تجارب رستوران ها تحریک انگیزش های الکترونیکی مثبت دهان به دهان (eWOM)
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4989||2011||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 30, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 356–366
This study empirically examined which restaurant experiences trigger customers to engage in positive electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), where the quality of restaurant service (food quality, service quality, atmosphere, and price fairness) is the antecedent of eWOM communication. The results of this study suggest that (1) restaurants’ food quality positively influences customers to spread positive eWOM, motivated by their desire to help the restaurant; (2) satisfactory restaurant experiences with service employees triggered positive eWOM, motivated by the need to help the restaurant or to express positive feelings; (3) a superior atmosphere in restaurants elicited positive eWOM motivated by a concern for others; and (4) price fairness in restaurants did not drive restaurant customers toward eWOM. Additionally, this study investigated sources of positive eWOM and types of eWOM media used among opinion leaders in the restaurant industry to enhance the practical implications of the study regarding online marketing. Because of the small number of opinion leaders in the study sample, specifying who the opinion leaders were (the source of eWOM) and the type of eWOM media the opinion leaders used had no effect. Further discussion and implications are provided in the text.
Word-of-Mouth (WOM), informal communication between consumers over particular products or services, is considered one of the most important sources of information at the point of purchase because WOM has a powerful impact on customers’ actions (Litvin et al., 2008). With the advancement of Internet technologies, World Wide Web-based WOM (eWOM or electronic word-of-mouth) has become widely available. Today, customers are able to publish their thoughts, opinions, and feelings about products and services online either by directly emailing the organization concerned or by writing on blogs (Schinler and Bickart, 2005). Thus, eWOM extends customers’ choices for gathering information about products and services from other customers. In other words, the electronic environment serves as an innovative venue for gathering reliable information. Unlike traditional WOM, eWOM spreads more widely and rapidly due to eWOM's unique characteristics. In particular, eWOM is directed at multiple individuals, is anonymous and is available at any time (Litvin et al., 2008). Consequently, the potential impact of eWOM on customers’ decision-making processes can be more powerful than the impact of traditional WOM. As the importance of eWOM increases, understanding customers’ eWOM behavior has become more useful to managers, especially marketing professionals. To investigate the specifics of eWOM behaviors, researchers studying online consumer psychology have focused on how eWOM influences customers’ decision-making processes. However, fundamental and essential studies regarding who spreads eWOM and what media they use have not yet been undertaken. Further, researchers have not yet studied customers’ motivations for disseminating eWOM feedback online, even though understanding these motivations could enhance managers’ and corporate decision-makers’ ability to encourage eWOM. Therefore, this eWOM study intended to explore who writes and disseminates eWOM, what type of eWOM media is used, why customers decided to engage in eWOM and what motivates customers to do so. According to a study on consumer behavior, consumption experiences produce influences that act as powerful sources of human motivation (Westbrook, 1987). Sundaram et al. (1998) suggested that consumption experience and motivation are closely related in the process of WOM transmission. In particular, consumers’ underlying motivations to engage in WOM differ depending upon the nature of the consumption experience. In essence, WOM and eWOM have significant conceptual similarities in terms of interpersonal influence (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004); therefore, the idea that different motivations for WOM can be generated from different consumption experiences is applicable when investigating eWOM communication motivations as well. The impact of eWOM in the hospitality industry is especially strong. Intangibles such as restaurant services cannot be evaluated before the consumption experience; therefore, purchasing intangible products and services brings a higher risk, so customers are more dependent on the interpersonal influence of eWOM (Lewis and Chambers, 2000). Despite the significant impact of eWOM in hospitality-related industries, especially in the restaurant segment, little research has been done to investigate eWOM in this field. Moreover, there has been no study devoted to identifying who engages in eWOM and with what type of media, and no study has investigated what drives restaurant customers to use eWOM to communicate about their restaurant experiences with others. Understanding the motivation for positive eWOM communication is especially important for business owners because positive eWOM communication may increase customers’ intent to purchase. According to a study done by Dichter (1966), positive WOM is likely to increase customers’ purchase intentions for new products because it reduces the risks involved in the purchase. Another study showed that positive WOM can help create a favorable image of the company and its brand and can eventually reduce promotional expenditures (Arndt, 1967 and Sundaram et al., 1998). Moreover, the unique characteristics of eWOM communication may leverage the power of positive eWOM to influence customers’ decision-making processes. Understanding what motivates customers to spread positive eWOM may enhance the ability of managers to restructure their restaurants in a more customer-oriented way in order to elicit eWOM and, as a result, increase customer visits. Finally, identifying the sources of positive eWOM in the restaurant industry would be helpful for restaurant managers who want to direct their promotional efforts more efficiently. Through opinion leaders who initiate eWOM, restaurant managers are empowered to disseminate an image of the restaurant to potential clients. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to: (1) propose a theoretical model that focuses on the relationships between restaurant experience and the motivation to engage in positive eWOM; (2) empirically examine which restaurant experiences trigger customers to engage in positive eWOM; and (3) investigate the sources of positive eWOM and the types of eWOM media used among opinion leaders in the restaurant industry.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The impact of eWOM on customers’ decision-making is important, especially in the hospitality industry. When restaurant customers articulate eWOM, inexperienced customers gain an opportunity to enhance their understanding of tangible factors and to reduce their risk in terms of intangibles. Making a decision to dine at a particular restaurant involves significant risk, which may eventually lead customers to become dependent on the interpersonal influence of eWOM (Lewis and Chambers, 2000). Moreover, the impact of positive eWOM on restaurants is significant because it is likely to help the restaurant build a positive image and, more important, to increase customers’ intentions to purchase. Positive eWOM is generated by an antecedent, a satisfactory restaurant experience in terms of restaurant attributes such as food, service, atmosphere and price. Thus, understanding the types of experiences that are likely to trigger positive eWOM is useful for restaurant managers. As the results of the study suggest, customers are motivated to articulate positive eWOM by restaurant experiences with superior food, service, and atmosphere. Excellent food experiences encourage customers to disseminate positive eWOM in an effort to help the restaurant, since superior food quality stimulates restaurant customers’ altruism toward the restaurant company. This finding supports work by Namkung and Jang (2007), which found that food presentation and taste were significantly related to customer satisfaction and behavioral intentions. Accordingly, restaurant managers who seek positive eWOM to increase business should ensure that they improve or maintain food quality. New menu items that combine great taste and presentation may draw in more opinion leaders to get things rolling. As a result of good service, restaurant customers were motivated to disseminate eWOM by a desire to help the restaurant or to express positive feelings. An enjoyable dining experience with excellent service provided by restaurant employees encourages customers’ altruistic behavior toward the restaurant company and arouses a psychological tension in customers to share their good experience with other people in an online environment. Service quality was found to be the most important factor among the four restaurant experience attributes for producing positive eWOM communication because it triggered two different motivations for positive eWOM. Consequently, managers should devote maximum effort and resources to training employees, especially ones working in front of the house. The host/hostess, cashiers, servers and other service employees who are part of the service encounter should be able to provide consistent and high quality service to customers and to anticipate customer needs. This finding supports the work of Sundaram et al. (1998), who found that consumers are motivated to help restaurants abased on satisfactory employee behavior. The findings also supported the work of Ladhari et al. (2008), who found that perceived service quality affected customers’ satisfaction in terms of both positive and negative emotions, which in turn influenced customers’ post-dining behaviors. Finally, the study revealed that customers’ pleasant experiences with the atmosphere of a restaurant serve as motivation to spread positive eWOM due to concern for others. In the context of the MR model, this finding is related to the perceived quality of the surrounding space, including the attractiveness of the interior design and décor of the restaurant, a clean environment, and neat and well-dressed employees. These elements stimulate restaurant customers’ emotional state, thus affecting customers’ post-dining behaviors, including writing positive eWOM. In addition to feelings of pleasure, customers’ altruistic emotions related to giving others an opportunity to experience a good restaurant atmosphere were also stimulated by superior ambience and physical environment. By ensuring that these two factors are strong, restaurant managers may elicit positive eWOM communication, which can directly help the restaurant achieve customer loyalty and create a positive image. Restaurant managers can derive useful managerial implications for promoting online marketing from the results that customers are motivated to articulate positive eWOM by restaurant experiences with superior food, service, and atmospheric aspects. While these results may seem intuitive, restaurants deal with thousands of factors in making their restaurants places customers want to go and to recommend, so defining those few factors that can have the greatest impact on motivating customers to write eWOM can help restaurants make effective decisions. Managers could also hold special events to encourage customers to write positive eWOM on restaurants’ websites, such as providing a sample of a new or bestselling menu item to customers and requesting them to leave an eWOM message about their experience on the website. Conducting a “Who's My Best Server?” event may also help customers recognize the restaurant's emphasis on good service. A manager could ask customers to recognize the best server on their restaurants’ website and give an explanation for their rating. Managers may also want to institute an incentive program to ensure that employees understand that the restaurant values their good service. With this incentive program, employees will try to give their best service to their customers, and, as a result, customers will leave more positive eWOM about the restaurant's services. Managers can even emphasize their restaurant's ambiance through a photography or painting competition among customers. The winning pictures would be used to promote the restaurant online and in marketing materials, and all or some could be posted in the restaurant itself. This kind of promotion would allow the restaurant to demonstrate to potential customers the superior quality of atmosphere of the restaurant from its customers’ perspective. Taking current economic conditions into account, we expected to find that concerns about money would be of equal or greater importance than a restaurant's service, food, and atmosphere, but price fairness was not identified as a key motivator for restaurant customers to write eWOM about restaurants. This finding supports the work done by Iglesias and Guillen (2004), who found that perceived price does not influence restaurant customers’ satisfaction. Iglesias and Guillen also mentioned that “the total price of a restaurant affects the phase when customers choose among all the restaurants consider alternatives, but once assumed, it does not subsequently affect customers satisfaction after the service has been experienced.” This may help to explain the results of the current study. If perceived price already exercises its role in a prior phase within the purchase process, the motivations for articulating good or even bad restaurant experiences online due to price fairness would not appear to be strong. However, this finding does not indicate that restaurant managers should forego providing a fair price to motivate customers to diffuse positive eWOM. As the customer value theory explains, “buyers’ perceptions of value represent a tradeoff between the quality or benefits they perceive in the product relative to the sacrifice they perceive by paying the price” (Monroe, 1990). In the context of restaurants, a customer's perception of price fairness is influenced by the quality of the food, service, and atmosphere, and vice versa. As the research findings suggest, restaurant customers have both altruistic and selfish motivations for articulating positive eWOM about restaurants. However, the current study found that altruism plays a greater role than selfishness in motivating restaurant customers to articulate positive eWOM about positive experiences with service, food, and atmosphere. Although selfish motives were still significant, particularly in encouraging customers to respond to the psychological tension that results from wanting to share good service experiences. While we did not identify enough opinion leaders to interpret the results in terms of their responses alone, our results do underscore the fact that there are only a few people who initiate eWOM communication about restaurants. These few people are the opinion leaders who influence the purchasing decisions of a large number of restaurant customers, so managers who are interested in e-marketing opportunities through the diffusion of positive eWOM should focus on establishing close and positive relationships with opinion leaders to increase the impact of satisfied clients on potential customers. This study has some limitations. The most distinctive eWOM characteristics are found primarily in negative eWOM motivations, but this study focused on positive eWOM motivations and excluded negative eWOM motivations. In addition, the study results found few distinctions between WOM and eWOM motivations, so it provided no new insights in this area. Future research should focus on exploring experiences that may trigger negative eWOM and that would reveal the differences between WOM and eWOM motivations. A study could also examine the impact of negative eWOM. Also, the very low number of opinion leaders does not allow for any conclusion regarding eWOM media used amongst them. Future research question may arise from why so few opinion leaders are identified. Another limitation of this study is that it collected data from university students in a certain part of the country, so the data may not represent the total population and generalization of the study findings is not warranted. Future research should be done that collects data from a more representative sample of web users by mining restaurant companies’ websites, restaurant review pages, or hospitality and tourism-related online resources. Additional testing of the study results is needed to apply the findings in different hospitality and tourism settings.