Editor’s note: Polat Goktas is Marie-Curie Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science and Ireland’s Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence (CeADAR), University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. Goktas can be reached at polat.goktas@ucd.ie. Taskin Dirsehan is professor of marketing at the Faculty of Business Administration, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey. He is a guest researcher at Erasmus University's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Netherlands. Dirsehan can be reached at taskindirsehan@gmail.com.  

The customer service and sales sectors are undergoing a transformation, led by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, particularly in the realm of conversational AI. Pioneering platforms, such as Air.ai, are settings a new benchmark in how we interact with AI in customer service. The tool, in its beta testing phase at the time of this writing, aims to conduct conversations that closely mimic human interaction. It is engineered to understand, respond to and learn from each customer engagement. This makes for a more personalized and user-focused experience, going beyond the limitations of traditional scripted responses. Such advancements have caught the attention of the business world; over 100,000 companies have already signed up to be part of Air.ai's beta testing. 

However, while this technology promises to redefine customer service, it presents challenges and considerations, especially relevant to marketing research. These include concerns about data privacy, potential algorithm biases and the customer's perception of AI interactions. Guided by insights from Marketing Science Institute (MSI)'s 2022-2024 Research Priorities, this article explores these dimensions in greater depth, focusing on the transformative impact of conversational AI in customer service through the lens of marketing research.

Before diving in, let’s first understand the topic: Th...