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Brainwaves and Behaviour: Understanding Digital Social Support Tools and Customer Engagement Behaviour
Authors: Helen Bocking (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Rebekah Russell-Bennett (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Kate Letheren (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
Social support plays an important part in transformative services for maintaining customer engagement in the behaviour change process (Parkinson, Schuster, Mulcahy and Taiminen, 2017; Saunders, Barrington & Sridharan, 2014). Examples of behaviour change contexts are preventative health (healthy diet and exercise), environment (electricity use) and safety (domestic violence). Customer engagement consists of three components; cognitive, emotional and behavioural (Hollebeek et. al. 2014) and each component is important for continued use of a service. Social support elements include emotional, informational, instrumental, appraisal and social networks (Lefebvre, 2012). Despite the presence of multiple forms of social support, existing research on digital support tools in a transformative service often only explore one or two social support elements. As such there is a lack of empirical evidence which explores how consumers perceive elements of social support when delivered through a digital medium and specifically when in applied across multiple behaviour change behaviours.
While there is research on digital support tools such as chat rooms, forums and blogs (see Avery et. al. 2015), there is little research on more advanced digital support tools that are underpinned by AI such as chatbots and digital assistants. We therefore do not know how consumers engage with the variety of digital tools available in transformative services to achieve behaviour change for wellbeing. In particular we do not know which component of customer engagement component is affected by different types of social support offered by digital tools or if it matters whether all three components are activated or only one. Thus this research addresses RQ1: How can Digital Support Tools provide different types of Social Support in a behavioural change context? and RQ2:How do consumers cognitively, emotionally and behaviourally engage with different types of Digital Support Tools?
This research uses qualitative interviews with 25 participants and neuroscience brainwave scans of 25 participants to address the research questions. The EMOTIV headset was used to measure emotional and cognitive engagement with selected digital support tools while behavioural engagement was measured using digital analytics (e.g. duration, stickiness, number of pages). Preliminary findings of the interviews and the brainwaves will be presented at the conference.