From High Tech to High Touch: The Effects of Perceived Touch on Online Customers' Intention to Return

From High Tech to High Touch: The Effects of Perceived Touch on Online Customers' Intention to Return

Hong-Mei Chen (University of Hawaii, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-126-1.ch003
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Abstract

Companies are competing intensively using ‘high tech’ systems such as electronic customer relationship management (eCRM or CRM) to interact with customers online over the Web, aiming to profit from retaining customers through “high touch.” This chapter defines a new construct, Perceived Touch, and provides theoretical underpinnings for the “high touch” assumption of eCRM systems. An empirical study was conducted to examine both the cognitive and affective effects of Perceived Touch on online customers’ intention to return after their initial visit in the eCRM context. While past studies of traditional information systems paid more attention to cognition than affect, the affective effect is critical to examine so that eCRM strategy and system design can be better informed. Our research results validate the antecedent role of Perceived Touch to Perceived Ease of Use (of the technology acceptance model—TAM) and further argue for the renewed importance of Attitude for user acceptance in the eCRM context. This study illuminates the significance of the affective impact of Perceived Touch on online customers’ Behavioral Intention to Return through both the Affective Route and the Alternative Cognitive Route where affective effect precedes cognitive effect. Practical implications of this study are discussed.

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