The Robo Bias in Conversational Reviews: How the Solicitation Medium Anthropomorphism affects Product Rating Valence and Review Helpfulness

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Abstract

Companies are increasingly introducing conversational reviews—reviews solicited via chatbots—to gain customer feedback. However, little is known about how chatbot-mediated solicitation influences rating valence and review helpfulness compared to conventional online forms. Therefore, we conceptualized these review solicitation media on the continuum of anthropomorphism and investigated how various levels of anthropomorphism affect rating valence and review helpfulness, showing that more anthropomorphic media lead to more positive and less helpful reviews. We found that moderate levels of anthropomorphism lead to increased interaction enjoyment, and high levels increase social presence, thus inflating the rating valence and decreasing review helpfulness. Further, the effect of anthropomorphism remains robust across review solicitors’ salience (sellers vs. platforms) and expressed emotionality in conversations. Our study is among the first to investigate chatbots as a new form of technology to solicit online reviews, providing insights to inform various stakeholders of the advantages, drawbacks, and potential ethical concerns of anthropomorphic technology in customer feedback solicitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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  • RSM LIS

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