Calls for papers


International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management
International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management


Special Issue on: “Quality in Multi-Channel Services Employing Virtual Channels”

Guest Editor: Dr. Rui Sousa, Catholic University of Portugal (Porto), Portugal

In recent years, we have witnessed a strong growth of services provided through multiple channels. This growth is closely linked to the proliferation of virtual channels of service delivery, such as the Internet, phone, ATMs, hotel checkouts, interactive TV, mobile devices, etc., which may coexist with physical channels (e.g., physical facilities). For example, the overall service provided by many banks today includes several service components offered through virtual channels (e.g., the web, phone and mobile phones), in parallel with or as an alternative to physical facilities. A channel of service delivery can be defined as the means of communication through which a service is delivered to (or reaches) the customer. Virtual channels can be defined as means of communication using advanced telecommunications, information, and multimedia technologies. The trend for multi-channel environments is expected to strengthen further as internet use continues to grow and new technologies make available an increasing number of virtual channels of service delivery.

This environment creates new challenges for providing high quality service, at several levels. As an example, service providers need an increased understanding of the quality issues associated with the service components which are delivered through each of the emerging virtual channels. In fact, many of the emergent virtual channels of service delivery, and the internet in particular, eliminate human intervention and provide a large number of capabilities to deliver experience, such as visual aesthetic aspects, interactive features, video, chat, etc. These attributes demand a conceptualisation of service quality departing from existing frameworks. As another example, service providers also need an increased understanding of the issues that arise in integrating the several service components and channels with the ultimate objective of providing customers with a seamless overall service experience.

The purpose of this special issue is to advance research on service quality in multi-channel Service Delivery Systems (SDSs) employing virtual channels.

Subject Coverage
Papers may focus on developing and/or testing theory, understanding practice and identifying future research directions, among other possible emphases. Topics of relevance to this special issue include (but are not limited to):
  • Theoretical frameworks for service quality in multi-channel services employing virtual channels
  • Development of measurement instruments to assess the quality of multi-channel service at two levels: i) components of services provided through individual virtual channels (e.g., how can we define and measure the quality of a service component provided through a web site?; or a mobile device?); ii) quality of an overall service made up of service components provided through a range of channels (e.g., how can we define and measure the quality of the overall service provided through multiple channels?)
  • Design of multi-channel service offers. What is the appropriate combination of the service components and delivery channels in order to maximize overall service quality?
  • To what extent do customers value channel choice in service provision? (i.e., does the increased complexity and cost of operating multiple channels have a market payoff?)
  • Design of multi-channel SDSs. What elements constitute a specification for the design of a multi-channel SDS? What methodologies can be used for designing high quality multi-channel SDSs?
  • Integration issues arising in multi-channel SDSs. How can service providers integrate service components, channels, organisational processes and technologies, in order to provide high quality seamless multi-channel service?
  • Control of multi-channel SDSs. How can multi-channel services be adequately monitored and controlled? How can we ensure consistency of service across different channels?
  • Fulfillment for (information-based) service components provided through virtual channels. How is fulfillment different from traditional services?
  • Provision of effective customer support and service recovery
  • Exploratory or theory-building case studies

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Due date for full-paper submissions: 1 December, 2006

Outcomes of initial screening are returned to authors whose papers are rejected for further reviews. First-round reviews begin for the remaining papers and may last for 6-8 weeks: 15 December, 2006

Outcomes of 1st-round formal reviews are sent to authors of all papers. Papers required revisions are given 4 weeks turnaround time: 15 February, 2007

Due date for resubmission of papers required revisions. Second-round reviews begin and may last for 4-6 weeks: 15 March, 2007

Outcomes of 2nd-round formal reviews are sent to authors of resubmitted papers. Papers required minor revisions are given 2 weeks turnaround time: 1 May, 2007

Due date for resubmission of papers required only minor revisions. Third-round reviews begin and may last for 2-4 weeks: 15 May, 2007

Outcomes of 3rd-round formal reviews are sent to authors of resubmitted papers:15 June, 2007

Due date for authors to submit properly-formatted copies for all accepted papers: 1 July, 2007