Chatbots are becoming more popular in customer service. They can often be used to communicate with customers and are often indistinguishable from humans due to advancements in artificial intelligence. Companies should inform their customers that chatbots communicate with machines, not humans. The University of Gottingen conducted research. According to their research, chatbots can cause negative reactions in consumers when they discover that they are actually talking to a bot. If the chatbot is unable to solve the customer’s problem due to its mistakes, however, this disclosure can trigger a positive reaction. The Journal of Service Management published the results of the study.
Studies in the past have shown that chatbots cause negative reactions from consumers. This suggests that they are not just averse to technology. The Gottingen University team examined whether this was always true in two experiments. The two studies involved 200 participants who were asked to change their address in order to update their electricity contract. They chatted with a chatbot, but only half were aware that they were talking to a non-human contact. This disclosure was made in two studies. The first looked at the impact on the customer’s perception of the resolution to their service question. The second study examined the effect of this disclosure on the ability of the chatbot to answer the customer’s question. The team used statistical analyses like mediation analysis and covariance to examine the effects.
This is because service issues that are seen as critical or important can be perceived negatively. This situation can weaken customer trust. However, it is also evident that customers react positively when the chatbot fails to resolve their issue. Nika Mozafari, first author, from the University of Gottingen, says that if the customer’s issue is not resolved, it makes it easier for them to understand the root cause of their error. A chatbot is more likely than a human to forgive a mistake. This scenario can lead to customer loyalty that is even better.
Related Journal Article: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JOSM-10-2020-0380/full/html