Is curvature in typeface the solution for a better customer experience when using chatbots? An experiment on influencing the customer experience.

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The world shifted from interacting solely offline to more and more interaction taking place online. With this shift, chatbots are becoming an increasingly important way for companies to interact with their customers. In the service industry, chatbots are typically associated with practical experiences instead of meaningful and delightful experiences. However, there may be industries in which chatbots do also serve a meaningful and delightful purpose. Moreover, there are industries, such as the banking industry, where a chatbot must fulfil a meaningful and delightful experience, to be able to gain trust among customers in those chatbots. This research examines if curved typefaces used in chatbots have a direct effect on customer trust and if perceived warmth mediates this relationship. Additionally, this research tests if risk as perceived by the customer would influence the relationships between curvature, perceived warmth and trust. The research is based on survey participants aged 18 years and older. The participants were randomly assigned to four conditions. All four groups watched a video of a chatbot interaction between a customer and a bank, which the participants had to evaluate. The results indicated that no direct effect exists between curvature in typefaces to trust and curvature in typefaces to perceived warmth, and no indirect effect exists between curvature in typefaces to trust through perceived warmth. This indicates that no statistical support was found for the above-mentioned mediated moderation model. Notwithstanding, the gathered data does support the relationship between perceived warmth and trust; participants that perceived higher levels of warmth are less likely to trust the chatbot. Moreover, this research provides evidence that the customer’s mood before the chatbot interaction positively influences the customer’s perceived warmth and trust. This also holds for a customer’s attitude towards the chatbot. Furthermore, this research supports the effect of perceived risk on trust; higher levels of perceived risk will lead to higher levels of customer’s trust. Even though this research does not provide evidence for the relationship between curvature in typefaces and trust, this research will provide managerial insights for companies into which elements of the chatbot do influence a customer’s trust.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen