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When Does Helping Help Or Hurt? Factors Affecting Consumer Satisfaction from Retailer Help in Web and Store Shopping Eric A. Greenleaf Vicki G. Morwitz.

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Presentation on theme: "When Does Helping Help Or Hurt? Factors Affecting Consumer Satisfaction from Retailer Help in Web and Store Shopping Eric A. Greenleaf Vicki G. Morwitz."— Presentation transcript:

1 When Does Helping Help Or Hurt? Factors Affecting Consumer Satisfaction from Retailer Help in Web and Store Shopping Eric A. Greenleaf Vicki G. Morwitz Russell S. Winer

2 2 A FRAMEWORK FOR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT 1.CREATE A DATABASE 2. ANALYSIS 3. CUSTOMER SELECTION 4. CUSTOMER TARGETING 5. RELATIONSHIP MARKETING 6. PRIVACY ISSUES 7. METRICS SOURCE: WINER, “A FRAMEWORK FOR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT,” CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW, SUMMER 2001

3 3 5. RELATIONSHIP PROGRAMS: RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES SATISFACTION SERVICE FREQUENCY/LOYALTY CUSTOMIZATION REWARDS PROGRAMS COMMUNITY BUILDING

4 4 CRM and Help Provision Customers often need firm’s help. Help-seeking and providing aspects of CRM have received little attention. Effective help strategies for traditional retail stores may not work on the web, and vice versa. Consumers’ reactions to help may depend on: –how the contact begins (requested by customer, offered by firm, imposed by firm), –the shopping context (traditional retail or web), –customers’ perceptions of the helper.

5 5 Safeway Example In 1993 Safeway launched Superior Service. –make eye contact with customers, –smile and greet customers, –offer samples of products, –offer help about other possible purchases that could go with the items being purchased, –help customers locate items they can't find, –thank shoppers by name at checkout by using information from their credit, debit or Safeway card. Is Safeway’s Superior Service a good customer service policy?

6 6 Safeway Example Unintended consequences: –Spirited debate on the Internet and among customers over faux friendliness vs. genuine congeniality, –Complaints by female workers in California who say male customers have misinterpreted their greetings, –Contributed to morale problems among Safeway employees –Rigid implementation of the Superior Service program left some workers feeling so overstressed that they quit (The Washington Post, 1998)

7 7

8 8 Research Questions Is help always good? –Who should initiate help? In retail stores On the web –Should firms ask permission before offering help? –How do consumers’ expectations about help affect their reactions? –How should help providers frame their motives?

9 9 Types of Help Requested help: –Customer initiates contact –Requests help from salesperson Offered help –Salesperson initiates help –Asks customer if he/she would like help Imposed Help –Salesperson initiates help –Does not ask customer if he/she would like help

10 10 Who Should Initiate Help in a Retail Store? Reasons people avoid requesting help: –feel indebted to the help provider (Castro 1974; Greenberg and Shapiro 1971), –lose self-esteem (Shapiro 1978), –feel unable to restore equity by reciprocating the help (Castro 1974; Greenberg 1980; Hatfield and Sprecher 1983), or –feel that they shouldn’t need help because most people do not. => People have more negative reactions to face-to-face help when requested vs. offered or imposed.

11 11 Moderators/Covariates Expertise Gender and gender interactions Stage in the retail visit search process Culture Perceived cost of interaction

12 12 Who Should Initiate Help on the Web? Reasons for avoiding requesting help in face-to-face encounters don’t apply for web shopping –should not create the threats of indebtedness, loss of self-esteem, and need to reciprocate Since web shopping is newer and more complicated than retail shopping, – consumers are less likely to feel that they should not need help. Different expectations concerning anonymity, security and privacy on web vs. retail

13 13 Who Should Initiate Help? Hypotheses H1a: For retail shopping which involves face-to- face contact: –Consumers will have more positive reactions to help when it is offered or imposed vs. requested. H1b: Compared to retail shopping, for web shopping: –Consumers will have more positive reactions to help when it is requested vs. offered or imposed.

14 14 Should Firms Ask Permission Before Offering Help? Studies in psychology show that reactions to help depend on whether it is requested, offered, or imposed (Greenberg and Saxe 1975). –Retail salespeople often offer or impose help without prompting –Web retailers do not, H2a: In web shopping: –Offering help will reduce privacy concerns and lead to more positive help reactions compared to imposed help. H2b: –The differences between offered and imposed help on privacy concerns and help reactions will be smaller for retail than for web shopping.

15 15 How Do Consumers’ Expectations About Help Affect their Reactions? People react more positively to help when they feel it is normal and expected for that context (Morse et al. 1977). Retail vs. Web shopping –Retail: consumers expect to receive help by salespeople and do not consider help an invasion of privacy. –Web: consumers are less likely to expect to receive such help and may also feel it is an invasion of their privacy.

16 16 How Do Consumers’ Expectations About Help Affect their Reactions? H3: The impact of whether help is offered, requested, or imposed will be moderated by whether consumers perceive that: – it is unusual for internet firms to offer help

17 17 How Should Help Providers Frame their Motives? Imposed help on the web may be considered an invasion of privacy. –Negative consequences can be reduced if consumer can generate a socially palatable explanation for help. E.g., salesperson is on commission. H4a: Web shoppers will react more positively to imposed help if they perceive that the helper is on commission. H4b: There will be no such effect in retail stores, where consumers expect to be observed.

18 18 Experiment Scenario Shopping for book for a friend. Trying to decide between 2 books. Helper recommends choosing first book looked at / clicked on.

19 19 Experimental Design n=175 subjects 2x4 between subjects design –Factor 1: shopped in store or web Barnes and Noble retail store Barnes and Noble.com web site –Factor 2: type of help provided Help imposed by employee Help offered by employee Help requested by customer No help control condition

20 20 Stimuli: Retail, Imposed Help Your best friend’s birthday is approaching. Your friend’s two favorite authors have both just come out with new books and you know your friend has not yet purchased or read either book. You decide to buy one of the two books for your friend as a birthday present. Imagine you go to Barnes and Noble bookstore to decide which of the two books to purchase. You find both books and try to decide which one to buy. They cost the same amount but they are written by different authors and are on very different subjects. You have not read any books by either author before. You keep looking at the two different books and are really having trouble deciding which book to purchase. An employee of Barnes and Noble comes up to you and says, “You seem to really be having a hard time making up your mind. I’ve read both books. If I were you, I’d purchase the first book you picked up.” After a long time contemplating your decision, you make up your mind.

21 21 Results: Who Should Initiate Help? For retail shopping, more positive effect of imposed help For web shopping, more positive effect of requested help

22 22 Results: Should Firms Ask Permission Before Offering Help? In web vs. retail shopping, offering versus imposing help reduces privacy concerns and leads to greater satisfaction.

23 23 Results: How Do Consumers’ Expectations About Help Affect their Reactions? The impact of imposed help on privacy concerns is moderated by whether consumers expect help. Did not find expected moderation effect for satisfaction

24 24 Results: How Should Help Providers Frame their Motives? The impact of imposed help on satisfaction is moderated by whether consumers’ perceptions of the salesperson’s motive.

25 25 Field Study: Actual Web Site Examines relationship between requested help (“live chat”) and sales Web tracking data on visits to major web retailer that lets consumers request live help –Whether consumer purchased –Amount spent if purchased –Whether chatted with salesperson Preliminary Results: –Customers who chatted: More likely to purchase (7.6% vs. 1.5% if did not chat) Viewed more retailer web pages (25 vs. 13) Did not purchase greater amount ($93 vs. $118)

26 26 But were the purchasers pre- disposed to using help? LivePerson.com ran a controlled field experiment randomly assigning visitors to web sites to a site without help (control) vs. one with help 440,000 visitors were assigned to the experimental condition and 170,000 to the control Overall,.29% purchased in the experimental vs..22% in the control indicating that online help matters

27 27 Summary of Findings Who should initiate help depends on shopping context: –Retail: positive effect of imposed help on satisfaction –Web: positive effect of requested help on satisfaction Whether seeking permission is beneficial depends on context: –Web vs. retail: offering versus imposing help reduces privacy concerns and leads to greater satisfaction Expectations about help affect privacy concerns –Web: negative effect of imposed help on privacy concerns reduced if expect help Expectations about motives affect satisfaction: –Web: negative effect of imposed help reduced if think salesperson is on commission

28 28 Next Steps Replicate in other shopping contexts –E.g., retail contexts where help may or may not be expected Cheese specialty store vs. supermarket How to reduce negative effect of requested help in retail stores How to reduce negative effect of imposed help on web Simulated web experiments


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