Conversational agents (CAs) are playing an increasing role in customer service, but they are not immune to mistakes. Designing effective CA service recovery strategies is vital. Various strategies, such as empathy and apology, have been examined in prior research. However, for CA humor, another potential service recovery strategy, there is limited understanding of its role in service recovery. Therefore, this study draws on mind perception theory to investigate how humorous responses can be an effective recovery method for CAs service failure. We propose a theoretical model where CA humor influences customers’ perception of CAs in terms of experience and agency, which in turn impact service satisfaction. In addition, this study investigates the moderating effect of failure severity. We design two lab experiments to test the model. This study enriches research on CA-expressed humor for customer service recovery and provides practical findings for mitigating the adverse effects of CA's service failure.
Yang, Yumeng and Kankanhalli, Atreyi, "Humor Touch: Should Conversational Agents Express Humor When They Fail?" (2023). PACIS 2023 Proceedings. 187.
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