Unraveling chatbot confusion Exploring the importance of the sensorial and behavioral dimension of the customer experience in the relationship between customer confusion and customer satisfaction and loyalty

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Purpose – To investigate how customers experience confusion in the context of chatbots, by examining the effect of confusion (and the interaction with time pressure) on the sensorial and behavioral dimension of the customer experience (CE). Additionally, the effects of confusion on CE-outcomes such as satisfaction and loyalty are examined, also via the CE-dimensions. Design/methodology – This research uses a 2 x 2 between-subjects experimental design with confusion and time pressure being manipulated. During a shopping experience with an eye-tracker and a shopping bot, 200 participants answered closed and open-ended questions, making this research a mixed-methods study. Structural Equation Modelling was used to analyze the measurement and structural model and examine the hypothesized effects. Findings – Findings demonstrate that the relationship between confusion and CE-outcomes is only mediated by the behavioral dimension; the sensorial dimension had no mediation effect. Additionally, a negative effect from confusion on satisfaction was found, as well as a positive effect from confusion on the sensorial and behavioral dimension. Research implications – This research contributes to existing literature by empirically measuring the CE-dimensions (and their interrelationships) by using attitudinal and behavioral data, therefore broadening and deepening the understanding of this concept. Furthermore, confusion is studied from a more holistic view by examining the effect on sensations and behavior. Managerial implications – As reducing and preventing confusion is crucial for firms, this research illustrates that managers are able to recognize confusion in an early stage and can adjust the webpage accordingly. Additionally, this research shows that preventing confusion starts with providing clear, unambiguous information, in the right quantity, to the corresponding target group.
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