Customer satisfaction with electronic service encounters

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Volume 10, Issue 4, Number 4, p.73–104 (2006)


Customer relationship management is an integral component of business strategy for on-line service providers. This paper investigates the aspects of on-line transactions in electronic retailing that are most likely to satisfy or dissatisfy customers, thereby increasing or decreasing the likelihood of building and maintaining relationships with them. For this study, 513 respondents reported behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, events, features, characteristics, attributes, and situations that expressed their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with electronic service encounters. Content analysis of these encounters yielded three meta-categories, six categories, and 33 subcategories of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction with on-line service providers. The findings suggested that three major categories are robust even in the electronic context of the Internet. The antecedents identified were relevant both to product-related services (e.g., books, apparel) and to pure services (e.g., on-line banking, on-line stock trading). The study found that the characteristics and behaviors of customer-contact employees play an important role in on-line service encounters. It also revealed a percentage decrease in satisfactory incidents, a percentage increase in unsatisfactory incidents, and a percentage increase in unsatisfactory incidents involving employee characteristics and behaviors as service encounters move from a bricks-and-mortar environment to an electronic context. This suggests that customer-contact employees may not be well equipped to deal with on-line customers.


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