The Moderating Role of Perceived Risk Between AI Chatbots, Purchase Intentions and Customer Loyalty in Customer Service
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increasingly permeated the service industry as new innovations have rapidly allowed the development of new channels for interacting with consumers. Among these is the development of AI based Chatbots for customer services online. This research was conducted on American consumers to examine their attitudes towards AI based Chabot service agents, and whether perceived risk of these chatbots has an impact on the relationship between chatbot quality and their purchase intentions or loyalty with a company. Using a sample of 198 American respondents, the relationship between chatbot quality with purchase intentions and loyalty as two separate variables was examined (Study 1), and perceived risk was used as a moderator variable in these relationships (Study 2). The results of the study showed that there was a positive impact of the quality of AI based chatbots on the purchase intentions as well as loyalty of American consumers. However, contrary to predictions perceived risk was found to not be a moderating variable of this relationship. This study provides a number of contributions to the literature around AI based chatbots and marketing literature. It offers academics as well as marketers a deeper understanding of the influences of AI based chatbots on long term loyalty among consumers. Additionally, by highlighting the lack of impact from perceived risk in this relationship, it has helped to reduce the burden of marketers to reassure consumers with regarding to potential risks related to AI based chatbots when implementing them within the organisation. Thus, the findings that have been presented in this study provide a variety of uses to managers, marketers and researchers in terms of practical engagement with consumers as well as future research directions.