Purchase intentions in a chatbot environment: An examination of the effects of customer experience

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2914

Keywords:

artificial intelligence tools, chatbot, customer experience, purchase intention, uses and gratifications theory, usage frequency

Abstract

Research background: Chatbots represent valuable technological tools that allow companies to improve customer experiences, meet their expectations in real time, and provide them with personalized assistance. They have contributed to the transformation of conventional customer service models into online solutions, offering accessibility and efficiency through their integration across various digital platforms. Nevertheless, the existing literature is limited in terms of exploring the potential of chatbots in business communication and studying their impact on the customer's response.

Purpose of the article: The main objective of this study is to examine how consumers perceive chatbots as customer service devices. In particular, the paper aims to analyze the influence of the dimensions of “Information”, “Entertainment”, “Media Appeal”, “Social Presence” and “Risk for Privacy” on the “Customer Experience” and the latter on the “Purchase Intention”, under the consideration of the Uses and Gratifications Theory. Moderations due to Chatbot Usage Frequency for some of the relationships proposed are also analyzed. 

Methods: An empirical study was performed through a questionnaire to Spanish consumers. The statistical data analysis was conducted with R software through the lavaan package. To test the hypotheses from the conceptual model a structural equation modelling approach was adopted.

Findings & value added: The results obtained identify the main characteristics of chatbots that can support brands to effectively develop their virtual assistants in order to manage their relational communication strategies and enhance their value proposal through the online customer journey. Findings demonstrate the contribution that chatbot dimensions make to the online consumer experience and its impact on the purchase intention, with the consideration of the moderating effect exercised by the user's level of experience (novice vs. experienced) with the use of chatbots. Regarding managerial implications, this research offers recommendations for e-commerce professionals to manage chatbots more effectively. The “Entertainment” and “Social Presence” dimensions can be operationalized at a visual (e.g., appearance of the avatar and text box, use of designs aligned with the website) and textual level (e.g., style and tone of voice, use of expressions typical of the target audience) to generate a feeling of proximity with the chatbot and facilitate its adoption. “Media Appeal” requires that the chatbot be easy to use, effective, and accessible, to facilitate its usability. Finally, mitigation of “Privacy Risk” concerns should be achieved by presenting an appropriate privacy policy and requesting permission for the use of customers’ private information.

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2024-03-30

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Martínez Puertas, S., Illescas Manzano, M. D., Segovia López, C., & Ribeiro-Cardoso, P. (2024). Purchase intentions in a chatbot environment: An examination of the effects of customer experience. Oeconomia Copernicana, 15(1), 145–194. https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2914

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