New publication in Journal of Service Management: Trust me, I’m a bot – repercussions of chatbot disclosure in different service frontline settings

Abstract

Purpose

Chatbots are increasingly prevalent in the service frontline. Due to advancements in artificial intelligence, chatbots are often indistinguishable from humans. Regarding the question whether firms should disclose their chatbots’ nonhuman identity or not, previous studies find negative consumer reactions to chatbot disclosure. By considering the role of trust and service-related context factors, this study explores how negative effects of chatbot disclosure for customer retention can be prevented.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents two experimental studies that examine the effect of disclosing the nonhuman identity of chatbots on customer retention. While the first study examines the effect of chatbot disclosure for different levels of service criticality, the second study considers different service outcomes. The authors employ analysis of covariance and mediation analysis to test their hypotheses.

Findings

Chatbot disclosure has a negative indirect effect on customer retention through mitigated trust for services with high criticality. In cases where a chatbot fails to handle the customer’s service issue, disclosing the chatbot identity not only lacks negative impact but even elicits a positive effect on retention.

Originality/value

The authors provide evidence that customers will react differently to chatbot disclosure depending on the service frontline setting. They show that chatbot disclosure does not only have undesirable consequences as previous studies suspect but can lead to positive reactions as well. By doing so, the authors draw a more balanced picture on the consequences of chatbot disclosure.

New Publication: One app to trace them all? Examining app specifications for mass acceptance of contact-tracing apps (European Journal of Information Systems)

Abstract

The current COVID-19 crisis has seen governments worldwide mobilising to develop and implement contact-tracing apps as an integral part of their lockdown exit strategies. The challenge facing policy makers is that tracing can only be effective if the majority of the population uses the one app developed; its specifications must therefore be carefully considered. We theorise on tracing apps and mass acceptance and conduct a full-factorial experiment to investigate how app installation intention is influenced by different app specifications based on three benefit appeals, two privacy designs, and two convenience designs. By applying quantile regression, we not only estimate the general effect of these app specifications but also uncover how their influence differs among citizens with different propensities for acceptance (i.e. critics, undecided, advocates)—a crucial insight for succeeding with mass acceptance. This study contributes to research in three ways: we theorise how mass acceptance differs from established app acceptance, we provide a fine-grained approach to investigating the app specifications salient for mass acceptance, and we reveal contextualised insights specific to tracing apps with multi-layered benefit structures. Our findings can guide policy makers by providing specification recommendations for facilitating mass acceptance of tracing apps during pandemics or other societal crises.

New Publication: Competition versus cooperation: How technology-facilitated social interdependence initiates the self-improvement chain (International Journal of Research in Marketing)

Abstract

Consumers are increasingly using technologies such as wearables or mobile apps to achieve their self-improvement goals. Such technologies often contain features that enable social interdependence among users (competition or cooperation) to support them in improving their engagement, performance, and well-being (life satisfaction and personal growth). However, the critical question remains: does competition or cooperation best serve users in attaining these self-improvement goals? Evidence from an online experiment and a field study reveals that competition is more effective in driving performance and personal growth, while cooperation is superior in terms of behavioral engagement and life satisfaction. Furthermore, the results indicate that the effects are mediated by strive for success and fear of failure, two counteracting psychological processes. While competition is the stronger trigger for both pathways, downstream effects vary depending on the self-improvement goal considered. This research thus provides insights into whether and how users can best realize their self-improvement goals using technologies that include social features.