Purpose – The purpose of this study is to compare quality perceptions of virtual servicescapes and physical service encounters among buyers and renters of real estate. Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative data from a sample of 27 professionals engaged in higher education in the USA are gathered by recorded interview before being transcribed and imported into MAXQDA 2007 software for analytical coding. Findings – Particular differences are found to exist between renters and buyers with regard to specific service attributes – for example, description of properties and type of visuals during the pre‐purchase stage, knowledge/experience and honest behavior of realtors during the service encounter stage and a continuous relationship with the realtor in the post‐encounter stage. Research limitations/implications – Generalization of the results is limited because the study utilizes data from only one industry (real estate) and from only one demographic segment (professionals in higher education). Practical implications – Real‐estate firms need to pay attention to both the training of agents and the design and content of their websites. Originality/value – This paper contributes to knowledge regarding virtual servicescapes in professional services.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 9, 2009
Keywords: Customer services quality; Real estate; Property marketing; Internet marketing
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