Communal Service Delivery: How Customers Benefit from Participation in Firm-Hosted Virtual P3 Communities
44 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2009
Date Written: January 30, 2009
Firm-hosted virtual peer-to-peer problem solving (P3) communities offer a low-cost, credible, and effective means of delivering education and ongoing assistance services to customers of complex, frequently evolving products. Building upon the social constructivist view on learning and drawing from literature on the firm-customer relationship in services marketing, we distinguish between functional and social benefits received by P3 community participants and study the central role of learning in influencing these benefit perceptions. The proposed model is tested on data gathered from 2,299 active members of a P3 community hosted by a global online auction firm, and the framework’s generalizability is demonstrated using a sample of 204 members of a global B2B software firm’s P3 community. Based on the results, specific recommendations are provided to marketers interested in implementing service support programs via customer communities, and future research opportunities are explored.
Keywords: service support, customer community, customer service, customer-generated service
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