Next steps in SERVQUAL - Adjusting to digitalization of services

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Web-based service market places have been established as the fast-growing Internet technology has facilitated e-commerce platforms that enable buyers of services to connect with service providers in various different fields (Banker & Hwang, 2008). With the birth of e-commerce, it has become important to be able to monitor and enhance web-based service quality (Li et al., 2002). Ongoing attempts to understand the dynamics of service in an online context have indicated that service quality is related to customer satisfaction (Luo & Lee, 2011) and loyalty (Chang & Wang, 2008). Therefore, it is important for firms to identify factors that contribute to e-service satisfaction and perceived value (Zhang et al., 2006). E-service has been constantly evolving to incorporate new and continuous technological innovations. E-services must meet customers’ increasing expectations while at the same time adapt to the unique features of the Internet in order to gain user acceptance. E-service providers have realized the importance of satisfying customers. (Zhang et al. 2006) Therefore, identifying the factors that create customer satisfaction with e-services is critical. Even though there are numerous studies on service quality in physical settings, e-service lacks empirical research (Zhang et al., 2006). Since e-service quality and perceived value of websites are regarded as the key influential factors for internet marketing (Chang & Wang, 2008), it becomes necessary to research the phenomenon more thoroughly. To examine factors affecting customer satisfaction with e-services, I conducted a survey. The questions were based on existing studies on both perceived service quality and characteristics of e-commerce. The goal was to find out which factors affect customer satisfaction in an online service context. For the study I interviewed ten consumers on their expectations and experiences from online travel agencies. These results were compared to interviews conducted with eight travel agency representatives from four different travel agencies. The results indicate that some modification to existing theory is needed and new dimensions should be considered when measuring e-service quality.
e-commerce, e-service, SERVQUAL
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