The Impact of Customer Community Participation on Customer Behaviors: An Empirical Investigation

39 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2009

See all articles by René Algesheimer

René Algesheimer

University of Zurich

Sharad Borle

Rice University

Utpal M. Dholakia

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Siddharth S. Singh

Rice University - Jones Graduate School of Management

Date Written: November 23, 2009

Abstract

Many firms increasingly offer community venues to their customers to facilitate social interactions amongst them. Prior studies have shown that community participants have high engagement and loyalty toward the firm, and provide useful feedback and referrals. However, it is not clear whether community participants are the firm’s fans to begin with and self-select themselves into the community, or whether community participation leads to increased relational customer behaviors. In the current research, we employ data from a field experiment to help answer this question. The data comes from a year-long study, conducted by eBay Germany, and reveals that a simple email invitation significantly increased customer participation in the firm’s community. Results also showed that community participation had mixed effects on customers’ likelihoods of participating in buying and selling behaviors. Community participation did not translate into increased behaviors as would be commonly expected. While there is no impact of participation on the number of bids placed or the revenue earned, there is a negative impact of participation on the number of listings and the amount spent. Together, these results suggest that the community participants become more selective and efficient sellers and also become more conservative in their spending on the items they bid for. The results also show that customer community marketing programs may be targeted to a broader set of the firm’s customers than just the fans.

Keywords: Customer community, online social interactions, customer relationship management, Hierarchical Bayes, MCMC, Multivariate Tobit

Suggested Citation

Algesheimer, René and Borle, Sharad and Dholakia, Utpal M. and Singh, Siddharth S., The Impact of Customer Community Participation on Customer Behaviors: An Empirical Investigation (November 23, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1512072 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1512072

René Algesheimer

University of Zurich ( email )

Department of Business Administration
Andreasstrasse 15
Zurich, 8050
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.market-research.uzh.ch

Sharad Borle

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Utpal M. Dholakia (Contact Author)

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Siddharth S. Singh

Rice University - Jones Graduate School of Management ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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