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E-service quality: a model of virtual service quality dimensions

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1 E-service quality: a model of virtual service quality dimensions
Article #11 E-service quality: a model of virtual service quality dimensions By: Jessica Santos

2 Purpose “Over the past two decades, service quality has become recognized as a key factor in differentiating service products and building competitive advantage.” “Service quality is recognized as an important factor in determining the success or failure of electronic commerce.” Despite its importance, “service quality issues in e-commerce is still in its infancy.” This article reveals a “detailed conceptual framework of such e-service quality determinants.”

3 Previous Work Van Riel et al. (2001) came up with five components in e-services: core, facilitating, supporting, complementary, and the user interface. Van Riel et al. (2001) defined “the concept of service quality in e-service as the consumers’ overall evaluation and judgement of the excellence and quality of e-service offerings in the virtual marketplace.” Parasuraman (2000) suggested that “flexibility, convenience, efficiency, and enjoyment are examples of major positive themes in the online environment.”

4 Previous Work Continued…
Parasuraman (2000) also stated that “negative themes included security concerns, risk of obsolescence, impersonalisation, and lack of control.” Abels et al. (1999) discussed “six operational definitions of user criteria: use, content, structure, linkage, search, and appearance.” Dholakia and Rego (1998) composed a list of features they found to be “important for effective web sites: frequency of changes, number of links to and form the web site, complexity and extensiveness, number of pictures, enhancements, and number of advertising banners of other firms.” Yang (2001) saw a correlation with some of the aspects of SERVQUAL that pertained to e-commerce including: “reliability, responsiveness, access, ease of use, attentiveness, credibility, and security.”

5 Research Method 30 focus groups were held in a UK business school, each group with 6 to 10 participants. Participants had web experiences, 42% with online shopping experience. Respondents were assigned to groups based on age and gender. Due to the fact that 85% of Internet users are ages 18 thru 35 (Taylor Nelson Sofres, 2001), the participants fell within this range.

6 Research Method Continued…
Participants were asked in advance to bring a print out of a “good-quality” and “bad-quality” web site. Each participant presented their web sites and the group discussed the positive and negative features. From the transcripts, researches coded the data, and derived a total of 11 determinants of web e-service quality.

7 Results: The Incubative Dimension
The Incubative dimension is defined as “the proper design of a web site, how technology is used to provide consumers with easy access, understanding and attractions of a web site” or the user interface. Major components include: Ease of use, Appearance, Linkage, Structure and Layout, and Content.

8 Results: The Incubative Dimension
Ease of Use - How easy it is for customers to “conduct external search in cyberspace and internal navigation and search within the website.” Appearance - The “proper use of color, graphics, images, and animations, together with the appropriate size of the web page.” Linkage - “The number and quality of links that a web site offers.” Structure and Layout - “The organization and presentation of a website’s content and information.” Content - “The presentation and layout of factual information and functions on a website.”

9 Results: The Active Dimension
The active dimension is defined as “the good support, fast speed, and attentive maintenance that a web site con provide to its customers.” Major components include: Reliability, Efficiency, Support, Communications, Security, and Incentives.

10 Results: The Active Dimension
Reliability - “The ability to perform the promised service accurately and consistently.” Efficiency - “The speed of downloading, search, and navigation.” Support - “The technical help, user guidelines, and personal advice available to customers.” Communications - “Keeping customers properly informed and communicating with them in language they can understand.” Security - “Freedom from danger, risk, or doubt during the service process.” Incentives - “Encouragement given by Web providers to consumers to browse and use the website, including rewards for doing so.”

11 Model of E-Service Quality

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