Adopting self-service technology to do more with less

Toni Hilton, Tim Hughes, Ed Little, Ebi Marandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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 coproduction 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 þ 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Professional Services Marketing
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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