Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Factors Influencing Live Customer Support Chat Services: An Empirical Investigation in Kuwait

Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Factors Influencing Live Customer Support Chat Services: An Empirical Investigation in Kuwait

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Recent research reveals that online customers are increasingly driven by a need for social interaction, in addition to instrumental goals [17]. According to [57] Internet has become an important media for businesses to communicate with their customers. With the advancement of technology and high speed of Internet, web vendors can provide different channels for the customers to communicate live with their sales representatives via Internet in an e-business environment. The increased use of these online sales representatives on websites is the obvious evidence of how important to provide the quality support for customers.

In a study by [8], a model of influence in social networks was shown to have change in consumer behavior patterns using an agent based interaction. According to [19] Blogging has become part of a consumer's decision making process when shopping online. A survey involving 327 blog readers as participants was analyzed in the empirical study to investigate whether the usefulness of bloggers' recommendations and trusting beliefs toward blogger had influence on consumers' attitudes and behavioral intentions toward online shopping. The results indicated that perceived usefulness of bloggers' recommendations and trust had significant influential effect on blog users' attitude towards and intention to shop online Another study by [73] indicated that store layout design has significant impacts on emotional arousal and attitude toward the website, and thus has a positive influence on purchase intention In addition, atmosphere has a more influential effect on emotional arousal than store layout design In response to this emerging picture of online customer preference, many companies have implemented Live Customer Support Chat (LSC), which is a type of service that is newly implemented at some E-commerce web sites that bypasses traditional customer service types such as telephones and e-mails factors examining LSC in non-western context. On their Web sites to supplement automated transactions. Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet which offers an instantaneous transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver [6]. Online chat may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. Thus, the flow of communication is not hampered by delays. In [62] observation was made that service agents could handle at least three chat sessions simultaneously without significant increase in average chat duration. Other studies indicated that commercial live chat systems allow service agents to multi-task ten or more chat sessions. This feature is promoted by LSC vendors as a unique strength of live chat systems to maximize service productivity [32].

Although early attempts to implement LSC existed a few years ago in a limited number of websites, the wide spread and actual use of this technology has grown exceptionally only in the past 2 years to reflect a new paradigm in online customer service in e-commerce websites. LSC just recently became a new standard of service that online customers demand and expect while shopping or doing business online. According to [48] "To date, there has not been any published research that has set out to identify and integrate the collected empirical research findings on chat reference since its inception".

The use of LSC has grown significantly in recent years. LSC is viewed as a cost-effective way to reduce purchasing risk through increasing social interaction. It has also been regarded as a good method to respond to consumer questions, and to personalize the shopping experience. There is also evidence demonstrating that this customer service solution improves the online shopping experience, reduces perceived purchase risk and reduces purchase abandonment rates. [3], [6], [28], [33], [42], [50]. In fact, major U.S. banks, such as bank of America and Citibank, have all incorporated types LSC to optimize operations. …

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