Adopting self-service technology to do more with less
Hilton, T., Hughes, T., Little, Ed and Marandi, E. (2013) Adopting self-service technology to do more with less. Journal of Services Marketing, 27 (1). pp. 3-12. ISSN 0887-6045
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/08876041311296338
Purpose Service employees, have traditionally been associated with the evaluation of service experiences. Yet self-service technology replaces the customer-service employee experience with a customer-technology experience. We use a service-dominant logic lens to gain fresh insight into the consumer experience of self-service technology. In particular, we consider the resources that are integrated when consumers use self-service technologies, their co-production role and what might constitute co-created value. Design We present findings from twenty-four semi-structured interviews following a critical realist approach. Both genders and all socio-economic categories within all adult age groups from18-65+ were included. Findings There is a danger that organizations view SST as an economic and efficient mechanism to ‘co-create’ value with consumers when they are merely shifting responsibility for service production to their customers. We identify risks when customers become partial employees. We conclude that customers should perceive the value they gain from using SST to be at least commensurate with their co-production role. Research limitations The study was confined to the consumer perspective. Future research within organizations and among employees who support consumers using self-service technology would be a useful extension, as would research within the b2b context. Practical implications The application of service-dominant logic highlights potential risks and managerial challenges as self-service, and consequent value co-creation, relies upon 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 We draw attention to managerial challenges for organizations adopting SST. Additionally, we highlight the importance of distinguishing between co-production and co-creation.