The advantages and disadvantages of start-ups investing in AI chatbot technology for customer service communication: based on an (online) experiment and a semi-structured interview.
AI technology used in customer service through online chatbots bring significant gains and higher operational and organizational efficiency (Chen et al., 2021; De Andrade & Tumelero, 2022). In order to compete on a large scale, investing in high resource technological innovations is an important expense. This study aims to investigate whether it is beneficial for start-ups to invest in AI chatbots for their customer service communication and whether the quality of the AI ensures start-ups the same beneficial properties as it does for big corporations. This is a mixed method study, based on an (online) experiment with a within-subject design and a semi-structured interview with Obi4one, a company specialized in AI technology including chatbots. The data was acquired using an online questionnaire with 22 participants, examining one’s attitudinal evaluation, customer satisfaction, behavioural intention while analysing the perceived usefulness regarding two conversations. Taking the interview information into account, it was concluded that chatbots do not cause a significant enhancement for start-ups However, start-ups with a rapid enhancing customer base can benefit from investing in AI chatbots, as it could improve operational efficiency. This study contributes to investing strategies of start-ups as it provides a detailed analysis which can be put into practical use when AI investments are considered.
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