Conference PaperPDF Available

Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System for Customer Service Chatbots


Abstract and Figures

Chatbots are increasingly used to provide customer service. However, despite technological advances, customer service chatbots frequently reach their limits in customer interactions. This is not immediately apparent to both chatbot operators (e.g., customer service managers) and chatbot developers because analyzing conversational data is difficult and labor-intensive. To address this problem, our ongoing design science research project aims to develop a conversation mining system for the automated analysis of customer-chatbot conversations. Based on the exploration of large dataset (N= 91,678 conversations) and six interviews with industry experts, we developed the backend of the system. Specifically, we identified and operationalized important criteria for evaluating conversations. Our next step will be the evaluation with industry experts. Ultimately, we aim to contribute to research and practice by providing design knowledge for conversation mining systems that leverage the treasure trove of data from customer-chatbot conversations to generate valuable insights for managers and developers.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining
System for Customer Service Chatbots
Short Paper
Daniel Schloss
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe, Germany
Ulrich Gnewuch
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe, Germany
Alexander Maedche
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe, Germany
Chatbots are increasingly used to provide customer service. However, despite
technological advances, customer service chatbots frequently reach their limits in
customer interactions. This is not immediately apparent to both chatbot operators (e.g.,
customer service managers) and chatbot developers because analyzing conversational
data is difficult and labor-intensive. To address this problem, our ongoing design science
research project aims to develop a conversation mining system for the automated
analysis of customer-chatbot conversations. Based on the exploration of large dataset
(N= 91,678 conversations) and six interviews with industry experts, we developed the
backend of the system. Specifically, we identified and operationalized important criteria
for evaluating conversations. Our next step will be the evaluation with industry experts.
Ultimately, we aim to contribute to research and practice by providing design knowledge
for conversation mining systems that leverage the treasure trove of data from customer-
chatbot conversations to generate valuable insights for managers and developers.
Keywords: chatbot, customer service, conversation mining, design science research
Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, more and more companies are deploying chatbots in recent
years (Dale, 2016; Schuetzler et al., 2021). Chatbots are software applications designed to interact with
customers through text-based communication (Grudin and Jacques, 2019). Due to their natural language
understanding (NLU) capabilities, they offer users a way to interact very naturally using written language
(Hill et al., 2015; McTear et al., 2016). Chatbots are therefore often used to automate customer interactions
and increasingly complement the frontline of customer service (Følstad and Skjuve, 2019; van Doorn et al.,
2017; Wirtz et al., 2018). They offer 24-hour availability and can hold many conversations in parallel
(Brandtzaeg and Følstad, 2017; Klopfenstein et al., 2017). As a technology with the potential for cost-
oriented automation, chatbots are seen as a strategic element of present and future customer service (De
Keyser et al., 2019; Thomaz et al., 2020).
However, despite the advances and potentials, the technology is being challenged in practice. On the one
hand, chatbots are still limited in processing customer requests (Klopfenstein et al., 2017; Takayama et al.,
2019). On the other hand, their actual performance in the course of a conversation is usually only observable
in highly aggregated figures (Przegalinska et al., 2019). In the past, many long-term chatbot implementation
projects have failed (Gao et al., 2021). To avoid this, both chatbot operators (e.g., customer service
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
managers) and chatbot developers have a strong interest in gaining insights into the conversations and
actual performance of an active customer service chatbot (e.g., in terms of successfully handled customer
concerns). Customer service managers need insights into the chatbots interactions with customers to assess
service quality (Følstad and Taylor, 2021). Chatbot developers need to make informed technical
improvements to the chatbot, such as retraining its language model (Cardoso et al., 2015), and review
conversations for quality assurance (Beaver and Mueen, 2020). The most important source for these
insights is the large amount of usage data from customer service chatbots (Følstad and Brandtzaeg, 2017).
However, due to the relative novelty of chatbot technology, there is a lack of design knowledge for analytical
systems that leverage data from customer-chatbot conversations in order to continuously improve the
performance of the chatbot (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; Følstad and Taylor, 2021). For this reason, we
conduct a design science research (DSR) project dedicated to the following research question:
RQ: How to design and develop a conversation mining system to assist chatbot operators and developers
to continuously assess and improve the performance of customer service chatbots?
In our ongoing DSR project, we draw on the literature on human-chatbot interactions, especially in the
context of customer service (e.g., Mozafari et al., 2022; Reinkemeier and Gnewuch, 2022). We specifically
build on and extend prior chatbot analytics research (e.g., C. H. Li et al., 2020) to design and develop a
conversation mining system that aims to close the gap between high-level metrics of customers’ experience
of an interaction, such as total number of messages exchanged (e.g. Przegalinska et al., 2019), or metrics
that only refer to conversation parts, such as a single failure of the NLU (Benner et al., 2021). To this end,
we account for the fact that customer-chatbot conversations follow processes where deviations between an
expected or optimal and actual course can be analyzed (Takeuchi et al., 2007; Van Der Aalst, 2012; Yaeli
and Zeltyn, 2021). To design a conversation mining system that fits this purpose, we analyzed 91,678
conversations and conducted six interviews with industry experts. Building on related research, we were
able to identify and calculate criteria and metrics for evaluating customer-chatbot conversations. With our
DSR project, we aim to support chatbot developers and operators leverage the potential of their data from
customer-chatbot conversations (Følstad and Brandtzaeg, 2017). Ultimately, we aim to help ensure that
experiences with customer service chatbots do not fall short of customer expectations (Bitner et al., 2010)
by providing design knowledge for conversation mining systems that automatically analyze chatbot data at
a conversational and process-oriented level to generate valuable insights for managers and developers.
Theoretical Foundations and Related Work
Chatbots in Customer Service
The customer service encounter that was once technology-free has become increasingly technologized
through advances in information and communications technology (Fitzsimmons et al., 2018). Examples
include electronic order entry, applications for price comparisons, or digital product configurators (De
Keyser et al., 2019). Customers often no longer interact with human frontline service employees (FSE), but
exclusively or first with technology. Either the technology can then finally process the customer request
itself, or it forwards the interaction or results of it to a FSE (De Keyser et al., 2019; Kucherbaev, 2018).
A typical technology that augments and in some cases substitutes FSE are chatbots (Wirtz et al., 2018).
Chatbots are suitable for customer service because they are always available, can save time, gather
information, and add a more personal touch than web forms (Brandtzaeg and Følstad, 2017; Klopfenstein
et al., 2017; Schuetzler et al., 2021). By responding questions or guiding users through process steps,
chatbots in customer service typically assist customers at specific tasks (Schuetzler et al., 2021; Wirtz et al.,
2018). For this reason, chatbots for customer service are technologically distinct from other conversational
agents (McTear et al., 2016). For instance, intelligent assistants (e.g., Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri) and
virtual companions (e.g., ELIZA) use artificial intelligence (AI) to understand and generate natural
language, are often speech-based, have a broad range of topics, and a high number of interactions. Task-
focused chatbots such as in customer service are mostly text-based, use AI only to classify user intention
(intent), and have a limited range of topics and possible dialogues (Grudin and Jacques, 2019; Schuetzler
et al., 2021). The data and metrics that describe the performance of these task-focused chatbots are
therefore also different from those that characterize voice bots, where, for example, voice pitch and speaking
speed play a stronger role (Aneja et al., 2020). Figure 1 shows the typical flow of a conversation with a text-
based customer service chatbot. The communication takes place in an encoding-decoding sequence as
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
known by the Shannon and Weaver model (Shannon and Weaver, 1949; Sperber and Wilson, 1996). As
Figure 1 illustrates, the intention of a customer to contact the customer service with a concern (1) is
translated in a concrete linguistic expression (2) when a chatbot is used. The chatbot then classifies this
user message, e.g. "I want to cancel my order", to the intent underlying the statement (3), using the NLU
(Kucherbaev et al., 2018; McTear et al., 2016). According to the classified intent, the chatbot retrieves a
predefined response (4), as chatbots used in customer service use AI mostly for language understanding
but rarely for generation (Schuetzler et al., 2021). In addition, after intent classification, chatbots can also
launch dialogues (5) that are used to further specify the intention or to query or output data in connection
with a backend (Kvale et al., 2020). Since these dialogues and responses are standardized, customer service
chatbots are used especially for repetitive standard requests of customers (Thomaz et al., 2020).
In order for chatbots to be profitable and realize their potential to automate standard requests in customer
service, they must be used sufficiently by customers. However, failed service encounters lead to customer
dissatisfaction and eventually complaints, poor word of mouth, inertia or switching behavior (Zeelenberg
and Pieters, 2004). Thus, failed customer service encounters with chatbots lower future likelihood of use,
especially as the choice of using chatbots competes with FSEs (Chen et al., 2022; Mozafari et al., 2022;
Sands et al., 2021).
For this reason, there has recently been an increased focus on chatbot service quality and its measurement
in service research. Existing research has predominately focused on extracting relatively simple metrics
(e.g., technical metrics such as language model scores or user-related metrics such as conversation
duration), manually coding or evaluating conversations (e.g., labeling the quality of chatbot answers), and
performing interviews with chatbot users (e.g., to find out quality characteristics). For example, Chen et al.,
(2022) and Noor et al., (2022) found that the service quality of a chatbot increases when it is more human-
like, adaptive and personal, closely collaborating with the FSE and continuously improved. For customer
service chatbots, however, efficiency is particularly important (Chen et al., 2022; Prentice and Nguyen,
2021). Empirical studies have shown that customers place particularly high value on functional criteria for
task-oriented chatbots, such as the error-free and efficient handling of their service requests (Følstad and
Skjuve, 2019; L. Li et al., 2021; Meyer-Waarden et al., 2020). To guide customer service managers and
chatbot developers in the deployment and design of chatbots when addressing these challenges, usage data
is considered a valuable basis for decision-making (Bitner et al., 2010; Følstad and Taylor, 2021). It can
provide customer service managers with insights into opportunities and challenges related to content and
dialog design so that they can make informed decisions on how to bridge the gap between the chatbot’s
capabilities and customers expectations and behaviors (Bitner et al., 2010; Chen et al., 2022). With
automated data analysis, they would no longer have to base their decisions on high-level recommendations
or time-consuming interviews. Instead, they can use a conversation mining system to generate decision-
making guidance from usage data.
Conversation and Chatbot Analytics
Some part of chatbot research is specifically dedicated to the analysis of conversations, conversational
breakdowns and repair strategies. A conversational breakdown occurs when a chatbot is unable to keep the
conversation running smoothly, so in the worst case the customer service encounter fails and the customers
leaves the conversation frustrated (Benner et al., 2021; Kvale et al., 2020). The first reason why such a
(2) User Message
(1) User Intention
(3) Chatbot Natural
Language Understanding
(4) Chatbot Response
Cancel order via customer service
Classified Intent: order_cancellation, Score: 0.95
Sure. What is your order number?” ..
(5) Chatbot Dialogue
Figure 1. Flow of customer-chatbot conversations (based on Kucherbaev et al., 2018)
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
breakdown can occur is an error in understanding the customer's intention (3). Customer’s intention is not
correctly understood when a non-classification (too low intent score) or a misclassification (wrong intent
classified) occurs (Benner et al., 2021; C. H. Li et al., 2020). From the perspective of conversation theory,
this can happen when an unintelligible message from the user (2) violates the cooperative principle of
communication, e.g., by being verbose or unclear (Grice, 1975). Furthermore, a chatbot has problems of
understanding if there is no "common ground" as a basis for the conversation between the customer and
the chatbot (Clark, 1996). This happens when the customer is not informed on which topics the chatbot is
trained or the chatbot covers a too small a range of topics (Kvale et al., 2020). The improvement
opportunities for chatbot operators and developers regarding this problems are the expansion of topics,
communication of chatbot capabilities and training of the language model (Beaver and Mueen, 2020).
However, not all of these conversational problems can necessarily be filtered directly from the data. Low
intent scores are immediately apparent as a breakdown, but misclassifications or insufficient responses (4)
(for correctly hit intents) require more effort to determine (Kvale et al., 2020; C. H. Li et al., 2020).
Ultimately, the breakdown may become apparent as the conversation progresses, for example, as the
sentiment deteriorates, poor feedback or repetition of statements occur (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; Benner
et al., 2021). Another reason for the failure of customer service encounters with chatbots is poorly designed
dialogues (5) of service processes. Much of the chatbot analytics research has focused on conversational
breakdowns regarding the language understanding of single user messages (Benner et al., 2021; T. J. J. Li
et al., 2020). However, customer service chatbots often use fixed dialogues ("Please give me your contract
number now") to interact with users ( C. H. Li et al., 2020; Kvale et al., 2020). With our conversation mining
system, we want to empower chatbot developers and operators to review customer service chatbot
conversations completely, instead of only monitoring intent classification or aggregated metrics. Since
dialogues are processes, problems with them are deviations from an optimal path. For example, if a
customer service process in the dialogue consists of 3 consecutive user-side inputs, a deviation in the form
actions, loops, or inputs of incorrect formats can indicate problems with the dialogue (Takeuchi et al., 2007;
Yaeli and Zeltyn, 2021). Technically, for such process analysis, the raw data (row-by-row conversation
events with timestamps) must be enriched with additional attributes (e.g., a counter indicating how often a
user statement was repeated (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; Følstad and Taylor, 2021)). Then, for a selection of
conversations, progressions and error types can be compared and grouped together (Quafari and Van der
Aalst, 2012). In this way, we plan to make it possible for chatbot developers and operators to compare their
expected conversations progresses and processes with the actual course and, based on this comparison, to
adapt the design of the dialogues in a user-oriented manner (Van Der Aalst, 2012). Service quality can be
increased and failed service encounters reduced, therefore increasing the likelihood of using chatbots again
(Meyer-Waarden et al., 2020).
Design Science Research
To assist chatbot operators and developers in assessing and improving the performance of customer service
chatbots, our DSR project addresses the research question of how to design a conversation mining system.
We consider the DSR approach to be particularly suited, since it involves iterative development and
Application on
real-world data
Design and
Identify Problem
and Motivate
Literature on
Chatbots in
Define Objectives of a
Interviews and
Design and
Focus Group
Client /
Figure 2. Research Design Cycle 1 (based on Peffers et al., 2007)
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
evaluation phases to ensure both relevance and rigor (Gregor and Hevner, 2013). Our DSR project follows
the framework of Peffers et al. (2007), consisting of two design cycles, the first illustrated in Figure 2. In
Cycle 1, we design a first prototype of the conversation mining system based on related research, expert
knowledge, and log data which finally can be applied to real world conversations. The DSR project is
conducted together with an industry partner that develops chatbots for energy industry customers (B2B)
and provides us with conversational data of different chatbots as well as access to the chatbot operators
(B2C) (Cardoso et al., 2015). The starting point of our DSR project was the initial problem that chatbot
developers and chatbot operators, especially customer service managers, demand insights into the
performance of their chatbots. To first better understand and frame the problem, the project started with a
literature recap on the application of chatbots in customer service. In a second step, expert interviews were
conducted with 4 chatbot developers of our industry partner and 2 experts from a chatbot operator. The
first had the roles of product owner (3 years work experience), head of operations (3 years), user experience
designer (1 year) and natural language understanding expert (0.5 years). We asked them in semi-structured
individual interviews of 1.5 hours what they consider a successful and non-successful customer service
chatbot conversation, why conversations fail, and what characteristics performance in conversations has.
These interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via open coding. In addition, we interviewed 2
digitization strategy managers of a B2C energy company. They have 0.5 and 2 years of experience as chatbot
operators. We discussed the current reporting and their analytical requirements in a 1.5 hours focus group,
resulting in a requirement sheet. In addition, we had access to data from 91,678 real world customer service
conversations of 40 different chatbots. Based on the structure and quality of the data and the methods of
conversation analysis, a first design of a conversation mining system was proposed, which we present in
this paper. As our next steps, we plan to finalize the prototype that instantiates our design. It will be
evaluated with a larger focus group of chatbot developers (N = 10). In Design Cycle 2, we plan to refine the
conversation mining system and conduct a second evaluation with a larger number of chatbot operators.
By leveraging interaction information hidden in the data using user requirements from the customer service
context and insights from chatbot analytics research, we aim to create design knowledge for conversation
analytics tools that reveal chatbot performance in customer service (Gregor and Hevner, 2013).
N messages/conversations
Basic data
User/Bot Messages and Forms Sent, Top Intents, Top Intent Scores, Timestamps
Additional Data
Frontend Interactions, Feedbacks (Message level), Clicked Links
Table 1. Metrics of provided data set
The first dataset which informed the development of the analytics backend, includes 91,678 conversations.
In these, 291,162 messages were recorded, which with 3.18 messages per conversation indicates rather short
task-related conversations. 6,411 of the 91,678 conversations are from the chatbot operator interviewed in
the objective definition phase. As Table 1 shows, typical data of intent-based chatbots are available to us (C.
H. Li et al., 2020), on the one hand the messages themselves, furthermore data of the intent classification
as well as timestamps at all events. In addition, interactions with the frontend, feedback at the message
level, and clicked links were also logged. No data for single customer recognition is available.
Designing a Conversation Mining System
Problem Identification and Motivation
Chatbots are particularly suitable for deployment in customer service and for handling standardized
processes (Brandtzaeg and Følstad, 2017, 2018). However, they are only profitable for operators if they are
used by customers in a larger scale. Therefore, customer service managers can limit the choice of channels
for customers to address their requests. In this case, the service quality of the chatbot must be high enough
to avoid failed customer service encounters that negatively impact the overall perception of a product or the
company (Chen et al., 2022; Zeelenberg and Pieters, 2004). Or customers have a choice, in this case, the
service quality of the chatbot must be so high that customers deliberately decide to use a chatbot based on
recommendations and positive experiences, besides individual factors such as attitudes (Meyer-Waarden
et al., 2020). Since customer service encounters tend to be very short and task-focused, evident in the few
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
messages exchanged in customer chatbot conversations, performance aspects play a big role (Brandtzaeg
and Følstad, 2017; Meyer-Waarden et al., 2020). Customers expect fast, simple and smooth processing
when they cancel orders, change master data or have inquiries about products. If this is guaranteed, for
routine tasks a chatbot is preferred over contact with a FSE. However, as research and real-world usage
data have shown, customer-chatbot conversations repeatedly run into problems or break down (Aneja et
al., 2020). This is due to 1. problems in language understanding or 2. problems with the chatbot's responses
or dialogues (Benner et al., 2021). The patterns and indicators of these failed conversations vary and, while
easily seen by human judgment, are difficult to capture automatically (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; Kvale et
al., 2020). Because of this and the novelty of the technology, there is a lack of knowledge for automated
assessment of chatbot performance in whole conversations, mass detection of problematic conversations,
and operationalization of performance indicators (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; Følstad and Taylor, 2021).
Objectives of the System
The conversation mining system should provide chatbot operators and developers with data-driven insights
about conversations in order to help them continuously assess and improve the performance of customer
service chatbots. It requires two major components: 1) A frontend that provides access to the data in the
form of visualizations that allows exploratory analysis of conversations. 2) A backend that preprocesses and
stores the logged conversation data according to the defined requirements. To further understand the user
requirements, we conducted interviews with chatbot operators and developers. Our interviewees were four
experts from the industry partner, which is developing chatbots for the energy industry. They commented
that, according to the depicted flow in Figure 1, a successful conversation includes understanding the
concern, an appropriate response, and a conclusion to the process that was started. A failed conversation,
on the other hand, is characterized by problems in natural language processing as well as breakdowns,
technical problems, a stagnant dialogue flow, and inappropriate responses. Reasons for such problems that
were mentioned were a possible mismatch between expectations and performance, e.g. in the form of
missing but expected memory functions or backend connections of the chatbot, technical complexity and
mentioning of topics that are outside the content spectrum, user messages that are too long or ambiguous
on a linguistic level, as well as poor NLU training and non-user-centric design of dialogues (Følstad and
Taylor, 2021). These causes should be reflected in a conversation mining system. The chatbot operators
mentioned in our interviews that they would like to have visibility into which concerns the bot was able to
process completely and which were not. They would like to see a topic-wise distribution of what the bot can
handle well or not yet and a better insight into negatively rated conversations. In particular, they were also
interested in gaining insight into which conversations had a handover to a human employee that can be
triggered by typing "I want to talk to a human" and clicking a link. In this way, they want an accurate view
on performance to reflect on the usefulness and profitability of the chatbot and to have an informed opinion
on the maintenance of chatbot content and thematic language model training. The conversation mining
system therefore will consist of filters, key metrics, actual conversation views, and visuals.
Design and Development
Based on the goals and assessments of the experts, in the third step of our DSR project, we developed an
initial framework (Table 2) of metrics related to the performance of a customer service chatbot. The metrics
are primarily derived from the literature on chatbot analytics (see column "Source"). We have split these
metrics for success/failure of a conversation analogously to the established stages of communication to 1.
user message, 2. natural language understanding, 3. chatbot response, 4. dialogue progress and 5. user
(dis)satisfaction (Shannon and Weaver, 1949; Sperber and Wilson, 1996). In addition, referring to the
typical data mentioned in chatbot analytics research (C. H. Li et al., 2020; Yaeli and Zeltyn, 2021) and the
chatbot usage data we were provided with, we have explored and noted what data needs to be used in order
to develop these metrics (see column “Data”). As we discovered, in terms of automatability, some metrics
can be calculated easily or with moderate effort from the raw data, some must be calculated using external
tools or APIs during data logging or ex post, and others require elaborate manual coding or subjective
evaluation (see column "Automatability"). In the process of building our analytics pipeline, we excluded the
metrics that require manual coding and focused on the metrics that can be generated automatically. Simple
metrics (e.g., number of conversations) are also part of the conversation mining system, but do not require
deeper exploration. As a conceptual basis, our framework guides the data pre-processing in our backend as
well as the design of the frontend of the conversation mining system.
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
The first two conversational stages (user message and natural language understanding metrics) can be
evaluated at the level of individual user messages (and the corresponding intent and response). The chatbot,
response, the progress in the dialogue or dissatisfaction, on the other hand, refer to the context of the
conversation. All metrics serve either as filter or as aggregated measures when reviewing the conversations
on the frontend. Starting with user messages, a chatbot conversation can fail early on because the messages
are too long, too short, or linguistically incorrect (Kvale et al., 2020, Reinkemeier and Gnewuch, 2022). The
former can be checked quickly, for linguistic correctness an external spell checker is needed. Regarding the
NLU, conversations with low or similarly high intent classification scores are easily filterable, mismatches
as well as inputs beyond the known intents ('out-of-scope') can only be detected manually since the chatbot
database does not know what it does not know (Beaver and Mueen, 2020; C. H. Li et al., 2020). The same
applies to the relevance and understandability of the chatbot response, which also would have to be assessed
manually (Følstad and Taylor, 2021), and are therefore not part of the automated system. If a user message
is recognized correctly and a dialogue starts, there are various metrics describing dialogue progress. The
repetition of user messages, intent hits, responses or certain events (for example, if a form appears again
and again) as well as a clarifying statement by a user are signs of problems in the dialogue. These metrics
do not require manual rework, but they do require an aggregation on the conversation level (Beaver and
Mueen, 2020). Lastly, aborts of dialogues, entire conversations as well as handovers to the employee show
that there was a problem. With the help of these conversation level metrics, the deviation of the smooth and
actual course can be determined (Quafari and Van der Aalst, 2012). Last, user (dis)satisfaction in the form
of direct feedback, sentiment, or escalation requests ("You're stupid, I want to talk to a human") attests the
failure of the conversation (Akhtar et al., 2019). Based on this framework, the backend of our conversation
mining system processes each conversation calculating all metrics that can be determined automatically.
1. User message
Linguistic Correctness
User Message (Length)
User Message (Length)
User Message (Spell Check)
(Beaver and Mueen, 2020)
(Reinkemeier and Gnewuch,
(Kvale et al., 2020)
2. Natural Language
Low Score
Top Intent Classification Score
N Intent Classification Scores
(Beaver and Mueen, 2020)
(Benner et al., 2021)
(C. H. Li et al., 2020)
(Sperber and Wilson, 1996)
(T. J. J. Li et al., 2020)
3. Chatbot Response
Relevance Response
Understandability Response
(Aneja et al., 2020)
(Følstad and Taylor, 2021)
4. Dialogue Progress/
Chatbot/User Repair
Intent Repetition
Chatbot Response Repetition
User Clarification
User Message Repetition
User Event Repetition
Dialogue Abort
Conversation Abort
Deviation optimal dialogue
Top Intents
Chatbot Responses
User Message (Classification)
User Messages (Similiarity)
User Events
Last Logged Event / Dialogue
Last Logged Event / Conversation
Handover Event
(Aneja et al., 2020)
(Beaver and Mueen, 2020)
(Følstad and Taylor, 2021)
(Kvale et al., 2020)
(C. H. Li et al., 2020)
(Yaeli and Zeltyn, 2021)
(Quafari and Van der Aalst,
5. User
Escalation Request
Feedbacks (Message Level)
User Message (Sentiment)
User Message (Classification)
(Akhtar et al., 2019)
(Beaver and Mueen, 2020)
Table 2. Chatbot performance metrics, data and automation levels
Conclusion and Next Steps
This paper provides first insights into the idea and design of our proposed conversation mining system.
Based on in-depth exploration of chatbot conversation data from customer service and expert interviews,
we identified the relevant (log data) metrics for successful and unsuccessful customer-chatbot interactions
and designed an initial backend (analytics pipeline) that computes them. We also aim to design a user-
friendly frontend for the conversation mining system as well and subsequently evaluate it with several
chatbot operators to assesses the usefulness of the selected metrics and the visual design. We hope to
increase their ability to gain insights into chatbot performance and take appropriate actions to increase the
service quality of chatbot interactions (Chen et al., 2022), which we also plan to analyze in the context of a
case study with one chatbot provider. Additionally, we plan to broaden our literature review on chatbot
evaluation metrics to also include approaches that are not data-driven. Finally, our project is not without
limitations. We specifically focus on intent-based task-focused chatbots in only one industry. Future
research could extend the scope of conversation mining systems to other industries, other types of chatbots,
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
and other types of chatbot data. Furthermore, we do not differentiate between individual users in the data,
since no unique features are recorded except for the conversation number. Nonetheless, future research
could expand upon our design to integrate additional data into the conversation mining system.
Akhtar, M., Neidhardt, J., and Werthner, H. 2019. "The potential of chatbots: Analysis of chatbot
conversations," Proceedings - 21st IEEE Conference on Business Informatics, 1, pp. 397404.
Aneja, D., McDuff, D., and Czerwinski, M. 2020. "Conversational Error Analysis in Human-Agent
Interaction". Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, pp. 1-8.
Beaver, I., and Mueen, A. 2020. "Automated conversation review to surface virtual assistant
misunderstandings: Reducing cost and increasing privacy," 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial
Intelligence, pp. 1314013147.
Benner, D., Elshan, E., Schöbel, S., and Janson, A. 2021. "What do you mean? A review on recovery
strategies to overcome conversational breakdowns of conversational agents," ICIS 2021 Proceedings.
Bitner, M. J., Zeithaml, V. A., and Gremler, D. D. 2010. "Technology’s Impact on the Gaps Model of Service
Quality," in: Handbook of Service Science, P. P. Maglio, C. A. Kieliszewski, and J. C. Spohrer (Eds.),
Cham: Springer, pp. 197218.
Brandtzaeg, P. B., and Følstad, A. 2017. "Why people use chatbots," Lecture Notes in Computer Science,
10673 LNCS, pp. 377392.
Brandtzaeg, P. B., and Følstad, A. 2018. "Chatbots: Changing User Needs and Motivations," Interactions.
Cardoso, J., Fromm, H., Nickel, S., Satzger, G., Studer, R. and Weinhardt, C. 2015. "Fundamentals of Service
Systems". In Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy, Issue 1.
Chen, Q., Gong, Y., Lu, Y., and Tang, J. 2022. "Classifying and measuring the service quality of AI chatbot
in frontline service," Journal of Business Research, 145, pp. 552568.
Clark, H. H. (1996). Using Language. Cambridge University Press.
Dale, R. (2016). "The return of the chatbots," Natural Language Engineering (22:5), pp. 811817.
De Keyser, A., Köcher, S., Alkire (née Nasr), L., Verbeeck, C., and Kandampully, J. (2019). "Frontline Service
Technology infusion: conceptual archetypes and future research directions," Journal of Service
Management, 30(1), pp. 156183.
Fitzsimmons, J. A., Fitzsimmons, M. J., and Bordoloi, S. 2018. Service Management: Operations, Strategy,
Information Technology, McGraw-Hill Education (ed.), 9th Edition.
Følstad, A., and Brandtzaeg, P. B. 2017. "Chatbots and the new world of HCI," Interactions (24:4), pp. 38
Følstad, A., and Skjuve, M. 2019. "Chatbots for customer service: user experience and motivation," CUI
'19: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces, pp. 19.
Følstad, A., and Taylor, C. 2021. "Investigating the user experience of customer service chatbot interaction:
framework for qualitative analysis of chatbot dialogues," Quality and User Experience (6:1), pp. 117.
Gao, M., Liu, X., Xu, A., and Akkiraju, R. 2021. "Chatbot or Chat-Blocker: Predicting Chatbot Popularity
before Deployment," DIS 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems
Conference: Nowhere and Everywhere, pp. 14581469.
Gregor, S., and Hevner, A. 2013. "Positioning and Presenting Design Science Research for Maximum
Impact," MIS Quartely (37:2), pp. 337356.
Grice, P. 1975. Logic and Conversation. In Speech Acts. Brill, pp. 4158.
Grudin, J., and Jacques, R. 2019. "Chatbots, humbots, and the quest for artificial general intelligence,"
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, pp. 111.
Hill, J., Randolph Ford, W., and Farreras, I. G. 2015. "Real conversations with artificial intelligence: A
comparison between human-human online conversations and human-chatbot conversations,"
Computers in Human Behavior, 49, pp. 245250.
Klopfenstein, L. C., Delpriori, S., Malatini, S., and Bogliolo, A. 2017. "The Rise of Bots," Proceedings of the
2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, pp. 555565.
Kucherbaev, P., Bozzon, A., and Houben, G. J. 2018. "Human-Aided Bots," IEEE Internet Computing
(22:6), pp. 36-43.
Kvale, K., Sell, O. A., Hodnebrog, S., and Følstad, A. 2020. "Improving conversations: lessons learnt from
manual analysis of chatbot dialogues," Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 11970 , pp. 187200.
Li, C. H., Yeh, S. F., Chang, T. J., Tsai, M. H., Chen, K., and Chang, Y. J. 2020. "A Conversation Analysis of
Towards Designing a Conversation Mining System
Forty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, Copenhagen 2022
Non-Progress and Coping Strategies with a Banking Task-Oriented Chatbot," Conference on Human
Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, pp. 112.
Li, L., Lee, K. Y., Emokpae, E., and Yang, S. B. 2021. "What makes you continuously use chatbot services?
Evidence from chinese online travel agencies," Electronic Markets (31:3), pp. 575599.
Li, T. J. J., Chen, J., Xia, H., Mitchell, T. M., and Myers, B. A. 2020. "Multi-modal repairs of conversational
breakdowns in task-oriented dialogs," UIST 2020 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium
on User Interface Software and Technology, pp. 10941107.
McTear, M., Callejas, Z., and Griol, D. 2016. The Conversational Interface, Cham: Springer.
Meyer-Waarden, L., Pavone, G., Poocharoentou, T., Prayatsup, P., Ratinaud, M., Tison, A., and Torné, S.
2020. "How Service Quality Influences Customer Acceptance and Usage of Chatbots?," Journal of
Service Management Research, 4(1), pp. 3551.
Mozafari, N., Weiger, W. H., and Hammerschmidt, M. 2022. "Trust me, I’m a bot – repercussions of chatbot
disclosure in different service frontline settings," Journal of Service Management, 33(2), pp. 221245.
Noor, N., Hill, R., and Troshani, I. 2022. "Developing a Service Quality Scale for Artificial Intelligence
Service Agents," European Journal of Marketing, ahead of print.
Peffers, K., Tuunanen, T., Rothenberger, M. A., and Chatterjee, S. 2007. "A design science research
methodology for information systems research," Journal of Management Information Systems, 24(3),
pp. 4577.
Prentice, C., and Nguyen, M. 2021. "Robotic service quality Scale development and validation," Journal
of Retailing and Consumer Services, 62 (June), pp. 1-7.
Przegalinska, A., Ciechanowski, L., Stroz, A., Gloor, P., and Mazurek, G. 2019. "In bot we trust: A new
methodology of chatbot performance measures," Business Horizons (62:6), pp. 785797.
Quafari, M. S., and Van der Aalst, W. 2012. "Root Cause Analysis with Enriched Process Logs," in Business
Process Management Workshops, M. La Rosa and P. Soffer (Eds.), Cham: Springer, pp. 174186.
Reinkemeier, F. and Gnewuch, U. 2022 "Designing Effective Conversational Repair Strategies for
Chatbots," ECIS 2022 Research Papers.
Sands, S., Ferraro, C., Campbell, C., and Tsao, H. Y. 2021. "Managing the humanchatbot divide: how
service scripts influence service experience," Journal of Service Management (32:2), pp. 246264.
Schuetzler, R. M., Giboney, J. S., Grimes, G. M., and Rosser, H. K. 2021. "Deciding Whether and How to
Deploy Chatbots," MIS Quarterly Executive (20:1), pp. 115.
Shannon, C. E., and Weaver, W. 1949. The Theory of Mathematical Communication. International
Business, 131.
Sperber, D., and Wilson, D. 1996. Relevance: Communication and Cognition (2nd). Wiley-Blackwell.
Takayama, J., Nomoto, E., and Arase, Y. 2019. "Dialogue breakdown detection robust to variations in
annotators and dialogue systems," Computer Speech and Language, 54, pp. 3143.
Takeuchi, H., Subramaniam, L. V., Nasukawa, T., Roy, S., and Balakrishnan, S. 2007. "A conversation-
mining system for gathering insights to improve agent productivity," Proceedings - The 9th IEEE
International Conference on E-Commerce Technology; The 4th IEEE International Conference on
Enterprise Computing, E-Commerce and E-Services, CEC/EEE 2007, pp. 465468.
Thomaz, F., Salge, C., Karahanna, E., and Hulland, J. 2020. "Learning from the Dark Web: leveraging
conversational agents in the era of hyper-privacy to enhance marketing," Journal of the Academy of
Marketing Science (48:1), pp. 4363.
Van Der Aalst, W. 2012. "Process Mining: Overview and Opportunities," ACM Transactions on
Management Information Systems (3:2), pp. 117.
Van Doorn, J., Mende, M., Noble, S. M., Hulland, J., Ostrom, A. L., Grewal, D., and Petersen, J. A. 2017.
"Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Emergence of Automated Social Presence in Organizational Frontlines and
Customers’ Service Experiences," Journal of Service Research (20:1), pp. 4358.
Wirtz, J., Patterson, P. G., Kunz, W. H., Gruber, T., and Paluch, S. 2018. "Brave new world: service robots
in the frontline world," Journal of Service Management (29:5), pp. 907931.
Yaeli, A., and Zeltyn, S. 2021. "Where and Why is My Bot Failing? A Visual Analytics Approach for
Investigating Failures in Chatbot Conversation Flows," Proceedings - 2021 IEEE Visualization
Conference - Short Papers, VIS 2021, pp. 141145.
Zeelenberg, M., and Pieters, R. (2004). "Beyond valence in customer dissatisfaction: A review and new
findings on behavioral responses to regret and disappointment in failed services," Journal of Business
Research (57:4), pp. 445455.
... In other cases, the progress of the conversation is inconspicuous, but there were detectable errors (e.g., technical error in the chatbot response). Thus, for automated conversation mining, customizable filter functions that target the occurrence of errors and error indicators in the entire conversation are helpful [2,15,19]. ...
... If the customer's topic selection and the intention classification worked, at last (3) there may occur problems in the service processes triggered by the chatbot. Whereas customers in an "open" conversation situation have the opportunity to perform a variety of actions or inputs, the recognition of some intents may also be followed by a static dialog, for example, because data must be queried from the customer and validated [15,18]. In this case, the chatbot takes the conversational lead and guides the customer through a process of information exchange, e.g., starting with an identification [14]: ...
... Moreover, if logging is insufficient, the logged variants do not reflect the real variance in customers' behavior (interactions) [18]. However, assuming the data source is rich, there is a lot of potential in process mining to check for customer-service provider expectation gaps in static dialogs [9,15,18]. Furthermore, process mining analysis can also be conducted for the non-chatbot-guided conversation parts, illustrating (with a high number of variants) typical paths as users "move" through the chatbot. A simple application of this is to calculate and visualize the most frequent consecutive intents (e.g., "60% of customers move from Intent B to Intent A", Process Discovery [16,18]). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
More and more companies are using chatbots in customer service. The large number of chatbots and their interactions with customers produce a huge amount of data, which is useful to track the usage and performance of the chatbot. However, many established performance metrics (e.g., intent scores, conversations per day) could be considered too intuitive to be helpful and are either at a very high level or at the level of single question-answer pairs. Our research aims to address this challenge by presenting a novel approach and system for conversation analysis of customer service chatbots. More specifically, we extend established metrics and concepts with ideas from process mining since every conversation with customer service chatbots can be interpreted as a sequence of discrete steps. This paper presents the methodological foundations for our approach, which we call conversation mining, and demonstrates its potential with first insights into our prototype. Ultimately, we aim to draw the attention of chatbot researchers and practitioners to the value of conversation data by describing a novel approach for automatically processing and analyzing at a process level.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Conversational breakdowns often force users to go through frustrating loops of trial and error when trying to get answers from chatbots. Although research has emphasized the potential of conversational repair strategies in helping users resolve breakdowns, design knowledge for implementing such strategies is scarce. To address this challenge, we are conducting a design science research (DSR) project to design effective repair strategies that help users recover from conversational breakdowns with chatbots. This paper presents the first design cycle, proposing, instantiating, and evaluating our first design principle on identifying the cause of conversational breakdowns. Using 21,736 real-world user messages from a large insurance company, we conducted a cluster analysis of 5,668 messages leading to breakdowns, identified four distinct breakdown types, and built a classifier that can be used to automatically identify breakdown causes in real time. Our research contributes with prescriptive knowledge for designing repair strategies in conversational breakdown situations.
Full-text available
Purpose Service providers and consumers alike are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence service agents (AISA) for service. Yet, no service quality scale exists that can fully capture the key factors influencing AISA service quality. This study aims to address this shortcoming by developing a scale for measuring AISA service quality (AISAQUAL). Design/methodology/approach Based on extant service quality research and established scale development techniques, the study constructs, refines and validates a multidimensional AISAQUAL scale through a series of pilot and validation studies. Findings AISAQUAL contains 26 items across six dimensions: efficiency, security, availability, enjoyment, contact and anthropomorphism. The new scale demonstrates good psychometric properties and can be used to evaluate service quality across AISA, providing a means of examining the relationships between AISA service quality and satisfaction, perceived value as well as loyalty. Research limitations/implications Future research should validate AISAQUAL with other AISA types, as they diffuse throughout the service sector. Moderating factors related to services, the customer and the AISA can be investigated to uncover the boundary conditions under which AISAQUAL is likely to influence service outcomes. Longitudinal studies can be carried out to assess how ongoing use of AISA can change service outcomes. Practical implications Service managers can use AISAQUAL to effectively monitor, diagnose and improve services provided by AISA while enhancing their understanding of how AISA can deliver better service quality and customer loyalty outcomes. Originality/value Anthropomorphism is identified as a new service quality dimension. AISAQUAL facilitates theory development by providing a reliable scale to improve the current understanding of consumers’ perspectives concerning AISA services.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since the emergence of conversational agents, this technology has seen continuous development and research. Today, advanced conversational agents are virtually omnipresent in our everyday lives. Albeit the numerous improvements in their conversational capabilities, breakdowns are still a persistent issue. Such breakdowns can result in a very unpleasant experience for users and impair the future success of conversational agents. This issue has been acknowledged by many researchers recently. However, the research on strategies to overcome conversational breakdowns is still inconclusive, and further research is needed. Therefore, we conduct a systematic literature analysis to derive conceptual conversational breakdown recovery strategies from literature and highlight future research avenues to address potential gaps. Thus, we contribute to theory of human-agent interaction by deriving and assessing recovery strategies and suggesting leads for novel recovery strategies.
Full-text available
The uptake of chatbots for customer service depends on the user experience. For such chatbots, user experience in particular concerns whether the user is provided relevant answers to their queries and the chatbot interaction brings them closer to resolving their problem. Dialogue data from interactions between users and chatbots represents a potentially valuable source of insight into user experience. However, there is a need for knowledge of how to make use of these data. Motivated by this, we present a framework for qualitative analysis of chatbot dialogues in the customer service domain. The framework has been developed across several studies involving two chatbots for customer service, in collaboration with the chatbot hosts. We present the framework and illustrate its application with insights from three case examples. Through the case findings, we show how the framework may provide insight into key drivers of user experience, including response relevance and dialogue helpfulness (Case 1), insight to drive chatbot improvement in practice (Case 2), and insight of theoretical and practical relevance for understanding chatbot user types and interaction patterns (Case 3). On the basis of the findings, we discuss the strengths and limitations of the framework, its theoretical and practical implications, and directions for future work.
Full-text available
Due to advancements in artificial intelligence, chatbots are often indistinguishable from humans. Regarding the question whether firms should disclose their chatbots' nonhuman identity or not, previous studies find negative consumer reactions to chatbot disclosure. By considering the role of trust and service-related context factors, this study explores how negative effects of chatbot disclosure for customer retention can be prevented. Results show that chatbot disclosure has a negative indirect effect on customer retention through mitigated trust for services with high criticality. In cases where a chatbot fails to handle the customer's service issue, disclosing the chatbot identity not only lacks negative impact but even elicits a positive effect on retention. These findings demonstrate that disclosing the chatbots' machine-like identity not only has undesirable consequences but can lead to positive reactions as well.
AI chatbots have been widely applied in the frontline to serve customers. Yet, the existing dimensions and scales of service quality can hardly fit the new AI environment. To address this gap, we define the dimensions of AI chatbot service quality (AICSQ) and develop the associated scales with a mixed-method approach. In the qualitative analysis, with the coding of the interviews from 55 global organizations in 17 countries and 47 customers, we develop new multi-level dimensions of AICSQ, including seven second-order and 18 first-order constructs. Then we follow a 10-step scale development method to establish the valid scales. The nomological test result shows that AICSQ positively influences customers’ satisfaction with, perceived value of, and intention of continuous use of AI chatbots. The innovative dimensions and scales of AI chatbot service quality provide conceptual classification and measurement instruments for the future study of chatbot service in the frontline.
Viewing robots as service agents that provide services to customers for value exchange, the study developed a scale to measure robotic service quality. The scale underwent several stages of development including item generation, domain specification, scale refinement, and validity testing, including internal and external cross validation. A range of methods were used in this process. Data were collected from Australia, China, and Vietnam to test external validity. Four dimensions were identified to represent robotic service quality. Development of this scale has implications for artificial intelligence and service research. The scale can be used by practitioners to enhance customer experience and generate positive attitudinal and behavioural responses from customers.