The Impact of Process- Versus Outcome-Oriented Reviews on the Sales of Healthcare Services
69 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018 Last revised: 11 Oct 2023
Date Written: October 8, 2023
The consumption of services inherently requires a process to achieve the desired outcome. For non-experiential services (e.g., healthcare and education) that are primarily valued for their end outcomes, the consumption typically involves lengthy processes that are not designed for enjoyment (e.g., wound care and lecture attendance). Consequently, there exists a prominent tension between the processes (means) and the outcomes (ends) of these services, which is largely ignored in the prior literature on user-generated content (UGC) that predominantly focuses on the consumption of products or experiential services (e.g., dining and lodging). To bridge this gap, we investigate the distinct roles of the process- and outcome-oriented reviews in influencing consumers’ decisions to pursue healthcare services, leveraging a comprehensive data set collected from an online platform for cosmetic procedures. By separating process- and outcome-oriented reviews through visual content analysis, we show that the effect of outcome-oriented reviews in boosting the sales of healthcare services is almost twice stronger than that of process-oriented reviews on average. However, the relative effectiveness of these two types of reviews varies substantially across different types of healthcare services. Specifically, we find that process-oriented reviews are more influential in affecting consumers’ purchases of services with higher complexity, in contrast to outcome-oriented reviews that are more impactful for services with lower complexity. Moreover, the impact of process-oriented reviews is stronger for less popular services, whereas the impact of outcome-oriented reviews is stronger for more popular services. These nuanced findings show that consumers resort to different types of UGC while considering different types of healthcare services. Our work has important implications both theoretically and practically.
Keywords: Process, Outcome, Feasibility, Desirability, Healthcare, Visual Content
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