Research Study IDs Four Things That Make People Feel Good About Using Chatbots

A recent study has identified four factors that predict user
satisfaction with customer service chatbots. The study also found
that a positive chatbot experience was associated with customer
loyalty, highlighting the potential importance of the findings to
corporate brands.

“Chatbots that use artificial intelligence to address customer
needs are already in widespread use, and are expected to become
even more common over the next few years,” says Yang Cheng,
corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of
communication at North Carolina State University. “We wanted to
know how these chatbots are affecting the user experience and how
they affect the way consumers feel about brands.”

For this study, researchers conducted a survey of 1,064
consumers in the United States who had used a chatbot from at least
one of the 30 U.S. brands with the most highly regarded chatbot
services. These brands represent industries ranging from fashion to
food to software.

The researchers found there were four attributes that positively
predicted user satisfaction with a chatbot.

“The most powerful predictor was convenience,” Cheng says.
“If people thought chatbots were fast and efficient, they were
more likely to be satisfied. I can sympathize with those people –
I hate talking to customer service and being transferred from one
person to another.”

The other attributes associated with customer satisfaction

  • Information: if the chatbot provided information that was
    useful and relevant to the user;
  • Entertainment: if interacting with the chatbot was pleasant or
    fun; and
  • Social Presence: if the chatbot made users feel like they were
    interacting with an intelligent being.

But one factor was associated with reduced customer
satisfaction: perceived privacy risk.

Specifically, if users felt that the information they were
sharing with the chatbot could be misused, they were more likely to
report being dissatisfied with the chatbot service.

“Companies need to pay attention to these results as they
invest in AI-driven chatbot services,” Cheng says. “Because we
also found that a customer’s satisfaction with their chatbot
experience was associated with the customer’s loyalty toward the
relevant brand.

“This really highlights the importance of taking steps to
protect consumer data – and ensuring that chatbot services are
convenient, fun and helpful.”

Originally published by
North Carolina State
| December 15, 2020

The paper, “How
Do AI-driven Chatbots Impact User Experience? Examining
Gratifications, Perceived Privacy Risk, Satisfaction, Loyalty, and
Continued Use
,” appears in theJournal of Broadcasting &
Electronic Media. The paper was co-authored by Hua Jiang of
Syracuse University.