||The Influence of Perceived E-service on Service Quality, Relationship Quality, and Customer Loyalty in Container Shipping Companies
||Institute of Telecommunications and Management
Ocean freight forwarder
The literature has extensively verified that service quality plays a critical role in the process of consumption, with the initial focus on quantifying the service characteristics. However, these studies have paid less attention to the effects of relationship quality and e-service on customer loyalty. Relationship quality makes customers feel that products/services are reliable and acceptable, so they do not worry about mistakes. Despite the fact that the link between service quality and satisfaction has been extensively explored, the relationships among service quality, trust, and commitment have been ignored in container shipping services. To fill these two gaps in the literature, this study is aimed toward measuring the linkage between service quality and customer loyalty by integrating them with relationship quality (e.g., satisfaction, trust, commitment) and perceived e-service (e.g., usefulness, ease of use). Through integrating electronic customer relationship management and the expectation conformation theory, a quantitative focus group study is conducted in the container shipping industry. Empirical data are obtained using a mail questionnaire survey collected from 233 forwarder liner operators from the member list of “International Ocean Freight Forwarders and Logistics Association” in Taiwan.
An ANOVA is used to determine whether the service quality, relationship quality, customer loyalty, and perceived e-service levels of the respondents vary with their demographic characteristics. A factor analysis is used to confirm whether the service quality items presented in the questionnaire fit the structures. A descriptive statistics analysis and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) are conducted to provide a basic summary of the sample data and to examine discrepancies among the hypotheses and the empirical data in order to test whether the proposal theoretical model fits the empirical data. Finally, a structural equation model (SEM) and regression analysis are used to examine whether the hypotheses are accepted or rejected.
The results of the study are summarized as follows: At the level of statistical significance, service quality had a positive effect on relationship quality and customer loyalty; relationship quality had a positive effect on customer loyalty, and relationship quality was found to have partial mediating effect on the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty. Specifically, this study found not only satisfaction but also trust and commitment had significant effect on relationship quality. Perceived e-service was found to have a moderating effect on the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty, but it had no significant moderating effect on the relationship between service quality and relationship quality, indicating that the electronization of shipping services increases work efficiency and performance but does not enhance the connection and relationship between customers and the company. Even so, from the perspective of forwarders e-services are essential but do not provide a competitive edge in a container shipping company.
Further, the ANOVA results showed differences among e-service items and service quality, the number of workers in the company/e-service items and relationship quality, the number of workers in the company and customer loyalty, and the shipping company that the respondent mainly cooperates with/e-service items and perceived e-service. Finally, managerial suggestions are provided for container shipping companies to help them increase their perceived e-service, service quality, and relationship quality in order to promote customer loyalty.
Table of Contents vii
List of Figures x
1.1 Background and Motivation 1
1.2 Research Objectives 7
Theoretical Background 9
2.1 Electronic Customer Relationship Management 9
2.2 Expectation Confirmation Theory 11
Hypothesis Development 13
3.1 Service Quality 13
3.2 Relationship Quality 19
3.3 Customer Loyalty 21
3.4 Perceived E-service 24
3.5 Moderating Role of Perceived E-service 27
4.1 Research Model 29
4.2 Measurement Development 30
4.3 Data Collection and Sampling 34
4.4 Analytical Procedure 34
4.4.1 Descriptive Statistic Analysis 35
4.4.2 Factor Analysis 36
4.4.3 Confirmatory Factor Analysis 36
4.4.4 Structural Equation Modeling 38
4.4.5 Regression Analysis 39
Empirical Results 41
5.1 Descriptive Statistics Analysis 41
5.1.1 Respondent Profile 41
5.1.2 Mean and Standard Deviation of Items 44
5.1.3 Analysis of Variance Analysis 47
5.2 Factor Analysis 54
5.3 Confirmatory Factor Analysis 56
5.4 Structural Equation Modeling 60
5.5 Mediation Analysis 62
5.6 Moderation Analysis 63
Discussion and Conclusion 66
6.1 Summary of the Results 66
6.2 Managerial Implications 68
6.3 Limitations and Future Research 69
Appendix A: Items in Questionnaire 84
Appendix B: Items in Chinese Questionnaire 87
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