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Customer heterogeneity in operational e‐service design attributes: An empirical investigation of service quality

Rui Sousa (Faculty of Economics and Management, Catholic University of Portugal, Porto, Portugal)
Andy C.L. Yeung (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
T.C.E. Cheng (Department of Logistics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 19 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to empirically examine whether heterogeneity in personal customer profiles translates to heterogeneity in the valued operational e‐service design attributes. It focuses on a key operational e‐service design attribute – service quality – by investigating whether customers with different profiles (demographics, pattern of use of the service, and pattern of channel use) attach different levels of importance to different dimensions of web site quality.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on path analysis of data collected from multiple sources in a commercial e‐service setting (e‐banking): data from an online survey of the customers of the e‐service; data stored in the transaction and log files generated by the operation of the e‐service over time; and data from the e‐service provider's customer database and back office IT systems.

Findings

The results suggest that: customer demographics, pattern of service use, and pattern of channel use have no influence on the importance attached by customers to web site quality dimensions; and customer demographics affect the pattern of use of an e‐service.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should examine this question in other types of e‐services and should examine other types of profile variables.

Practical implications

Service providers may not need to employ customization at the level of web site quality dimensions. The findings support the existence of the concept of an “optimal” web site design for quality.

Originality/value

The paper answers calls for an increased understanding of the design of high quality e‐services and for multidisciplinary research in the field of services management, in particular, incorporating operations management perspectives.

Keywords

Citation

Sousa, R., Yeung, A.C.L. and Cheng, T.C.E. (2008), "Customer heterogeneity in operational e‐service design attributes: An empirical investigation of service quality", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 592-614. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570810881776

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited