Evaluating the Quality of a Chat Service

A quantitative study of a university chat reference service (online synchronous) addresses the following research questions: (1) What types of questions are being asked? (2) Who is asking the questions of the service? and (3) Did the customers get correct answers to their questions? All the transcripts (351) from January through August 2002 were examined, yielding 419 questions that were analyzed. The relationships among accuracy of answers, types of questions, and customer groupings were analyzed. Correct answers occurred 91.72 percent overall, with a wide range between question types. Analysis by types of questions posed from different customer groupings is provided, along with changes made and planned for the chat service.