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Chatbot or human? The impact of online customer service on consumers' purchase intentions

Chen, S. ORCID:, Li, X., Liu, K. and Wang, X. (2023) Chatbot or human? The impact of online customer service on consumers' purchase intentions. Psychology & Marketing, 40 (11). pp. 2186-2200. ISSN 1520-6793

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/mar.21862


Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots and human employees have emerged as the dominant forms of online customer service. However, existing research rarely connects the service differences between them in terms of product type, ignoring the interactivity between the two. This study reveals the effect of matching customer service type (AI chatbot vs. human) to product type (search vs. experience) on consumers' purchase intentions through four experiments, revealing the psychological mechanism and boundary condition for the existence of this effect. It shows that (1) the match between customer service type and product type positively affects consumers' purchase intentions; (2) this matching effect is mediated by processing fluency and perceived service quality; and (3) the matching effect works only when consumers' demand certainty is low. These findings enrich the theoretical study of online customer service, and provide marketing insights for companies to improve the adoption of AI chatbots and human employees.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:112479
Uncontrolled Keywords:Marketing, Applied Psychology

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