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Online community refers to a social gathering of people who form a network of long-term public discussions in a virtual space on common interests or experiences. The purpose of this study is to establish the factors that decide service quality of portal online services and to examine the effect of portal service quality on customer satisfaction and intention to switch to another portal. Independent variables include tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy of Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1988;1991) (called PZB hereafter). These variables were selected as determinants of online community service quality and comparatively reviewed. Analysis was done using survey on 198 subjects with prior experience in online community use. As a result, service quality was found to have a significant effect on customer satisfaction and intention of users to switch to another portal. Empathy was the factor with largest influence both on customer satisfaction and intention to switch. Empathy, tangibles and responsiveness were found to influence customer satisfaction, and empathy, assurance and reliability were found to influence intention to switch.
Date of Conference: 8-11 Aug. 2009