تجزیه و تحلیل تجربی در مورد سوابق خدمات مستمر تجارت الکترونیکی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3382||2001||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Decision Support Systems, Volume 32, Issue 2, December 2001, Pages 201–214
This paper examines key drivers of consumers' intention to continue using business-to-consumer e-commerce services. Multiple theoretical perspectives are synthesized to hypothesize a model of continuance behavior, which is then empirically tested using a field survey of online brokerage (OLB) users. Salient results include: (1) consumers' continuance intention is determined by their satisfaction with initial service use, their perceived usefulness of service use, and the interaction between perceived usefulness and loyalty incentives for service use, and (2) satisfaction and perceived usefulness are both predicted by consumers' confirmation of expectations from initial service use. Implications of these findings for e-commerce firms contemplating customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives are discussed.
As the Internet continues to redefine the rules of doing business by eliminating transaction inefficiencies, reducing costs, and lowering barriers to entry, more and more online firms are turning to customer relationship management (CRM) as a means of ensuring their survival in the Internet economy. CRM is a new customer-centric business model that reorients firm operations around customer needs (as opposed to products, resources, or processes) in order to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention . Despite the fact the average investment in a CRM project is US$3.1 million and the expected payback period is 28 months, a recent survey of 300 large US firms found that 65% of responding firms demonstrated corporate awareness of CRM, 28% are currently planning or implementing CRM, and 12% have completed CRM implementation . A customer-centric orientation is important for e-commerce firms for several reasons. First, as the online marketplace becomes increasingly fragmented and competitors are just a mouse-click away, retaining a firm's customer base (in addition to attracting new ones) is critical for sustaining revenue base, profitability, and market share. Second, superior customer experience is a more effective and less replicable differentiation strategy in the online marketplace than the more common cost leadership strategy (which has already led to margin erosion, reduced profitability, and subsequent demise of many online firms). Third, satisfied customers are a less expensive and more effective advertising channel (via word-of-mouth) than the print or mass media, due to the greater believability associated with personal experiences. Fourth, customer retention provides additional revenue opportunities via cross-selling (selling new products or services to existing customers) or upselling (enhancing customers' use of existing products or services). Fifth, acquiring new customers may cost as much as five times compared to generating repeat business from existing customers, due to the costs of searching for new customers, setting up new accounts, and initiating new customers to firm services  and . As an example, a 5% increase in customer retention in the insurance industry typically translates into 18% reduction in operating costs . However, a recent survey of 10,000 Internet customers of 16 leading US firms (including American Express, Ford Motor Credit, Hewlett-Packard, Nextel Communications, and Proctor & Gamble) found that only 36% of the respondents were satisfied with their online interactions, over 50% required phone calls or other offline means to resolve their problem, and 42% waited more than 24 h before receive any acknowledgement of their contact with the firm . Such dissatisfaction often translates into lost customers and lost revenues. For instance, Carl  found that the number of subscription cancellations (discontinuance) for the top five internet service providers (ISP) in North America exceeded that of new subscriptions during certain months of 1995. In general, it appears that users of e-commerce services demonstrate little loyalty toward their service providers, forcing service firms to deploy loyalty programs (e.g., frequent flyer miles) to motivate customer retention. However, the efficacy of such programs has not yet been examined. Improving customer satisfaction and retention may be more challenging in the Internet economy than in the traditional economy. Customers today are more demanding than ever before, are more information empowered to make their own decisions, and want their needs met immediately, perfectly, and for free . Additionally, they have several online and offline options to choose from, and unless there is a compelling reason for choosing one particular firm over another, they tend to experiment or rotate purchases among multiple firms . The nature of online firms' interaction with customers is also transforming from traditional communication channels such as telephone and mail to electronic mail and web-based forms, from full-service to self-service, and from mass marketing to personalized marketing. It can therefore be expected that key drivers of customer satisfaction and retention in the Internet economy may be fundamentally different from that in the traditional economy. Until firms have a clear understanding of these drivers and implement a corresponding action plan, CRM programs initiated by these firms will only yield limited returns. This paper examines the key motivations underlying consumers' intention to continue using e-commerce services and associations between these variables. Based on a synthesis of consumer behavior, information systems (IS) use, and several other literatures, customers' continuance intention is theorized as a function of their satisfaction with the service, perceived usefulness of that service, and loyalty incentives intended to enhance continuance. Both satisfaction and perceived usefulness are hypothesized as being predicted by consumers' confirmation of sales, service, and marketing expectations. The hypothesized research model is then tested via a field survey of online brokerage users, and appropriate modifications to the initial model proposed. Results of the study offer unique insights for online firm managers on how to manage customer satisfaction and retention. The proposed model can help managers identify potential discontinuers before they actually discontinue, so that these individuals may then be targeted with corrective actions (e.g., incentives, training) to improve their chances of retention. It also contributes to the nascent body of work in CRM and the IS use literature by providing insights into salient relationships underlying post-acceptance decision processes. The paper proceeds as follows. Section 2 proposes a theoretical model of customer satisfaction and retention in the CRM context. Section 3 describes the field survey used for testing the above model. Section 4 presents the results of statistical data analysis, and proposes a modified model based on the observed results. Section 5 discusses the study's implications for research and practice. The final section outlines the study's limitations and attempts to overcome these limitations.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The goal of this paper was to identify the antecedents of consumers' continuance intentions from a CRM standpoint, and the interrelationships among these antecedents. Toward that goal, multiple theories from diverse referent disciplines were synthesized to propose a theoretical model of continuance intention (Fig. 1). A field survey of online brokerage (OLB) users validated much of the hypothesized model, and suggested additional modifications. Implications of these findings are discussed next. 5.1. Understanding continuance intention Results of the study supported the study's expectation that satisfaction and perceived usefulness are strong predictors of consumers' intention to continue B2C services. The satisfaction–intention link has previously been validated in consumer behavior research over a wide range of product and service contexts (e.g.,  and ); its revalidation in the B2C context further attests to the robustness of this association. Coupled with the intention–behavior association that has been validated extensively in the IS use literature (e.g., Refs. [9,28]), this finding suggests that satisfaction is an important (though indirect) predictor of continuance behavior.Consequently, B2C firms concerned with minimizing the effects of customer churn (discontinuance) and establishing a loyal customer base, must consciously seek to identify dissatisfied consumers and redress their dissatisfaction concerns before they actually discontinue. Minimizing churn is of utmost importance because: (1) churn reduces a firm's customer base and revenues, (2) negative word-of-mouth initiated by discontinuers is generally more persuasive than most positive influences and may trigger further discontinuance among other consumers, and (3) firms may incur substantial costs in winning back prior consumers lost to competitors . Customer satisfaction should therefore be a key business metric for B2C firms attempting to transform from being “customer-aware” to “customer-centered,” and should be consciously measured, monitored, and improved upon. This metric can be easily assessed using a short satisfaction scale similar to the one employed in this study.Perceived usefulness was identified in this study as a secondary determinant of continuance intention. Rationally speaking, service consumers would want to continue subscribing to a service only if they find it useful. Given the innovative and intangible nature of most B2C services, many consumers realize the potential benefits of a service only after using it. Even so, many consumers may not recognize all of the service's benefits due to limited prior experience with e-commerce services, fear of computers and the Internet, and other reasons. To ensure customer retention, the onus is on B2C service providers to “educate” their subscribers on the potential benefits of their service and how to realize such benefits. B2C business models that emphasize customer education/mentoring are likely to be more successful in customer retention than those than do not. Some B2C firms (e.g., Charles Schwab) are beginning to employ this strategy to build a “sticky” base of loyal customers. However, given the higher effect size of satisfaction compared to perceived usefulness in explaining continuance intentions, B2C firms having limited resources to deploy should focus first at improving consumers' satisfaction with their service and then on consumer education/mentoring programs.Loyalty incentives did not have any significant effect on continuance intention, but its interaction effect with perceived usefulness was significant. This suggests that incentive programs such as frequent flier miles, loyalty points, and cash-back plans are not universally effective customer retention strategies , but are effective only when consumers find the service useful. To maximize the effect of loyalty incentives, B2C e-commerce firms must not rely solely on these programs for improving consumer retention, but must exercise a judicious mix of consumer training/education and loyalty programs. Coupled with prior studies on the impact of loyalty programs on consumer switching behavior (e.g., Ref. ), the above finding calls for greater caution on the part of e-commerce firms in interpreting the effects of loyalty incentives and exercising its use in consumer settings. 5.2. Understanding associations between antecedent constructsConfirmation was a significant predictor of satisfaction and perceived usefulness in the proposed model. Hence, confirmation influences continuance intentions in two (indirect) ways: by influencing consumer satisfaction toward the service and by impacting consumers' perceptions of service usefulness. Confirmation is the rational decision process B2C service users go through prior to setting up an affect (satisfaction) and subsequent intentions. Though some of the affect could be beyond the control of B2C firms, firms can influence consumers' decision process (confirmation) by building appropriate levels of B2C expectations among consumers and being able to meet those expectations. Understanding the optimal level of consumer expectation is a complex and challenging task, since high expectation may lead to disconfirmation and low expectation (or low perceived usefulness) may reduce the motivation to continue using the service. Further, expectation can vary greatly across a population of consumers. A segmentation strategy may be useful, whereby B2C firms can segment their consumer base based on their service needs and capabilities and design separate marketing programs for each segment. Nevertheless, expectation management remains a crucial yet less understood aspects of B2C services.From a CRM perspective, confirmation was operationalized in this study in terms of sales, service, and marketing expectations. However, significant measurement problems were encountered during empirical analysis, due to dissociation of marketing confirmation from sales and service confirmation. Marketing confirmation relates to personalized, one-on-one, direct marketing by B2C firms based on customer preferences. Though this concept has significant relevance in the new Internet economy, it is unclear to what extent individual consumers are aware of such expectations, and hence, confirming these expectations is problematic. In contrast, consumers typically have more well-defined sales and service expectations, by virtue of their prior experience with traditional “brick-and-mortar” firms, and can more readily assess whether a B2C firm is meeting at least expectations typical of these traditional firms. Additional research is required to understand the underlying constituents of the confirmation construct and design appropriate scales to measure this construct.Finally, while consumer satisfaction is certainly a preferred outcome for most B2C firms, such satisfaction can only come at a cost. For instance, a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy may require remunerating dissatisfied adopters with partial or full refund, providing additional service at no cost, and even additional manpower costs in accepting, verifying, and resolving adopter dissatisfaction. B2C firms also need to understand whether such costs are justified in lieu of retaining a dissatisfied consumer's business. This requires mining historical data on consumers' preferences, expectations, and service use, and is the topic of a new segment of CRM application called “customer profitability analysis” . Also, there is no assurance that dissatisfied consumers will return once their reason for dissatisfaction is resolved. These issues, though perplexing, suggest interesting opportunities for future research.