Research Papers

Abstract

Robo-advisors promise to offer professional financial advice to private households at low cost. However, the automation of financial advisory processes to fully-digitalized services often goes hand in hand with a loss of human contact and lack of trust. Especially in an investment context, customers demand a human involved to ensure the trustworthiness of digitalized financial services. In this paper, we report the findings of a lab experiment (N=183) investigating how different levels of anthropomorphic design of a robo-advisor chatbot might compensate for the lack of human involvement and positively affect users’ trusting beliefs and likeliness to follow its recommendations. We found that the anthropomorphic design influences users’ perceived social presence of the chatbot. While trusting beliefs in the chatbot enhance users’ likeliness to follow the recommendation by the chatbot, we do not find evidence for a direct effect of social presence on likeliness to follow its recommendation. However, social presence has a positive indirect effect on likeliness to follow the recommendation via trusting beliefs. Our research contributes to the body of knowledge on the design of robo-advisors and provides more insight into the factors that influence users’ investment decisions when interacting with a roboadvisor chatbot.

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