“Online Commercial Chat: A New Tool For E-Business Success”


Abstract: This study examines customer evaluations of online commercial chat -- a new marketing tool for e-businesses. The conceptual framework is based on literature from e-business, technology-mediated service delivery, and intra-group processes. Based on experiments simulating chat sessions for financial services, the results showed, as predicted, that perceived benefits (social and functional) and perceived group climate (social and task) positively influence customer evaluations of the online chat service. Moreover, as predicted, all of these effects were significantly moderated by the communication style (task vs. social) of the online chat facilitator in a way so as to create balance within the online chat group. In other words, social benefits and social climate were more important with a task-oriented facilitator, whereas functional benefits and task climate were more important with a socially-oriented facilitator.


Co-Author:   Pratibha A. Dabholkar  

(Email: pratibha@love-and-learning.info)


Source: E-Business Review, 2005, Volume 5, 41-44.

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