Artificial empathy in marketing interactions: bridging the human-AI gap in affective and social customer experience

Yuping Liu-Thompkins*, Shintaro Okazaki, Hairong Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to transform firm-customer interactions. However, current AI marketing agents are often perceived as cold and uncaring and can be poor substitutes for human-based interactions. Addressing this issue, this article argues that artificial empathy needs to become an important design consideration in the next generation of AI marketing applications. Drawing from research in diverse disciplines, we develop a systematic framework for integrating artificial empathy into AI-enabled marketing interactions. We elaborate on the key components of artificial empathy and how each component can be implemented in AI marketing agents. We further explicate and test how artificial empathy generates value for both customers and firms by bridging the AI-human gap in affective and social customer experience. Recognizing that artificial empathy may not always be desirable or relevant, we identify the requirements for artificial empathy to create value and deduce situations where it is unnecessary and, in some cases, harmful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1218
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the academy of marketing science
Volume50
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Artificial empathy · Artificial intelligence · Perspective taking · Empathic concern · Emotion mimicry · Customer experience

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