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Article
Publication date: 7 December 2021

Emy Nelson Decker and Karen Chapman

This article details the implementation of a live online chat service which was suddenly necessitated by the worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This article details the implementation of a live online chat service which was suddenly necessitated by the worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The approaches used to train chat operators during this time inform both current and future training initiatives toward continuous improvement in this academic library setting.

Design/methodology/approach

Chat transcripts from the period of March 2020–April 2021 serve as the dataset for this study.

Findings

In bringing a live chat service online during a global pandemic, chat transcripts from this period reveal 19.3% of all chat interactions related directly to COVID-19. The transcripts also reveal the types of questions, whether reference or directional, and these, combined with staffing patterns, indicate that staff were addressing reference questions more often than librarians. In addition, 25.2% of all transactions, whether by staff or librarians, resulted in tickets or referrals to hand off the question to a subject or functional specialist. These findings help to inform targeted face-to-face refresher training for chat operators.

Originality/value

While bringing a live chat service online is certainly not novel, the impetus behind the quick setup was. This unusual circumstance allowed for an in-depth look at the nature of chat and its training requirements and limitations due to campus stay-at-home orders. It also provided a new understanding that influenced subsequent face-to-face trainings.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2021

Chorng-Guang Wu and Jonathan C. Ho

In recent years, numerous banks have introduced live chat systems to their mobile banking (m-banking) applications to help customers address problems that arise while…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, numerous banks have introduced live chat systems to their mobile banking (m-banking) applications to help customers address problems that arise while using m-banking. However, few researchers have investigated bank customers' perceptions of live chat in the context of m-banking, known as mobile chat. The present study attempts to fill this research gap and identify potential factors affecting bank customers' intention and attitude toward using mobile chat from the perspective of functional and expected advantages.

Design/methodology/approach

A research model was developed integrating three technological characteristics of mobile chat (mobility, reachability and convenience) identified from the mobile service and self-service technology literature with user beliefs involving performance expectancy, effort expectancy and facilitating conditions specified by the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology. The proposed model was evaluated using data collected from a field survey of 268 customers with experience in Internet or m-banking at an international bank in Taiwan. The mediating effects of attitude on the relationship between intention and its predictors were also measured.

Findings

The results suggest that reachability and convenience influence performance expectancy whereas effort expectancy is affected by all the technological characteristics. Additionally, customers' intention is determined by attitude, effort expectancy and facilitating conditions whereas their attitude depends on the three constructs of user beliefs.

Research limitations/implications

The development of user behavioral research in intelligent customer engagement is lacking in the m-banking literature. This study sheds light on Internet banking and m-banking customers' viewpoints and the salient determinants of their intention and attitude toward using mobile chat. Therefore, the findings allow a broader understanding of customer engagement applications in the banking sector.

Practical implications

The research findings would help banks not only better understand how to deploy useful mobile applications for improving the effectiveness of their mobile service development but also develop adequate mobile strategies to engage with customers more intelligently.

Originality/value

This research provides valuable insight into the relationship between the adoption of intelligent customer engagement tools and the improvement of customer support performance in the context of m-banking. Moreover, this study is among the first to identify the potential mobile technological factors that might affect bank customer expectations from mobile chat applications.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 9 June 2021

Jaci Wilkinson, Alyssa Denneler, Leanne Nay and Anna Marie Johnson

Using chat transcripts from Indiana University Libraries, the authors examined a subset of transcripts involving citations. From this analysis, they propose improvements…

Abstract

Purpose

Using chat transcripts from Indiana University Libraries, the authors examined a subset of transcripts involving citations. From this analysis, they propose improvements for citation assistance as a holistic service.

Design/methodology/approach

Two years of chat transcripts were examined and questions containing citation-related keywords were segregated for further examination. The authors used a test data set to create a coding scheme for the questions and responses. This scheme was then applied to all the citation-related transcripts.

Findings

390 of 11,553 transcripts included interactions about citations. In 42% of the transcripts, no specific citation style was mentioned. American Psychological Association and Modern Language Association were the most frequently mentioned citation styles by chat users. Business reports (company data and market research), periodicals (journal, newspaper or magazine articles), websites and government documents were the most often asked about formats, but there was a wide variety of other unusual formats. Questions about EndNote were more common than other types of citation management software. Chat staff utilized a variety of responses including guiding the student by example, directing to an online resource for more information (85% of the responses) or referring to a citation management expert. An unexpected amount of hedging words in the responses indicates the presence of anxiety on the part of chat staff in responding to these types of questions.

Originality/value

This paper goes beyond most existing studies of chat transcripts by using chat transcripts as data to guide service improvements for a commonly asked but not typically discussed set of questions.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 49 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2021

Paula R. Dempsey

The purpose of this study is to learn what factors liaison librarians in academic research libraries consider in determining whether to refer chat reference patrons to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to learn what factors liaison librarians in academic research libraries consider in determining whether to refer chat reference patrons to subject specialists.

Design/methodology/approach

Subject specialists were asked what policies guided their decisions to refer to a specialist and then assessed unreferred chat session transcripts both within and outside their specializations to determine need for a referral.

Findings

Few respondents were guided by formal policies. Contrary to an initial hypothesis, subject area was not a key factor in referring chat. A broader set of criteria included reference interviewing, provision of relevant resources and information literacy instruction. Respondents valued both the depth that subject specialists can provide to reference interactions and the ability of a skilled generalist to support information literacy.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are most applicable to large, public doctoral universities with liaison librarian programs. Assignment of respondents to subject specialist categories was complicated by their broad range of background and expertise.

Practical implications

The study contributes new understanding of referrals to subject specialists who have potential to guide development of formal referral policies in academic library virtual reference services.

Originality/value

The study is the first empirical examination of chat reference referral decisions.

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2020

Graeme McLean, Kofi Osei-Frimpong, Alan Wilson and Valentina Pitardi

By adopting a social presence theory perspective, this study aims investigate the influence of perceived usefulness of live chat services and of their unique human…

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1518

Abstract

Purpose

By adopting a social presence theory perspective, this study aims investigate the influence of perceived usefulness of live chat services and of their unique human attributes on customer attitudes, beliefs and behaviours in the context of online travel shopping.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a cross-sectional survey research involving 8 travel provider websites and 631 travel consumers, this work applies structural equation modelling to analyse the data.

Findings

The results illustrate that the perceived usefulness from the communication with a human live chat assistant positively influences customer attitudes and trust towards the website as well as increasing purchase intention. The findings further illustrate the role of the human social cues conveyed by live chat facilities, namely, human warmth, human assurance, human attentiveness and human customised content in positively moderating this effect.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to specific human attributes. Future research could investigate the role of other human characteristics as well as assess the ability of artificial intelligent powered chatbots in replicating the human elements outlined in this research.

Originality/value

The study provides a unique contribution to the travel literature by offering empirical insights and conceptual clarity into the usefulness of human operated live chat communication on travellers’ attitudes, trust towards the website and purchase intentions.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 April 2020

Jonna Pauliina Koponen and Saara Rytsy

Currently, online chat is in common use in e-commerce. By adding social interaction to the online context, companies hope to increase customers’ purchasing intentions…

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2178

Abstract

Purpose

Currently, online chat is in common use in e-commerce. By adding social interaction to the online context, companies hope to increase customers’ purchasing intentions. However, previous studies have not investigated how social presence is embedded in online business-to-business (B2B) chat conversations between buyers and sellers. Moreover, the functions of online chat in B2B sales have not been investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

The data was collected at a case company over the course of four years, from which the authors analyzed 157 online chat conversations between buyers (n = 157) and sellers (n = 9) with a theory-driven thematic analysis. In addition, data from the company’s customer relationship management system was collected to specify buyer types.

Findings

The results reveal that social presence was embedded in online B2B chat via buyers’ interactive, affective and relationship maintenance responses. Social presence differed depending on the type of buyer, with only existing customers having relationship maintenance responses. E-commerce B2B chat functions can be described as multiple and changing depending on the buyer–seller relationship stage.

Research limitations/implications

Having data only from one case company limits the results to one type of industry.

Practical implications

The results can be used in sales training and when developing online chat services.

Originality/value

Results bring scientific utility to B2B sales and marketing research, as the authors build a bridge between social presence, the existing theoretical model on B2B buyer–seller relationship development and online chat as a communication medium. Other researchers may use this understanding when exploring B2B buyer–seller interaction in different digitalized communication media.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Margie Ruppel and Amy Vecchione

The purpose of this paper is to discover how college students perceive text messaging reference (SMS), chat reference, and face‐to‐face reference services.

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1836

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discover how college students perceive text messaging reference (SMS), chat reference, and face‐to‐face reference services.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors administered surveys about chat, text messaging (SMS), and face‐to‐face reference to students enrolled in a one‐credit library skills course. Survey results focus on users' willingness to return, their perceptions of chat and text messaging (SMS) reference, and the reasons they choose to utilize different communication mediums for reference service.

Findings

College students value the availability of high‐quality, quick, convenient, personalized reference assistance, regardless of medium used.

Practical implications

Academic libraries can personalize reference services, but also need to offer ways for patrons to ask questions anonymously.

Social implications

Robust communication contributes to the perceived usefulness and success of library reference services. Effective reference service provided at the point‐of‐need helps build positive student‐librarian relationships.

Originality/value

This study aims to contribute to reference services research by bringing new technology into consideration. It focuses on two technologies (chat and SMS reference) in light of another available method (in‐person reference desk). This study is based on a 2002 study about patron perceptions of chat reference (Ruppel and Fagan), which is compared to the current study's results.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Danielle Hinton and Lou McGill

The University of Leicester Library’s Distance Learning Unit identified Internet Chat software as an exciting new option to support their enquiry service for distance…

Abstract

The University of Leicester Library’s Distance Learning Unit identified Internet Chat software as an exciting new option to support their enquiry service for distance learning students based all over the world. A trial service began in October 2000, using ‘HumanClick’software. Chat Icons were displayed on appropriate web pages, which offer a direct link to a librarian, or the opportunity to send an email message if the service is not staffed at that time. Students do not have to download any software to access the service and the librarian can deal with several chat requests at the same time. The ‘HumanClick’software allows the librarian to track where the enquirer is on the web site and allows them to ‘push’ relevant web pages to them. The trial revealed that chat has great potential for providing an alternative method of communication with students as a distance, but does require experience and patience to make the students feel comfortable with this new method. Library staff training and practice was vital to the success of interactions and it became evident that certain types of enquiry were more suited to this method than others.

Details

VINE, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Wyoma van Duinkerken, Jane Stephens and Karen I. MacDonald

The purpose of this paper is to compare established reference interview guidelines (RUSA) with actual reference provider behaviors in remote reference transactions. The…

Downloads
1973

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare established reference interview guidelines (RUSA) with actual reference provider behaviors in remote reference transactions. The data is used to argue that specific reference interview “best practice standards” should be developed for remote access reference services.

Design/methodology/approach

Remote reference transactions were examined for evidence of adherence, or not, to the RUSA guidelines and behaviors. The transcripts were also coded for showing evidence, or not, of user satisfaction.

Findings

Data from 1,435 virtual reference transcripts shows that in 82 percent of the reference sessions the user found the information needed. Analysis also shows that librarian compliance with RUSA‐recommended reference interview behaviors, especially in the areas of listening/inquiring and searching is frequently poor – possibly due to time constraints.

Research limitations/implication

This study adds to the empirically‐based knowledge on the reference interview process and virtual reference services.

Practical implication

Reference policies and procedures can be modified to accommodate patrons based on type of reference access. Education and training of reference staff can be customized to meet patron needs.

Originality/value

This paper develops a methodology for evaluating the reference interview in a virtual reference transaction and suggests modification of the RUSA reference interview guidelines for remote access reference services.

Details

New Library World, vol. 110 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2019

Xu Song and Cindy T. Christen

Live chat e-service provides a communication platform for online customers to make information inquiries and receive instantaneous assistance from a service…

Abstract

Purpose

Live chat e-service provides a communication platform for online customers to make information inquiries and receive instantaneous assistance from a service representative. It is important for organizations to explore ways to improve their live chat e-service. The purpose of this paper is to propose a new organization–customer communication model (Schema Resonance Model), explicate how schema resonance can be achieved in live chat e-service, and investigate the impact of schema resonance on live chat e-service effectiveness, efficiency, customer satisfaction and intention of continued use.

Design/methodology/approach

A post-test only, between-subjects experiment was conducted. A total of 409 participants completed the experiment sessions, and 389 of these participants were used in the analysis.

Findings

Research results suggest schema resonance could improve the time efficiency of the live chat e-service while maintaining e-service effectiveness. Schema resonance could increase customer satisfaction with the overall e-service, the communication approach used by the representative and the information provided.

Research limitations/implications

Because a convenience sample was used in the experiment, results cannot be generalized to all live chat e-service users. Future research should include observation of real-world organization–customer live chat e-service sessions.

Practical implications

Organizations can consider applying the Schema Resonance Model in live chat e-service practices to enhance customer satisfaction and increase representatives’ service productivity.

Originality/value

This research proposes and tests a new organization–customer communication model to explore how organizations can improve live chat e-service in response to customers’ information inquiries.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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