Please login first
Customer service quality for online shopping: Evidence from
, * , ,
1  China Three Gorges University


Customer service includes a series of activities that enhance customer satisfaction (Turban and Efraim, 2002). Customer service includes pre-transaction service, transaction service and post-transaction service (Van Riel, 2004). The previous study shows that the enterprise which build excellent customer relationship may increase their profits more than 60% (Reichheld, 1990). Lots of scholars research in online service quality which focuses on online bank, website design (website service), online library, online shopping, online service, virtual community, online clothing, online travel etc. They develop e-service quality scale dimensions from 3 to 15(each includes several items.)

Online customer service system has become an important tool of online marketing. At the same time, it has also become a basic part to exhibit the enterprise and to interact with visitors. It's a hot topic to find the key factors which influence perceived online customer service quality. Dangdang is one of the most popular websites to buy books. This study lists many factors which influence online service quality and customer satisfaction from previous literature, then explores the key factors which influence perceived online customer service quality in online customer services.

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of an empirical study that analyzed how the 6 factors 1.accessibility, 2.reliability, 3.ease-of-use/usefulness, 4.interactivity, 5. responsibility/efficiency, and 6. safety/privacy influence the perceived service quality as for online customers. Accessibility refers that the site can provide a series of entrance (menus, buttons, links etc.) to solve problem during the process of pre-transactions, transaction and post-transaction. Reliability is one of dimensions of SERVQUAL, which refers the ability to reliably, accurately perform the service commitment. Reliability includes two aspects: one means that the website functions such as search engine, payment instruments etc. are reliable. The other means that the service commitment, financial information, product information and other relevant information provided by the website are reliable. Ease of Use/Availability(EOU) refers a friendly interface, especially when users search for useful information. EOU is an important factor for users to make a choice in which website to purchase. The perception of EOU is a key reason for the users to make a decision whether or not to accept the customer services. Interaction means a kind of two-way transmission between webpage and information browser. "Interaction” is a big advantage of Internet media. The real "interactive" web site should show "interactivity" according to people’s communication each other freely. Responsiveness is the willing to help customers and rapidly improve the service level. The response speed of customer services provided will greatly affect the evaluation result of service quality. The faster and more accurate of the response of online customer services, the more satisfaction which the customer perceived. The security dimension originates from the Assurance dimension of SERVQUAL which refers employees’ knowledge, etiquette and ability to express confidence and reliability. When transactions come to network, security is very important to build trust of customers because of no face-to-face contact between customers and company (and its employee). Security/privacy is very important to protect customers’ privacy information and financial information. According to these factors, this paper put forward a series of online service quality related assumptions.

The applied methodology combines factor analysis and regression analysis to a novel data set which comes from actual buyers of The questionnaire is divided into four parts: basic demographic information, introduction of background knowledge, perceived online customer service quality, factors which influence perceived online customer service quality. This questionnaire is designed with series closed questions which can select only one answer from several choices except for basic personal information. The scale of perceived online customer service quality and its influence factors is designed with 5-likert scale.

Through sampling, the reliability and validity analysis of questionnaires, factor analysis, regression analysis, this paper draws a conclusion. The results demonstrate that the 6 factors have significant positive influence on the perceived service quality for online customers. The insights impart an important set of guidelines for service providers interested in enhancing the quality of their online customers' experience.

Most operators of online shopping web site think that, online customer services, especially Pre-Transaction service and Post-Transaction service are not essential, or just a means of personalized customer service package to attract customers. But we believe that the Accessibility, Reliability, Ease of Use/Availability, Interactivity, Responsiveness/Efficiency, Security/Privacy during the whole transaction process will significantly influence the perceived customer service quality. In fact, real-time online customer services can improve the interactivity and responsiveness, and increase the ease-of-use to a certain extent, so it will significantly improve perception level of customer service quality.

So the operators should strengthen them to pave the way for customers’ repurchase. On the one hand, improving customer service quality, can help enterprises to establish good market image, cultivate brand loyalty of customers. On the other hand, market image of service enterprises has a significant impact on the actual experience of customer service quality. Secondly, with the development of technology, real-time online customer services has no technical barriers, online shopping site that launches real-time online customer services, may have a big Competitive Advantage to attract customers.

Keywords: online customer service; perceived customer service quality; real-time online customer service; SERVQUAL