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Customers are interested in finding service recommendations, reviews and word of mouth using social networking platforms. These service reviews are useful for enhancing service quality, level of information and engagement, and purchase intention of customers. The purpose of this paper is to uncover which social networking platform is more useful for the exchange of service reviews and how organizations are improving purchase intention as well as service quality in the light of customer’s reviews/experiences.Design/methodology/approachThe study is exploratory in nature because it aims to understand the use of social networking platforms for enhancing service quality and the purchase intention of customers using a purposive sampling technique. To meet the objective of this study, non-directive and semi-structured interviews have been conducted with customers and marketing teams in the banking sector and internet service providers.FindingsThe results show that social networking websites are helpful in fostering responsiveness, awareness, assurance, reliability and empathy. However, respondents revealed serious concerns regarding the privacy of personal and financial information especially in the context of the banking sector. It has been found that official Facebook pages of service-providing organizations, open and closed local community Facebook groups, sponsored ads and promotional advertisements on Facebook, WhatsApp groups and YouTube video comments are more frequently used to exchange service reviews (i.e. influence the process of purchase decision) among friends, friends of friends, family members and the general public. The selected customers and market team respondents revealed that local community Facebook groups (i.e. open groups and closed groups) have gained prime importance for enhancing service quality and purchase decisions.Practical implicationsThe effective and well-organized use of social networking platforms can foster service reviews, word of mouth, level of service awareness, interactive communication, intention to purchase, social influence, social trust and services quality. Furthermore, online social networking platforms require a lower level of advertisement costs and offer huge amounts of information, discussions, enquires, service stories, word of mouth, transactions and interactions of consumers.Originality/valueThe present study is exploratory in nature because it selects an under-researched issue regarding the use of social networking applications to enhance levels of purchase intention and service quality. There is limited literature which has combined the multiple constructs in a single study (i.e. social media platforms, cross-platform platforms, service quality and purchase intention of consumers). Most of the previous studies are dependent on various dimensions of service quality (i.e. “reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empath and tangibles”). However, the present study extracted that respondents have given more preferences of services awareness and privacy compared to traditional elements of service quality.
Journal of Management Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 16, 2019
Keywords: Services quality; Service sector; Purchase intention of customers; Social networking applications
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