Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

An Integrative Approach to Understanding Customer Satisfaction with E-Service of Online Stores

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

An Integrative Approach to Understanding Customer Satisfaction with E-Service of Online Stores

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The global competition for e-business is growing in intensity and eroding profit margins so an e-business needs to learn how to differentiate itself from its rivals if it is going to create and sustain competitive advantages. E-service quality has become an important differentiator for e-business success because it is the extent to which an e-business service provider effectively and efficiently manages customer interactions and meets their expectations [Madu and Madu, 2002]. However, measuring e-service quality is a challenge to thee-business because it involves a wide range of attributes including reliability, access, responsiveness, empathy, assurance, ease of navigation, etc. [Kim, Kim, and Lennon, 2006]. The successful delivery of these important features can ultimately lead to customer satisfaction. Therefore, although the methods to effectively measure e-service quality vary with products increasing customer satisfaction is an important goal towards achieving e-business success.

Previous research has proposed many avenues to learn how customer satisfaction can be more effectively improved. One way is to foster a consumer's perceived trustworthiness of Web merchants [Belanger, Hiller and Smith, 2002; Keeny, 1999]. Website design can also influence the perceptions of customers about e-service quality [Liang and Lai, 2002]. Search engine optimization is another quality critical to the increase of customer satisfaction [Otim and Grover, 2006].The cultivation of a shopping environment favoring the convenience element is conducive to the acquisition of new customers [Torkzadeh and Dhillon, 2002]. Still other avenues focus on improving system and information quality [Hung, Chen, Hung, and Ho, 2013; Chen and Holsapple, 2013; DeLone and McLean, 2003], as well as by avoiding information asymmetry [Pavlou, Liang, and Xue, 2007]. Although there is abundant research examining the growing complexity of customer satisfaction with online services, most of it has adopted a simplified view of examining the effect of individual factors on customer satisfaction, such as risks, shopping experience, service quality, trust, website design and product characteristics. An integrative framework to examine e-business operations from multiple perspectives is missing from the previous study. Such a framework can enable a clearer understanding of the big picture of e-service quality [Collier and Bienstock, 2006]. In order to provide an integrative view of e-business success, this study adopts service science theories [Maglio et al., 2006] to examine e-service quality from consumer, business and technical perspectives. Individual customer's satisfaction with online stores is used as a surrogate measure.

Service science theories assert that the interdisciplinary approach of examining both technical and non- technical factors is effective in understanding the complexity of Internet services [Cardoso, Voigt, and Winkler, 2009]. Online stores are striving to increase customer satisfaction with their services but the presence of technical factors (e.g. website design) alone does not render customer satisfaction [Kaynama and Black, 2000]. Consumer and business factors also need to be considered [Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Malhotra, 2002]. In the Business to Consumer (B2C) environment, a customer's perceived online shopping attitude, perceived risks, innovativeness, impulse purchasing and perceived convenience are important consumer characteristics [Donthu and Gilliand, 1996]. An increasing number of stores are capitalizing on social media to engage customers and increase their satisfaction via word-of-mouth communication [Zhang and Daugherty, 2009]. The marketing factor of word-of-mouth communication is growing in importance for B2C business. Technical factors, including information, system, and the service quality of online store sites, are fundamental to the successful delivery of e-services. As comparison shopping becomes the norm, customers are purchasing at both the target store and competitors', therefore, it is important to assess the possible effect of these three determinants. …

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