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Abstract

Recent advances in interactive communication have allowed companies to introduce new digital technologies to differentiate their online customer chatting services, but little is known about how customers perceive these new services. To answer this call, the current research examines the effects of avatar presentation, company market status, and agent identity on customers’ perception of service quality and satisfaction in the context of minor service failure that customers encounter through online chatting services. The results of two studies show that customers perceive better service quality and demonstrate lower satisfaction if served by an artificial intelligence [AI] agent (vs. a human-agent), represented by a human picture (vs. a human image). However, this pattern was found only for a company with high market-status, not for a company with low market-status. These results will help marketing practitioners strategically design their chatting service environments according to the nature of services they offer.

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