Chat to an advisor now… Examining the variables influencing the use of online live chat

McLean, Graeme and Osei-Frimpong, Kofi (2019) Chat to an advisor now… Examining the variables influencing the use of online live chat. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. ISSN 0040-1625 (In Press)

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This paper advances our theoretical understanding of online service delivery with regard to live chat technology. Online customer support via live chat offers customers a way in which they can interact with service personnel in the online environment. Through the use of an online questionnaire and conducting structural equation modelling, the aim of this research is to understand the variables directly influencing the use of a live chat function with a customer service representative during use of a website. The findings outline eight variables that motivate the use of live chat, accounting for 71% explained variance. The research illustrates the variables influencing such use is dependent on the context for initiating the chat discussion, namely for search/navigation support or decision support. This paper offers key managerial implications, highlighting the importance of offering customers a live chat function and why website users are motivated to use live chat. The paper illustrates the role of online live chat as a service recovery tool and a service feedback tool.