Services quality dimensions of Internet retailing: an exploratory analysis Zhilin Yang, Robin T. Peterson, Shaohan Cai Presented by Jeff Weaver Objective • Explore, in depth, the underlying primary drivers of Internet-based purchasing service quality. Previous Work • (Hof et al., 1998) – powerful search engines and possibilities for instant price comparisons on the Web force online suppliers to assess competitive prices and provide high product quality as absolute necessities. • (Peterson et al., 1997) – Managers can employ their Web sites as of information sources and channels for customer service, including help and order status features, even when physical stores serve as the primary channel employed to generate good customer relationship. Online consumer behaviors are not fully understood. • (Oliva, 1997) – The Internet is a relatively new and unpredictable channel. Previous work (cont.) • (Parasuraman et al., 1985) – Ten dimensions: tangibles; reliability; responsiveness; communication; credibility; security; competence; courtesy; understanding the customer; and access. • (Parasuraman et al., 1988) - Perceived service quality has been defined as a global judgment or attitude relating to the superiority of a given service. Ten dimensions to five: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy (SERVQUAL). • (Hedvall and Paltschick 1989) – two innovative dimensions: “willingness and ability to serve” ; and “physical and psychological access”. • (Dabholkar et al. 1996) – five dimensions: physical aspects; reliability; personal interaction; problem solving; and policy. Previous work (cont..) • (Siu and Cheung 2001) – six dimensions: personal interaction; policy; physical appearance; promise; problem solving; and convenience. • (Mehta et al. 2000) – applied both SERVQUAL and Dabholkar (five-dimension model) to two different settings: service-intensive retailing; and goods-intensive retailing. *Note: S.Q. dimensions tend to be contingent on different industries and various service types even within one industry. • (Hoffman and Novak 1997) – personalization to conceptualize the Internet as a unique consumer marketplace. Previous work (cont…) • (Cox and Dale 2001) – Traditional service quality dimensions and their contents are still applicable to Internet-based services. Traditional S.Q. dimensions such as accessibility, communication, creditability, understanding, appearance, and availability. • (Zeithaml et al. 2001) – 13 e-service quality dimensions: reliability, responsibility, access, flexibility, ease of navigation, efficiency, assurance/trust, security, price knowledge, site aesthetics, and customization/personalization. • (Yang et al. 2001) – 10 quality dimensions which were sorted into three categories: product cost and availability; customer service; and online information systems. Previous work (cont….) • (Doll and Torkzadeh 1988) – “end-user”. 12 scale items that gauge five quality dimensions influencing end-user satisfaction: content, accuracy, format, ease of use, and timeliness. (Doll et al.,1994) – confirmed scale’s validity • (Rice 1997) – Users to revisit to the Web Site, most important variables were design features, such as content, layout, ease of locating information, ease of navigation, and emotional experience (such as enjoyment and excitement). • (Balfour et al. 1998) – transaction security and personal information privacy desires. • (Dellaert and Kahn 1999) – download waiting time negatively affected consumers’ (Web site’s performance) Previous work (cont…..) • (Liu and Arnett 2000) – identified information quality, system use, and system design quality as major inputs for the success of Web sites. • (Johnston 1995) – dissatisfaction and satisfaction (Johnston 1997) – classified all dimensions into satisfied, dissatisfied, and dual factors. • (Mittal et al. 1998) – “Asymmetric effect”. Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. • (Ford et al. 1997, p. 79) – consumer complaints and compliments have long been employed as sources of feedback on company performance. • (Cadotte and Turgeon 1988) – online customer contribute time and effort in post-use evaluation process are salient attribute of their shopping experiences. Methodology • Reviewed ten most prominent online review Web sites; three selection criteria were established. • Ten of the most influential online health product companies were selected for study. • The authors accessed the two sites (Gomez and Ratingwonders) which fully met the requirements, from November 1-10, 2000, to secure anecdotes. • 2,105 individual consumer comments obtained. Reduced to 1,078 useful consumer anecdotes. 65 words was average length for anecdotes. • All anecdotes were numbered, formatted, and imported to Ethonograph 5.0 (coding qualitative data). • Two categories: satisfied (positive performance) and dissatisfied (negative performance) attributes (Fig. 1) Figure 1 Results • This study identified a total of 14 dimensions of service quality and 42 salient sub-dimensions in Internet retailing (see Table I). We present and discuss key identified service quality dimensions and those unique to the Internet setting. Additionally, drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction are also examined. Table 1 Key service quality dimensions • Of 14 service quality dimensions, the eight most frequently mentioned quality dimensions constitute 89.9 per cent of all mentions while the remaining six factors only embrace 10.1 per cent. These eight dimensions are: responsiveness (30.3 per cent of all mentions); credibility (16.0 per cent); ease of use; (12.4 per cent); reliability (11.4 per cent); convenience (6.1 per cent); communication (5.2 per cent); access (4.6 per cent); and competence (3.9 per cent). E-mail Inquiries • Numerous online customers utilize e-mail as an important channel to communicate with the online company. A quick and responsive e-mail service is a distinct and important feature for both the access and the responsiveness dimensions. • One customer described his/her satisfaction with prompt e-mail reply: “I sent them an e-mail requesting status on the diapers and was told that they were backordered and would be shipped within two weeks. Well I did receive them and it only took five days. Great service. They even responded to my e-mail the next day. Will definitely order from them again.” • *Note: Customer satisfaction = Perceptions - Expectations Quality Dimensions • Convenience; continuous improvement; collaboration; security and privacy; and aesthetics. Note: Were not included by the ten dimensions proposed by Parasuraman and five dimension model of end-user computing satisfaction proposed by Doll and Torkzadeh Satisfied/Dissatisfied Categories • The five most frequently mentioned for the satisfied categories are responsiveness (30.7 per cent of all mentions), credibility (18.4 per cent), ease of use (12.6 per cent), reliability (8.5 per cent), and convenience (8.0 per cent). These five dimensions represented 78.2 per cent of all mentions, while the remaining 12 dimensions only registered 21.8 per cent. • For the dissatisfied group, “responsiveness” is also the most influential source (29.4 per cent), followed by reliability (18.6 per cent), ease of use (12.0 per cent), credibility (9.9 per cent), and competence (6.8 per cent). These five factors account for 76.7 per cent of all mentions. Conclusion • Listening to the voices of their customers is the initial step in planning service quality improvement endeavors. In turn, the identification of customers’ expectations related to Internet purchasing provides a frame of reference for online companies to assess their overall service quality. Once this preliminary activity has been satisfactorily completed, full-fledged improvement efforts can be initiated. • Ideally, management should grant attention to the full spectrum of 14 dimensions identified in this study. However, given resource constraints faced by most firms, management may elect to focus on the key dimensions of responsiveness, credibility, ease of use, reliability, convenience and access. These particular dimensions are likely to yield a higher degree of satisfaction that than other dimensions Conclusion (cont.) • As such, prompt response to customer concerns and inquiries, and interactive communication are critical in order that consumers might reap the convenience of online shopping. • Equally important, companies should deliver promised services with high degrees of accountability and accuracy. • Finally, the trustworthiness and believability of an online retailer can only be generated through reliable and prompt services. Limitations • The possibility of obtaining biased results from self- selected samples of Internet consumers might be higher than is desirable. • Second, consumer compliments and complaints generally reflect extreme dissatisfaction or satisfaction, but may not identify neutral factors (Johnston, 1995). Suggestions for future studies • Future studies may attempt to compensate for the weaknesses of content analysis of compliments and complaints. • Other measurement methods, such as mail surveys or focus group interviews, can be utilized to access the validity of the identified dimensions. Then, those validated quality dimensions can be purified by employing confirmatory factor analysis. After mutually exclusive dimensions are identified, the relationship between service quality dimensions, and overall Internet purchasing service quality and customer satisfaction can be ascertained more comprehensively.