Gounaris, S., Dimitriadis, S., Stathakopoulos, V. (2010), “An examination of the effects of service quality and satisfaction on customers’ behavioral intentions in e-shopping”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24, pp.142 – 156.
This is a research experiment paper and its purpose is to examine the effects of service quality and satisfaction on three consumer behavioral intentions, such as word-of-mouth (WOM), site visit, and purchase intentions regarding e-shopping. The authors asked two main questions, if (1) e-service quality had a positive on e-satisfaction, and (2) if e-service quality had a positive (a) direct effect and (b) indirect effect through e-satisfaction on consumers’ behavioral intentions, expressed in terms of WOM, site visit and purchase intentions. These questions were relevant in helping understand how consumers perceive and react to e-companies’ offerings, by constructing a model that exams the existence of more complex relationships among service quality, satisfaction and behavioral intentions. The research was done through a quantitative method, with 240 online interviews from a random e-buyers sample from the lead Internet provider in Greece. The main data was analyzed and compared with three competing models using structural equations modeling. After explaining in the literature review the homogeneous and disparate conclusions, regarding how to measure e-service quality aspects, the authors then based on the WEBQUAL scale and in another 6 newest research for the psychometrics attributes, which came as: user friendliness, information, adaptation and aesthetics. The best model shows that e-service quality has indeed a positive effect on e-satisfaction and also influences directly and indirectly [through e-satisfaction] the consumer’s behavioral intentions. These results confirm that cognitive evaluations come before emotional responses and that the quality is an import antecedent of satisfaction. Nonetheless, these findings reveal the relevance of the interaction experience with the e-shop on perceived quality. Additionally, it reinforces the crucial impact of the four key e-service quality drivers in the entire cycle of buying, including post purchase behavior.
In my opinion this was a solid article in general because the dimensions used to measure the variables were consistent when compared to the best literature available in the field. However, the weakest point comes from the single source of the data collection procedure because people’s previous experience with e-commerce may impact the perception of e-quality and e-satisfaction. Also, to be able to generalize the results, this model proposed needs a replication across cultures, and specific niches of service’s context or types of products. Unfortunately the paper also is too careful to recommend specific directions for marketeers because generalizations cannot be made. Interestingly, however, is how the e-service quality can be brought to the real world and should be reinforced, since capturing new costumers and brand awareness for new companies is essential. Through WOM activities from satisfied customers, customization possibilities, easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate websites, and uncluttered, fast and accurate information managers can build a sustainable competitive advantage among the e-environment. The article is well-structured, easy to read but is also different because it is supported by a combination of vast, old, plus a relatively new literature. It is memorable since it demonstrates the relevance of triggering consumer’s positive reaction through reinforcing e-service quality.
Palmer, A. (2010) “Customer experience management: a critical review of an emerging idea”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24, pp.196 – 208.
This papers objective is to deal critically with the conceptual validity of customer experience as a construct. Therefore, it proposes a model that integrates inter-personal relationships, service quality and brands. An analytical review of literature is structured over the key elements, from a consumer’s perspective, of brands, relationships, quality, emotions and perceptions. The term ‘customer experience’ has received increasing attention from the academic world as well as the business environment. The term is hard to be conceptualized and measured, has been widely used in despite of its’ ambiguity, and been treated as hype phenomenon that could have a short life. As the author successfully summarizes: “As a verb, experience describes a process of learning, leading to learned response, but as a noun emphasises novelty and the lack of predictable, learned response”. Additionally, ‘customer experience’ overcomes obstacles such as static, partial measures of service quality when it incorporates emotions and perceptual distortion over time. However, there are still aspects over this term that needs further study, therefore, the qualitative approach is recommended rather then the quantitative due the multi-dimensional, situation specific nature of the expression. The specificity within the nature of ‘customer experience’ causes trouble when it comes to planning and control purposes, because the time, location and context that the event took place is impossible to be standardized. Accordingly to the author, regardless of how odd it sounds, companies have shared the idea that customer experience management (CEM) is a successor to customer relationship management (CRM).
This was by far one of the hardest papers I have ever read. The fact that every aspect involved in the new framework proposed was analyzed deeply and through an extended literature review made me sometimes more confused than secure about my previous marketing/consumer behavior knowledge. Moreover, the lack of tangibility regarding the themes exposed throughout the construction of ‘consumer experience’ brings challenge and a little of fresh air to the complex management realm. Although the article notes limitations and future research areas, the main weakness I perceive is that it wrongly asserts that CRM is dead. Information technology perhaps may be part of the CEM after the qualitative part takes over and also in a complementary way, because as the author says, “…a robust measurement scale for costumer experience must be recognized”. He points out a solution in such vague way that made me want to find a reason not to take his recommendation into account, and simply forget it (“However, issues of inter-functional integration become an even greater challenge.”). Again this will be forever a memorable article to me because once I developed a CRM for a company and I had trouble to find ways measuring some things described in the article, such as: branding concepts, sequencing issues and interpersonal relationship between employees and costumers. The best way to describe this study is a citation from Rene Descartes: “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
Francis, J.E. (2009) “Category-specific RECIPEs for internet retailing quality”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 23, pp.450 – 461.
This paper is a field research that reveals the emergency of stabilizing the dimensions of quality across different types of Internet retailing, because “one-size-fits-all” scale does not gather the complex managerial data required. This study aims to identify the four distinct categories of Internet retailing so it could develop a separate quality measurement scale for each category. The four categories are: offline goods, offline services, online goods and online services. Additionally, it enabled the comparison of quality’s dimensions from each context. The methodology used was quantitative through a new measurement scale called RECIPE for each fulfillment-product type of e-retailing. The data was collected from 1,262 experienced e-shoppers and all the necessary procedures to validate the new scale were done in the paper, such as: performing a cross-category review of the refined quality dimensions. The main findings are extended, but yet interesting. The dimensions of quality associated with selecting, paying for and obtaining products vary according to the type of product that is purchased (goods versus services) and the fulfilment method (offline versus electronic). For offline goods the dimension with the strongest influence on customer intentions is “exchange”; for offline services it is “reservation/purchase”; for electronic goods it is “product details”; and for electronic-services is “online services”. However, all four categories have the quality dimensions of customer service and security. The security dimension is always identical and includes items about credit card safety and personal details. The customer service has also common set of criteria that link to the process and outcome of contacting a firm’s customer support services, like the ease of contacting the firm or the speed and helpfulness of the response.
In my view this was a strong article because it brought a new measurement scale to the e-marketing regarding service quality. This is a business field that integrates the physical world and also shapes the image of some types of retailing; so, understanding this universe is the best way to provide a service quality with a competitive advantage. Also, this is the first study that separates this field into different categories, which in my view was also paramount to be sophisticated, but yet simple and credible. The paper was well structured and also supports the idea that a new measurement scale for Internet was necessary; for example, when it explains the accuracy and reliability of PIRQUAL, E-S-QUAL and eTailQ are low. The weakest point about this scale is if is compared to the previous article by Stathakopoulos et al (2010), that used WEBQUAL and six new psychometrics attributes, we can realize that this paper fails because it does not evaluate the emotions and physical perceptions from consumers. Nevertheless, the managerial implications, research limitations and implications are very much described and analyzed, and even based on strong literature review in these three areas. So the approach of quality rather then emotion-based view was supported by the focus on reflective rather formative indicators. This study was very important to me because I could have deeper insights about my favourite business environment: the online one.
Alison M. Dean, Al Rainnie, (2009) “Frontline employees’ views on organizational factors that affect the delivery of service quality in call centers”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 23, pp.326 – 337
This paper is a research experiment that investigates employees’ views on the organizational factors that assists their ability to manage the call center environment and simultaneously deliver high levels of service quality. Hence, the questions aimed to answer were: (a) what organizational factors affect the delivery of service quality in call centers? (b) what helps you [employee] to deliver high quality service to customers? (c) what hinders you [employee] from delivering high quality service to customers? (d) do your productivity targets make it difficult for you [employee] to deliver service quality to customers? (e) how do you [employee] manage this conflict? The quantitative methodology was done over ten focus groups of 58 frontline workers from the telecommunications call center in Australia, over a two-week period by two researches. Then a quantitative parte brought nine major themes, which were identified from 36 topics. Some of these themes are evident in theory cited from service quality gaps, service climate, and service profit chain literature. Other themes consist of whether managers emphasize service quality, rather than sales or efficiency; approaches to performance monitoring and feedback, role and productivity demands, quality assurance regimes, and employees’ experiences of service encounter stress. These teams do not align neatly with the questions purposed in the discussions since most of the themes apply to more then one of the questions, and many of them had opposite answers depending on the worker perspective and circumstance. Therefore, the authors included in the proposed model employees’ skills and aptitudes because they were mentioned frequently in affecting their ability to deliver service quality.
Personally I see this article to be sometimes confusing and not very well articulated. Although through regular explanations the reader can understand the point the author is trying to get across. It was an important reading to me because it showed the infinite factors that interacts and influences the service quality in a job that is a mix of sales and costumer service. The author has a vast experience in the fields of work, employment, regional and community development, so that explains the complexity of the analysis done in this study. This is a very interesting paper to me because I can relate to my previous work experience and is the first I read about call centers. Nevertheless, I found that one critical point on the practical implication was not explained and left me disappointed: which systems should be institutionalized to reduce employee stress? Moreover, the weakest point was the possible bias due the method applied and the data collection, since the participants may have shared tacit assumptions and the researches could have used different codes for such subjective themes. Also, the financial motivation was not included as an important motivation, what in my opinion could have some decisive interaction with the service quality provided. In overall, the practical tips were tangible and elucidated the need to rethink manager’s regular approaches to productivity, hiring and performance management, and also support the “right” service staff.
Carlson, J., O’Cass, A. (2010) “Exploring the relationships between e-service quality, satisfaction, attitudes and behaviours in content-driven e-service web sites”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24, pp.112 – 127
This article is also a research experiment that focus to develop a conceptual model that examines the relationships among e-service quality, consumer satisfaction, attitudes towards the web site and behavioural intentions in the context of content-driven web sites. The questions are six, the first section is: Does perceive e-service quality has a significant positive influence on consumers’ (1) satisfaction evaluations?, (2) attitude towards the web site?, (3) and behavioural intentions? The next section is: Does consumers’ evaluations of satisfaction with a web site have a significant positive influence on (4) attitudes toward the web site?, (5) behavioural intentions? The third last section is: (6) Does consumers’ attitudes toward a web site will have a significant influence on behavioural intentions related to the web site? The data was from an online quantitative survey of 518 consumers in Australia collected with PLS, partial least squares, which is a structural equation modelling technique to test the model. Postgraduate students in relevant and interrelated subjects plus, members of a professional sports organization composed the sample. The WEBQUAL scale was used to measure e-service quality as the previous article. The findings suggest that positive evaluations of e-service quality influences positive levels of consumer satisfaction, consumer attitudes towards the web site and behavioural intentions within the specific service for professional sports web sites. This article empirically supports and proposes the idea that e-service quality influences consumer attitudes as well as consumer satisfaction and behavioural intentions in the context of content-driven web sites. Additionally, it provides a useful framework to manage the content-driven e-services and the issues of e-service quality. Their main findings replicate the e-retail previous studies as well as it goes along with the traditional consumer behaviour literature, that points that attitude influence behaviours.
This is a much strong article if compared to the first article from Stathakopoulos et al. (2010), because of the richness of the database sampling, the extra relationships among different variables, as well as the deepness of the measurement applied to the theoretical model. Surprisingly its findings are different from the first paper, because it sees satisfaction as a result of quality. Moreover, it goes further: shows that e-service quality also influences attitude, which also influences behavioural intentions. However, the strong background compounded in previous research does not challenges the reader since it is not creative, instead, replicates almost identical findings for e-retailer’s articles. The paper fails to point that another limitation may have twisted their conclusion regarding positive behavioural intentions: they did the survey on people’s that are already affectionate for the professional sports time and are unlikely to switch their “time of heart” and go migrate to another website. For example, if the Madrid Football Time only sells their official goods in one website, the passionate cheer could eventually not buy them, but not switch the source since it is not possible. But in the conclusions they point the opposite, that consumers would switch to a competitor’s e-service offering. Mainly the conclusions are supported by the authors’ findings and are legitimated by a robust consumer’s evaluations across the different samples. The limitations and future research are predictable, as the paper as a whole.
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