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Cambridge Service Alliance

At the forefront of service transformation in the digital era

Date: Tuesday 16th May 2023

Jan H. Blumel presented parts of his PhD research at #AIRSI2023, uncovering the impact of conversation styles on customer service experiences and providing a personal touch.

In a world where digitisation and reduced human contact are reshaping customer service, personalising interactions has become increasingly challenging. However, this study has shed light on how customer service agents and chatbots can bridge the gap and deliver the personal touch required for building lasting customer relationships.

The study, based on a comprehensive analysis of over 200k customer service conversations on Twitter, examined the impact of conversation styles on customer service experience across various industries. By leveraging deep learning-based natural language processing techniques, we analysed aspects such as outcome, affective communication styles, emotional states, personality traits, and relational history.

The findings revealed that conversation styles employed during customer service interactions significantly influenced the affective customer experience. Interestingly, the impact varied depending on the customer's profile and the position of the communication style within the conversation.

Small talk, which involves more social information, was found to enhance the customer service experience, even in cases of service failure recovery. On the other hand, response similarity had the opposite effect. The study also highlighted the importance of timing, indicating that a higher similarity score at the beginning of the conversation had a positive effect, while the opposite effect was observed in the middle and end stages. Empathy, in general, positively impacted the experience when the customer's issue remained unresolved or when they were referred to a different channel. However, it had a negative impact when the issue was resolved. The research further explored different types of empathy and considered the moderating effects of emotions, customer personality, and previous experience.

The study's implications extend beyond theory, offering practical insights for chatbot design and implementation in customer service. By emphasizing the significance of conversation styles, companies can create a more personalised and engaging customer service experience. The research also provides valuable guidance for service agents on how to communicate effectively with customers on social media platforms.

The innovative approach employed in this study, drawing from a rich dataset of customer service conversations across various industries, makes the findings applicable to a wide range of scholars and practitioners. It builds upon previous research on chatbot design and the role of feeling AI, providing new avenues for creating meaningful customer interactions.

As customer expectations continue to evolve, businesses that prioritize personalized communication and leverage AI-powered chatbots stand to gain a competitive edge in delivering exceptional customer service experiences.

Cambridge Service Alliance

Welcome to the Cambridge Service Alliance…

  • A unique global alliance between the University of Cambridge and some of the world’s leading businesses.

  • Help organisations to address the challenges they will face in the next three to five years, through rigorous research, practical tools, insights and education programmes.

  • Learn how other innovative organisations are developing new services through our events

  • Since its inception in 2010 industrial partners have included CEMEX, GEA, IBM, Pearson, Zoetis, HCLTech, Bouygues UK among others.

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