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Critical purchasing incidents in e-business

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Abstract:

This research utilized the critical incident technique (CIT) to identify factors influencing customer satisfaction and retention of customers participating in e-commerce transactions. Customers were asked in telephone interviews to discuss both particularly satisfying and dissatisfying (or critical) incidents they had experienced when using web sites to conduct transactions. Each customer also provided demographic information, rated their satisfaction with the experience and ecommerce provider, and was asked how often they purchased products from the provider prior to and after the incident. Analysis revealed 662 citations by customers of items contributing to either positive or negative experiences. Exploratory text-mining analysis revealed that the majority of positive items pertained to the transaction (38%), product (25%), or website (23%), and to customer support (35%) or the transaction for negative items (30%). Approximately 86% of customers citing positive items said they were very likely to use the e-commerce site again, compared to 22% of customers citing negative items. Customer support and user experience both seemed to play an important mediating role on the criticality of negative incidents. Over 70% of first time users and customers who said customer support ignored or refused their requests for assistance said they were unlikely to return to the site, compared to 20% when customer support was said to be responsive. Correlation analysis confirmed that negative incidents tended to be more critical than positive ones, and more so for first time customers.

Keywords: Critical incident technique; Customer satisfaction; E-satisfaction; E-transaction

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01449290601138385

Affiliations: 1: School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA 2: Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA 3: Department of Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, P.R. China,School of Consumer Family Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA 4: School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA,Department of Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, P.R. China,School of Consumer Family Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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