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Expert cues: how expert reviewers are perceived online

Anna Naujoks (Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Service Management, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany)
Martin Benkenstein (Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Service Management, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 10 July 2020

Issue publication date: 26 November 2020

692

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore different types of source expertise and how they influence perceived message quality. Consumers face the challenge to identify valuable online reviews. Source expertise as a signal of message quality can be displayed differently, depending on website layout, operator and review author.

Design/methodology/approach

Two scenario-based experiments were conducted questioning 135 and 275 participants. They investigate the effect of different types of expert reviewers on perceived message quality and also examine the interplay of source expertise and source trustworthiness.

Findings

The findings reveal that the different types of expert reviewers differ in perceived expertise and their impact on perceived message quality. Claims of expertise induce the highest perceived expertise compared to the other expert types and non-experts, but are perceived as less trustworthy.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should examine the influence of the expert types across different product and service categories and could also include moderating influences that reflect how consumers process expert cues differently.

Practical implications

Cues that signal high expertise and high trustworthiness are likely to deliver the most valuable online reviews. This should be incorporated in the website's layout to help consumers find valuable information.

Originality/value

The approach of this research is novel in that it undertakes comparisons between three types of expert cues and non-experts. It also addresses the interplay of source expertise and trustworthiness and examines the effect on message quality.

Keywords

Citation

Naujoks, A. and Benkenstein, M. (2020), "Expert cues: how expert reviewers are perceived online", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 30 No. 4/5, pp. 531-556. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-11-2019-0240

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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