Adopting self-service technology to do more with less

Hilton, T., Hughes, T., Little, E. and Marandi, E. 2013. Adopting self-service technology to do more with less. Journal of Services Marketing. 27 (1), pp. 3-12.

TitleAdopting self-service technology to do more with less
AuthorsHilton, T., Hughes, T., Little, E. and Marandi, E.
Abstract

Purpose – Employees have traditionally played a major role in the customer's service experience. Yet self-service technology (SST) replaces the customer-service employee experience with a customer-technology experience. This paper seeks to use a service-dominant logic lens to gain fresh insight into the consumer experience of SST. In particular, it aims to consider the resources that are integrated when consumers use SSTs, their co-production role and what might constitute value.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents findings from 24 semi-structured interviews that focus on the everyday experiences of consumers in using SST. Both genders and all socio-economic categories within all adult age groups from 18 to 65+ were included.

Findings – There is a danger that organizations embrace SST as an economic and efficient mechanism to “co-create” value with consumers when they are merely shifting responsibility for service production. The paper identifies risks when customers become partial employees and concludes that customers should perceive the value they gain from using SST to be at least commensurate with their co-production role.

Research limitations/implications – The qualitative study was confined to the consumer perspective. Future research within organizations and among employees who support consumers using SST would extend understanding, as would research within the business-to-business (B2B) context. Quantitative studies could measure the frequency and extent of the phenomena the authors report and assist with market segmentation strategies.

Practical implications – The application of service-dominant logic highlights potential risks and managerial challenges as self-service, and consequent value co-creation, relies on the operant resources of customers, who lack the tacit knowledge of employees and are less easy to manage. There is also the need to manage a new employee role: “self-service education, support and recovery”.

Originality/value – The paper draws attention to managerial challenges for organizations to ensure that SST adoption enhances and does not destroy value. Additionally, it highlights the importance of distinguishing between co-production and co-creation.

JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Journal citation27 (1), pp. 3-12
ISSN0887-6045
Year2013
PublisherEmerald
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1108/08876041311296338
Publication dates
Published2013

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