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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2014
Thesis number: 13744
Sales approach to customer service in e-commerce - A case study within a specialty retailer's customer service chat
Author: Iso-Peura, Tapio
Title: Sales approach to customer service in e-commerce - A case study within a specialty retailer's customer service chat
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; e-business; e-business; asiakaspalvelu; customer service; asiakkaat; customers; myynti; sales; strategia; strategy; myyntimenetelmät; sales methods
Pages: 84
Key terms: customer service chat; e-commerce; influence strategies; sales
As the incremental digitalization changes the world significantly, companies need to be present and successful at electronic marketplaces in order to thrive. This study attempts to broaden the understanding of the companies' online competitiveness by applying the sales approach to customer service in the context of a specialty retailer's customer service chat. The objective is to find ways to make the company's customer service function more cost-effective by applying traditional, face-to-face selling strategies to their online channel.

The objective of this study can be summarized in the main research problem: "How to apply sa-les approach to customer service in e-commerce?" In order to meet this objective, the following two research questions are answered: 1. How to increase sales via customer service? 2. How can a customer service chat generate more sales?

In terms of methodology, this study is a combination of literature review and a descriptive, exploratory single-case study. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used in the study in order to gain holistic understanding of the subject. The quantitative data was collected by conducting a web survey for customers. The data was analyzed with SPSS version 20 -software using linear regression analysis. The qualitative data was collected by conducting semi-structured interviews to all five case company's customer service agents working in Finland. Coding and thematic analysis were used to analyze the data set.

The main finding of the survey data analysis was the clear correlation between the customer's appreciation for service dimension in the chat function and customer's willingness to shop in the company's web store. Several ways to utilize influence strategies in the chat function are also introduced in the findings of this study.

Possible avenues for future research include the effects of implementing sales approach to customer service, for example in terms of profitability, customer satisfaction and loyalty. The ethical approach to this issue could also be a fruitful and relevant addition to the discussion, as the rules of online activity keep evolving along with the technology.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.