Online customer reviews (OCRs) have become an important part of the customer’s shopping experience. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory single-case study was to investigate and better understand, how customers’ perceptions and experiences shared on OCRs or other social media outlets affected business revenue generation and profitability. The OCR phenomenon was explored from the consumer’s perspective. The healthcare industry, private-practice sector was used as a case subject. However, business operations, not the field of medicine, was the focus of this study. Due to the general business focus of this study, the findings were applicable to other industries or sectors. The specific problem was that little research had been conducted to explore the influence of OCRs on customers’ perceptions and experiences, and the effects of those factors on the ability of small business owners to generate revenue and increase profitability. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) underpinned this study and provided the conceptual framework needed to understand better consumers’ attitudes, perceptions, behavior, and intentions. The research addressed a gap in knowledge and endeavored to provide small business owners with direct insight into the OCR phenomenon. Two research questions guided the study. First, how do OCRs influence consumer perceptions, experiences, and decision-making; and second, how do consumers’ perceptions and experiences influence how small business owners generate revenue and increase profitability. Data collection consisted of 11 in-depth interviews, 11 questionnaire respondents, 150 OCR ratings and comments, documentation, and archival records. An analysis of the data revealed 5 trends consumers considered: experiences, perceptions, relationships, trust factors, and selection determinants . The findings of this study confirmed that OCRs did have either a conscious or subliminal influence on consumers’ perceptions and experiences; thus, affecting how companies increase profitability.
|Commitee:||Tritsch, Joanne, Winston, Bruce|
|Department:||Business and Technology|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Business administration, Marketing, Management|
|Keywords:||Consumer experience, Consumer relationship, Online rating, Online reviews, Small business, Strategic planning|
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