ai-generated, robot, future-7770474.jpg

Power of AI: Examining Chatbot Affordances and User Intentions in the Digital Landscape

For contemporary business, the intersection of big data and advancements in machine learning has thrust artificial intelligence (AI) into the spotlight. No longer confined to mere buzzword status, AI has become a central focal point for businesses and organisations, fundamentally reshaping their operations. Within AI, conversational systems stand out as a notable example.

These systems can be broadly classified into two categories: text-based and voice-based. Text-based systems, commonly known as chatbots, engage with users through written messages, while voice-based systems, often referred to as digital voice assistants, enable users to interact using spoken commands.

The significance of chatbots in the service industry continues to evolve, fostering stronger connections with customers in the digital marketing era. Various aspects of chatbot usage have been explored, delving into factors such as user adoption and behavioural intentions. Trust, satisfaction, and enjoyment have emerged as pivotal considerations in chatbot interactions. Models like the technology acceptance model have gained traction as tools to comprehend user acceptance of chatbots.

Moreover, the interaction between humans and computers, mirroring human-to-human communication, has been scrutinised closely. Studies have probed how human-like attributes in conversational systems, such as perceived humanness and anthropomorphism, influence perceptions of chatbots.

The concept of “affordances,” rooted in the properties of technological artefacts, delineates the possibilities for action they offer to users. If chatbots provide an accessible means for customers to achieve their objectives, these functional features present opportunities for user engagement. According to the service-dominant logic, which underscores the collaborative nature of service between firms and customers, the usage of technology services hinges on users’ perceptions of the affordances offered by technological functions.

The concept of “value-in-use,” where customers determine value while using products or services, takes centre stage. This holistic assessment of value-in-use helps unearth how users perceive the functions and values of chatbots and their role in co-creating service value.

Research scrutinises the impact of chatbot affordances on users’ intent to continue using chatbots, guided by the affordance theory and service-dominant logic. It underscores personalisation, experience, and relationships as key factors influencing users’ intentions to continue using chatbots. In today’s digital landscape, chatbots have become an integral part of customer interactions, and understanding their impact is crucial.

Chatbot affordances, such as anytime-anyplace connectivity, information association, visibility, and interactivity, play a significant role in shaping consumers’ experiences. These features empower customers to connect with chatbots at their convenience, access relevant information, visualise responses, and engage in two-way communication. When chatbots offer such capabilities, customers perceive a personalised service and enjoy positive interactions. It’s evident that the flexibility and responsiveness of chatbots enhance the value-in-use for users.

One intriguing finding is the distinction between personalisation and experience in the context of constraint- and dedication-based relationships, affecting users’ intention to continue using chatbots. Personalisation positively influences switching costs and psychological ownership, emphasising the role of tailored services in retaining users. On the other hand, experiential value, while crucial for building relationships, doesn’t directly impact switching costs.

Furthermore, the relevance of the dedication-constraint model in explaining user behaviour post-adoption is underscored by experts. Dedication- and constraint-based relationship mechanisms play a vital role in influencing users’ intentions to continue using chatbot services, offering valuable insights for practitioners across various industries as AI and chatbots become increasingly prevalent.

Chatbot affordances play a crucial role in shaping users’ experiences and their intentions to continue using chatbot services. Personalisation and experience are pivotal in customer interactions, particularly within both constraint- and dedication-based relationships.

Insights by: Dr Jay Wasim and Parnia Ahmed