CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Executive summary of “A study on consumer adoption of technology facilitated services”
Article Type: Executive summary and implications for managers and executives From: Journal of Services Marketing, Volume 28, Issue 6
This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of the article. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the material present.
Even those people who try to resist the steady forward march of technology sometimes find, to their surprise, that they have become part of the movement. People who steer clear of supermarket self-service facilities because they prefer to have their purchases scanned by a “real person” probably fill up with fuel at the gas station, take money out of an ATM or check messages on their cell phone without thinking how accepting they have become of self-service technology (SST).
The advent of technology infusion in service encounters has been seen not only as a means of improving effectiveness of the services offered but also as a means of improving overall efficiency and service quality. With greater innovation in technology, organizations have moved from traditional face-to-face or interpersonal service encounters to non-interpersonal service encounters where consumers can perform the service themselves. These SSTs also include booking of tickets over the Internet, telephone banking and mobile commerce.
There are, however, service encounters which aren’t traditional “human-human” interactions, nor are they merely “human-technology” (i. e. self-service). There are situations in which the customer-to-service provider contact occurs simultaneously as human–human and human–technology interactions. In this type of service, both the customer and the service provider not only have interpersonal interactions but also have simultaneous non-interpersonal interactions with technology – what’s called technology-facilitated services (TFS). Here, although the customer interacts with the service provider directly, technology also has to exist for the service delivery to be completed. Consequently, in TFS both human–human interactions and human–technology interactions have to co-exist. Some examples of commonly used TFS are telemedicine, business correspondent banking and e-governance service tele-centers.
Most studies of technology adoption are based on the assumption that the technology entirely replaces the need for interpersonal interactions. However, it can be seen in the case of TFS, in spite of the availability of technology, human interactions may be required. In “A study on consumer adoption of technology facilitated services” Dr Indranil Roy Chowdhury et al. ask:
What factors affect adoption of TFS?
What is the impact of each factor on adoption of TFS?
TFS are unique because they are the only kind of services where human–human and human–technology interactions happen at the same time. In TFS, technology plays a more active role, as in this case both consumer and service provider are co-located and technology acts as an active facilitator in service delivery process. The study found that a significantly strong relationship between attitude toward technology (A-T) and intention to adopt technology-facilitated services (I-TFS) indicates that service delivery organizations must seek to use technologies toward which users have favorable attitude. For example, in the case of business correspondent banking, mobile phones are used and, as users have been exposed to them for quite some time now, they have a favorable A-T. A significant relationship is also exhibited between the attitude toward service provider (A-SP) and I-TFS, indicating that the service provider/frontline employee also plays a very important role in the process of service delivery.
In fact, a stronger impact of A-SP on I-TFS establishes that, in a situation where both human–human and human–technology interactions co-exist, organizations need to appropriately select the service representative. Especially in emerging markets or developing economies, where organizations are providing innovative TFS such as business correspondent banking and tele-medicine, the appointment of the human element is more than or equally important, as the technology element and may have a significant influence on service adoption.
Organizations must consider designing these services in a way such that both service provider/front-line employee and technology work seamlessly in conjunction with each other and are not viewed separately. A survey of senior executives across the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit in the fields of financial services, healthcare and education suggests that when employees are unable to master new applications or systems, it can have grave consequences not only for organizations but also for customers. Customer service employees exhibit two types of characteristics: relationship-building and task-oriented.
While relationship-building characteristics such as courtesy, professionalism and attentiveness are important during traditional face-to-face service encounters, task-oriented characteristics are more prominent in technology-based service delivery. However, because TFS marry the aspects of traditional face-to-face services with technology-based services, it is important for managers to ensure that customer service employees exhibit both relational and task-oriented characteristics. In other words whenever human–human and human–technology interactions co-exist during service delivery, the human-human interactions factor plays an extremely critical role.
To read the full article enter 10.1108/JSM-04-2013-0095 into your search engine.
(A preícis of the article “A study on consumer adoption of technology facilitated services”. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)