Online Diaries for Professional Services

Posted: 18 Oct 2018 Last revised: 7 Dec 2018

See all articles by Hongfei Li

Hongfei Li

University of Connecticut

Jing Peng

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

Gang Wang

University of Delaware

Xue Bai

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management

Date Written: September 1, 2018

Abstract

Online diaries, series of posts generated by consumers in chronological order to record their consumption experience over time, have recently emerged in professional services platforms. As a novel form of electronic-word-of-mouth (eWOM), an online diary has an initiating post and some optional follow-up posts. Compared to conventional online reviews with a single post, the dynamic structure of online diaries may change the way consumers search and process information.

Using a large dataset from an online platform of cosmetic procedures, this paper empirically investigates:

1) whether providing follow-ups in online diaries affects the sales of professional services, and

2) how the impact of follow-ups is moderated by the perceived risk of professional services and the quality of service providers.

We find that providing follow-ups in diaries has a positive effect on the sales of the respective cosmetic procedures. In addition, the effect is weaker for high-quality providers than for low-quality providers, indicating that the quality of providers substitutes the effect of follow-ups. Interestingly, the effect of follow-ups is asymmetric for procedures with high and low perceived risks. For high-risk procedures, providing follow-ups increases sales regardless of the quality of providers. On the other hand, for low-risk procedures, providing follow-ups substantially increases sales for low-quality providers, but not for high-quality providers. Finally, the substitution effect of the quality of providers over follow-ups is stronger for procedures with a lower perceived risk. Our findings provide important implications for both platform owners and service providers.

Keywords: Online Diary, Perceived Risk, Quality, Professional Service, Cosmetic Procedure

Suggested Citation

Li, Hongfei and Peng, Jing and Wang, Gang and Bai, Xue, Online Diaries for Professional Services (September 1, 2018). University of Connecticut School of Business Research Paper No. 18-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3255097

Hongfei Li

University of Connecticut ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/hongfei-li/

Jing Peng (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

Gang Wang

University of Delaware ( email )

419 Purnell Hall
Newark, DE 19716
United States

Xue Bai

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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