Friday, Sept. 13 at 1:30-3 p.m. in BN-3007
Implications of Multi-tasking on Customer Satisfaction at Live-chat Contact Centers
A growing number of firms are adopting live-chat services on their websites as a medium of communication with their customers. A distinct feature of live-chat systems is multi-tasking, which enables service workers to handle multiple chat conversations simultaneously. Gains/losses in worker productivity due to multi-tasking have been of recent interest to researchers. More multi-tasking allows the firm to increase the throughput of chat sessions, and decrease the time customers wait before the session starts. However, little systematic analysis has been conducted on the impact of multi-tasking activities on consumers' perception of the quality of the service. We fill this gap in the literature by studying the impact of multi-tasking on customer satisfaction levels at a live-chat contact center. Combining three types of micro-level data: (a) transaction server logs (meta-data), (b) chat logs (content data), and (c) survey results (satisfaction data) from a tax preparation services company, we show that more multi-tasking is associated with lower customer satisfaction. This relationship is induced by delays in agent responses during the chat sessions when multi-tasking is present. Specifically, it takes 18% longer for an agent to respond to an average customer message, if the agent was multi-tasking during the chat period. When combined, additional delays extend the duration of an average chat session by 4%. We discuss the implications of our findings on management policies and the overall design of live-chat contact centers.
Dr. Paulo Goes is the Nancy and Peter Salter Distinguished Professor of Management and Technology and Head of the Department of Management Information Systems at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. His research interests include design and evaluation of IT-enabled business models, business intelligence and analytics, innovation exploration, e-commerce and online auctions, database technology and systems and technology infrastructure. Goes is currently the Editor-in-Chief for MIS Quarterly, and also has served as senior or associate editor for a number of journals including Decision Sciences Journal, Information Systems Research, Management Science, and Journal of Management Information Systems.