Impact of Conversational Agents on Customer Service Employees
Many organisations are implementing conversational agents (CAs) such as chatbots and virtual assistants to perform customer service functions due to the technology’s cost-effectiveness and ease of use for customers. The literature offers two opposing views regarding the effects of CAs on the future of the human workforce. This research explores these opposing views and investigates the effects of CAs from the employee’s perspective. Therefore, my research questions focus on the effects of CAs on the (1) work practices of customer service employees and (2) job satisfaction and job security of customer service employees.
Applying a qualitative research approach, the study shows that the actualisation of the technology affordances of CAs changes the work practices of customer service employees. The study finds a relationship between the work practices and job satisfaction (and job security) of customer service employees by implementing the Job Characteristics Model (JCM). These relationships suggest that the implementation of CAs is positively associated with customer service employees’ job satisfaction and security. This is illustrated through a proposed extension to the JCM. The discussion of the findings provides theoretical and practical contributions, limitations and suggestions for future research.