Empathic voice assistants: Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants (VAs) are transforming firm-customer interactions but often come across as lacking empathy. [Pixabay]
Empathic voice assistants: Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants (VAs) are transforming firm-customer interactions but often come across as lacking empathy. [Pixabay]

Empathic voice assistants: Enhancing consumer responses in voice commerce

Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants (VAs) are transforming firm-customer interactions but often come across as lacking empathy.

Empathic voice assistants: Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants (VAs) are transforming firm-customer interactions but often come across as lacking empathy. This challenge may cause business managers to question the overall effectiveness of VAs in shopping contexts.

Recognizing empathy as a core design element in the next generation of VAs and the limits of scenario-based studies in voice commerce, this article investigates how empathy exhibited by an existing AI agent (Alexa) may alter consumer shopping responses. AI empathy moderates the original structural model bridging functional, relational, and social-emotional dimensions.

Findings of an individual-session online experiment show higher intentions to delegate tasks, seek decision assistance, and trust recommendations from AI agents perceived as empathic. In contrast to individual shoppers, families respond better to functional VA attributes such as ease of use when AI empathy is present.

The results contribute to the literature on AI empathy and conversational commerce while informing managerial AI design decisions. Newswise/SP

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