The effects of two-way communication and chat service usage on consumer attitudes in the e-commerce retailing sector
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In e-commerce retailing (e-retailing), where competitors are only one click away and prices are easy to compare, providing superior customer service and reciprocal communication via a company’s website are important aspects of attracting and retaining customers. One increasingly popular solution to improve customer service is a “live chat” interface that allows consumers to have real-time conversations online with customer service agents. As the literature on the impacts of real-time communication via live chat is currently very limited, this study develops and tests a model that demonstrates the moderating effects of a chat service on the relationship between two-way communication (i.e., a core element of perceived website interactivity) and customer satisfaction, trust, repurchase and word-of-mouth (WOM) intentions. The data for this study were collected via an online survey (N = 6783) targeting the existing customers of five e-retailers that actively utilize live chats as a customer service tool. The study results show that the extent to which a consumer perceives that an e-retailer is dedicated to fostering two-way communication between the consumer and the seller has significant effects on trust, satisfaction, and repurchase and WOM intentions. Moreover, the results of a multi-group analysis show that the use of a chat service positively moderates these relationships.
KeywordsComputer-mediated communication Customer service E-commerce Live chat Online retailing
JEL classificationM310 Marketing
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