Exploring customer reactions to offshore call centers: toward a comprehensive conceptualframework
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the moderating influence of attitude toward offshore call centers (OCCs) and brand image of the service provider firm on the relationships among perceived service quality (SQ), customer satisfaction (CS), complaint (CI) and repeat purchase (RP) intentions.Design/methodology/approach – A total of 285 adult shoppers with prior experience with OCCs were recruited using mall-intercept approach in a large mid-Western city in the USA. A structured questionnaire was used to record their perceptions about their service provider using OCCs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the measurement and basic structural model, along with multi-group analysis to test the moderating effects. Multiple moderated regression analysis was also used to verify the moderating effects. Findings – As expected, SQ was found positively associated with CS, and CS was negatively associated with CI but positively with RP. Moreover, attitude toward OCC positively moderated the link between SQ and CS; brand image negatively moderated the link between CS and CI and positively moderated the link between CS and RP. All the hypotheses were supported.Research limitations/implications – It was found that negative attitudes towards OCC result in feelings of dissatisfaction, increase in complaints and decrease in repeat purchases. However, customers are likely to complain less and continue to patronize for a more reputed service firm compared to a less reputed firm. This finding contradicts recent market reports, hence future research should investigate actual customer complaints and repeat purchases to confirm the moderating role of brand image.Practical implications – Services firms using OCC should be aware that their customers have varying attitudes toward OCC. They should track these attitudes and their impact on customer complaint and repeat purchase behavior. They should also track and benchmark the service levels of their OCC with their own local call centers and those of the competitors. They could improve customer attitudes toward OCC by customer relationship management and improve the service standards through more training and empowerment of their OCC representatives.Originality/value – This study is one of the first few empirical investigations of customer reactions to OCCs exploring the moderating influence of “Attitude toward OCC” and “Brand image” on the relationships among perceived service quality, customer satisfaction, complaint and repeat purchases. The findings provide useful insights to managers and researchers alike.
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