Chatbots have existed since 1964 (when ELIZA was created at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) and will continue to evolve and augment service delivery in many sectors. Businesses have shown interest in using advanced chatbots for delivering complex services in a way that meet the unique needs of customers (e.g. deploying chatbots to answer customers’ questions about a specific product or to respond to their complex questions about service problems such as delayed delivery of a product). The technology gained more popularity particularly during Covid-19 outbreak. However, businesses have been struggling with integrating the chatbots with customers’ profiles, back-office processing and other digital service delivery channels (e.g. websites and mobile apps) in their multi-channel business setting. This issue has led to failure at delivering complex services via chatbots, resulting in lack of customer trust in the technology and the belief held by many customers that the technology is not a useful enough channel of service delivery.
Very few studies have focused on resolving this problem. This empirical research project: (a) proposes recommendations for designing chatbots that meet the unique needs of customers; and (b) contributes to understanding customer experiences of and attitudes towards chatbot-mediated service delivery and proposes recommendations on how to facilitate adoption of chatbots. The findings are based on data collected from 19 workshop participants including retail customers and chatbot designers and based on quantitative data obtained from 252 retail customers who completed a survey questionnaire.
Dr Alireza Nili is a Lecturer in Service Science at the School of Information Systems, Queensland University of Technology. Alireza’s research interests primarily focus on (a) bridging the gap between user behaviour research, trust, and design science, and (b) design and evaluation of AI-based services and emerging Internet-based technologies for service co-creation in both the public and private sectors. He has published in Management Information Systems journals such as International Journal of Information Management, MIT Sloan Management Review, Communications of the ACM, Public Performance & Management Review, IEEE Software, Electronic Commerce Research, First Monday, and ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. Alireza was a finalist for Educator of the Year (QUT 2021) and won Teaching Excellence award 2021 for high quality teaching and leadership of IT Systems Design (a very large first-year core unit). He has served roles such as Associate Editor at the International Conference on Information Systems (A*) and European Conference on Information Systems (A), Track Chair at the Australasian Conference on Information Systems, and a Senior Editor of Australasian Journal of Information Systems.
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