A Model of Post-Installation Seller-Buyer Interactions in Technology-Based Industrial Markets: An Abstract
While extant research has devoted considerable attention to seller-buyer relationships during the development sub-phase, the implementation sub-phase has received considerably less attention. In particular, the study of post-installation interactions has been very limited. Seller-buyer interactions during the post-installation phase can facilitate marketplace success by generating positive word-of-mouth effects which hastens the diffusion process (Hoyer et al. 2010). For example, Gertler (1995) advises sellers to seek post-installation feedback in order to address buyers’ operational problems with the innovation. Proactive interactions initiated by sellers with buyers after the sale lead not only to favorable buyer-level outcomes (e.g., customer satisfaction) but also seller-level outcomes like greater innovativeness and higher new product success rates (Challagalla et al. 2009). DeBruicker and Summe (1985) note that after buyers become familiar with an innovation, they often request additional features and capabilities. Therefore, sellers who seek product-related input after installation are well positioned to develop product upgrades (Meyers and Athaide 1991). Such upgrades can increase a buyer’s dependence on the seller by providing enhanced benefits (Scheer et al. 2010) and building switching costs (Ganesan 1994). Against this background, we investigate the determinants of sellers’ post-installation knowledge generation through interactions with buyers and the effect of such interactions on expectations of relationship continuity.
The results of our empirical study suggest that sellers engage in post-installation product knowledge generation under certain antecedent conditions. Specifically, the extent to which sellers engage in such relationships is a function of perceived buyer knowledge, prior relationship history, and technological change. These results suggest that sellers consider both the buyer’s ability, signified by perceived buyer knowledge, and motivation, based on prior relationships, before seeking post-installation product-related feedback. Further, such relationships are more likely when technologies change rapidly because they can dissuade buyers from switching to competitors offering newer technologies. We also find that engaging in such interactions enhances expectations of relationship continuity only when technological uncertainty is higher. Once again, stemming the potential loss of buyers to competitors with newer technologies provides the underlying logic. Thus, because sellers have to be judicious in expending their relationship resources, our results offer useful guidance on appropriate situations for undertaking such postlaunch interactions.
References Available Upon Request