their speech recognition and natural language processing technologies.


Hubot is an open-source project based on Node.js, Hubot is ideal for beginners experimenting with conversational UIs.

Microsoft Bot Framework

Introduced in 2016, Microsoft Bot Framwork is a comprehensive development environment allows developers to create and deploy bots on Azure without deep AI and machine learning knowledge.

Amazon Lex

Amazon Lex offers developers the same deep learning functions that power Alexa, enabling the creation of conversational interfaces for speech and text in any application.

New Generations of Chatbots

The evolution of chatbots has seen significant advancements, particularly with the introduction of highly sophisticated AI models. These new generations of chatbots, powered by technologies like GPT and Gemini, are setting new standards in human-computer interaction. Their capabilities extend beyond simple task automation, providing nuanced and dynamic responses that greatly enhance user experience and operational efficiency.

GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer)

Developed by OpenAI, GPT chatbots, such as ChatGPT, represent a major leap in artificial intelligence. GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a deep learning model that has been trained on vast amounts of text data from the internet. This extensive training enables GPT chatbots to understand and generate human-like text with remarkable accuracy and coherence.

Key Features and Applications of GPT Chatbots

  1. Natural Language Understanding and Generation: GPT chatbots can comprehend complex queries and generate responses that are contextually relevant and fluent. This capability makes them highly effective for tasks that require a deep understanding of language nuances.
  2. Customer Service: In customer service, GPT chatbots can handle a wide range of inquiries, providing quick and accurate responses. They can assist customers with common questions, troubleshoot issues, and even escalate more complex problems to human agents when necessary.
  3. Content Creation: GPT chatbots are valuable tools for content creation. They can generate articles, reports, and even creative writing pieces, significantly reducing the time and effort required from human writers.
  4. Personalization: By analyzing user interactions and preferences, GPT chatbots can offer personalized recommendations and responses. This personalization enhances user satisfaction and engagement.
  5. Scalability: These chatbots can manage multiple conversations simultaneously, making them ideal for businesses that experience high volumes of customer interactions.


A new entrant in the chatbot space, Gemini combines advanced AI algorithms with natural language processing (NLP) to deliver highly interactive and personalized customer interactions. Unlike traditional chatbots that rely on predefined scripts, Gemini uses sophisticated AI to understand context and intent, allowing for more meaningful and dynamic conversations.

Key Features and Applications of Gemini Chatbots

  1. Advanced AI Algorithms: Gemini utilizes cutting-edge AI technologies to interpret and respond to user inputs. Its algorithms can process and analyze large datasets, learning from each interaction to improve its performance over time.
  2. Enhanced Natural Language Processing: With superior NLP capabilities, Gemini chatbots can understand and generate responses that are not only accurate but also contextually appropriate. This leads to more natural and engaging interactions.
  3. Interactive Customer Experiences: Gemini chatbots are designed to create highly interactive experiences. They can manage complex dialogues, handle multiple topics within a single conversation, and switch contexts seamlessly, providing a more human-like interaction.
  4. Personalization and Adaptability: By leveraging AI, Gemini chatbots can adapt to individual user preferences and behaviors. They can provide tailored recommendations, remember past interactions, and adjust their responses based on user feedback.
  5. Versatility Across Industries: Gemini chatbots are versatile and can be applied across various industries, including retail, healthcare, finance, and more. They can assist with tasks such as product recommendations, appointment scheduling, and personalized customer support.
  6. Integration with Business Systems: These chatbots can be integrated with existing business systems and platforms, allowing for seamless data exchange and enhanced functionality. This integration helps businesses streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Bots for Every Type of Business

While we are still far from having a bot that handles all mundane tasks, today’s bots deliver real value to companies. From personnel management to product development, customer service, and sales, bots make every department more productive. Startups and SMBs rethinking their processes in the digital age should consider integrating digital assistants into their workflows. As demonstrated, bots can enhance productivity across all departments.