Moderated Group Chat: An Empirical Assessment of a New E-Service Encounter

W.M. van Dolen, J.C. de Ruyter

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Abstract

In this paper, the focus is on a new type of electronic service encounter called Moderated Group Chat (MGC). MGC is defined as on-line, real-time interactions between groups of customers with an active coordinating role for a company representative and a commercial objective. Based on the technology acceptance model, we develop a conceptual framework and examine empirically which factors drive customer satisfaction with MGC sessions. Particularly, we look at the impact of perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and perceived enjoyment on customer satisfaction. As MGC involves multiple participants and interactions take place within an electronic group environment, predictor-criterion relationships may vary between individual-and group-level or shared perceptions. Therefore, the relationships between aforementioned determinants and chat session satisfaction are tested using a multi-level model. In addition, group size was included as a control variable. Finally, since chat is an innovative service delivery channel, we also took a number of customer characteristics (i.e. innovativeness, experience with investing and experience with chat) into account. Whereas we find support for a positive impact of the majority of predictor variables on chat session satisfaction, the precise nature of the relationship varies across levels. Moreover, while group size is positively related to satisfaction, experience with investing exhibits a weakly negative relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-511
JournalInternational Journal of Service Industry Management
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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