Thai Ha Nguyen

Thai Ha Nguyen

Data Assurance Associate, PwC
Master of Business
Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Business Information Systems

More and more organisations are using chatbots and virtual assistants. But do they actually improve customer experience? That’s the interesting topic Thai Ha Nguyen explored for her Master of Business specialising in business information systems.

“My master’s degree research focused on the effects of chatbots on customer experience. Despite their potential benefits, there’s still a high failure rate when implementing chatbots. This is because organisations don’t fully understand the actual interaction between their customers and a chatbot. Moreover, customer demands are increasing every year, but little is known about the nature of customer-chatbot communication and the impacts of chatbots on customer satisfaction.

“I’m hoping that the findings of research will help organisations identify which factors should be boosted or mitigated to create a successful customer-chatbot interaction. These outcomes would also be helpful for customers who have high standards on the services they receive. My research could also contribute to the body of knowledge in the information systems area, and the artificial intelligence research field in particular.”

Thai Ha’s research was supervised by Dr Lena Waizenegger and Associate Professor Angsana Techatassanasoontorn.

In October 2021, Thai Ha and her supervisors also had the paper 'Don’t neglect the user! – Identifying types of human-chatbot interactions and their associated characteristics’ published in the journal Information Systems Frontiers. Drawing on her master’s degree thesis, this paper further investigated and elaborated on how human and text-based chatbots interact.

A platform for academic careers
She would recommend the Master of Business to those who want to develop their academic career, says Thai Ha who came to AUT as an international student from Vietnam and now works at PwC as a data assurance associate.

“This degree is a great platform for students wanting to familiarise themselves with the academic community and doing research. By having similar, but less strict, requirements as a PhD, the master’s degree equips us with the skills to become a novice researcher and prepare for more advanced research in the future. I really appreciated the opportunity the degree gave me to start my own research project and the Postgraduate Office’s support throughout the programme.”

Adapting to a new study environment was one of her biggest challenges, she admits.

“It wasn't easy for me when I first arrived in New Zealand, however I took part in club activities and attended workshops organised by AUT, which made me feel more comfortable about communicating with new people here.

“I appreciated that at AUT every lecture was supported by a tutorial session where students could instantly practise what they learned in their lectures. I also had many lecturers who helped me overcome any difficulties I faced in my first year in New Zealand and achieve good academic results. AUT also always adequately provided us with contemporary facilities and software to best support our studies.”

Advice for other students
Thai Ha has some great advice for other international students.

“Living far away from home is not easy. You should mentally prepare for the challenges you’ll face along the way – seek advice, whether it’s from the university, from friends or from an agency. When making the decision on your programme or major, find as many options as you can and carefully consider them in terms of their content, their potential for your career path and opportunities for further study.”

Make sure you prepare your budget and financial plan before you start studying overseas, she adds.

“As an international student, I’m aware that tuition fees are high. However, if the university is your preferred choice, then go for it. Universities often have scholarships to offer to students, and working part-time could be another option but you have to manage your time effectively.”

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