Consumer experience in phone communication in the service purchasing process
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Theoretical background: Consumers today are presented with a myriad of opportunities through the purchase process can be realized (Yrjölä et al., 2018, p. 1133). Customer journey can be defined as a buyer’s behaviour in multi (omni) environment with the goal of finalizing purchase transactions and acquiring positive (seamless, holistic) customer experiences. Researchers look at a service buying process as the customer value-adding journey (Saghiri et al. 2017; Wilding, 2003) and its prime objective is to deliver positive customer experience at each of stages of buying process. According to media richness theory (MRT) voice-based communication is ranked higher than text-based communication along the media richness continuum (Daft & Lengel, 1984), however some additional findings have been also exposed. Taking into account the traditional continuum of media richness phone communications is perceived as rich in information, only face to face contact is seen as richer (Suh, 1999). As is stated in Rhee (2010), customer-initiated communications via phone channel is preferred when consumer faces an extended problem-solving (high perceived risk/low familiarity). Whereas, in case of routine problem-solving situation online channel is preferred. However, some relevant research on marketing channel richness have been proposed by Kwak (2012) as well as Lipowski and Bondos (2018). According to this research stream, the medium itself does not necessarily determine its perceived media richness. The key factor is user’s familiarity with a particular marketing channel and his/her ability to use its communicational potential.Purpose of the article: The present study attempts to provide evidence about the potential of the phone channel as the channel of contact with the service provider through the entire service buying process including four stages: pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase and resignation from service. The main goal of the study is to identify the level of customers’ experience/knowledge of using phone channel by the three consumer generations (Baby Boomers, X and Y).Research methods: The survey study was conducted in September-November 2015 on a group of 1103 respondents (Polish adult consumers) including 357 (BB), 390 (X) and 356 (Y). The research sample was determined by quota-random method; CAPI (computer assisted personal interview) method was used with a standardized questionnaire. In order to verify research hypothesis MANOVA was used with data on three customer generations.Main findings: BB generation possesses the smallest experience in phone communication in the service buying process. The next one is the X generation with bigger phone communication experience than BB but lower than Y generation. At each stage in service purchasing process Y generation is the most knowledgeable in the area of phone communication. In general, there is a visible downward trend of the own experience level along with further stages in the service purchasing process. In terms of phone communication the most mysterious for customers is the last phase.
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