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Type: Thesis
Title: Determinants of Customer Intentions to Use Self-Service Technology-Based Options for Recoveries
Author: Le, Thuc Nghi
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: Service firms continually seek innovative ways to meet customer needs while improving efficiencies. Self-service technologies (SSTs) (i.e., ATM, self-service checkouts in supermarkets, and self-check-in at airports) have offered solutions that enable such benefits. Unfortunately, while SSTs can provide tremendous benefits for services, they also inevitably fail. SST failures present a unique challenge to service firms because problems generally happen without the presence of service personnel. To counter this problem, a different form of recovery has emerged – SST-based recovery, which refers to SST-facilitated recovery in which customers fix the SST failure by themselves, using a self-service technological interface (e.g., help-guide, virtual onscreen assistant, autonomous robot, chatbot). SST-based recovery is a highly suitable recovery solution for the SST context where service personnel availability is often limited. SST-based recovery also introduces a very different kind of service experience to the traditional employee-led recovery (i.e., increased customer responsibility, highly technological-based, low employee presence), therefore it is difficult to apply the knowledge from the existing service recovery literature in traditional contexts to the SST-based recovery context. This form of recovery has also received limited attention from marketing scholars despite the growing importance of it to service managers. Thus, more research with a specific focus on SST-based recovery is required to provide a better understanding of this form of recovery. Centred on SST-based recovery, this thesis contributes to the current literature by improving the understanding of customer response to SST-based recovery. It provides a framework for the way in which customers’ perception of the SST-based recovery shapes their intentions towards the recovery option. The thesis consists of three self-contained, but interrelated, papers. In paper 1, a conceptual framework is presented, which extends the stress and coping theory to delineate the process of customer cognitive appraisal and its role in shaping customer intention towards using SST-based recovery. Specifically, the framework proposes failure appraisal and recovery appraisal as two components of the customer cognitive appraisal process. The framework also puts a specific focus on customer emotions, which are posited to result from failure appraisal and directly influence intentions towards SST-based recovery. Finally, relevant individual characteristics that influence customer failure and recovery appraisals are also identified and discussed. Managerial implication and an agenda for future research are provided in the paper. Building on the conceptual development in paper 1, paper 2 takes a narrower focus and empirically tests a model of customer intentions to use SST-based recovery, as a result of the customer’s perceived control and risk. Drawing on control theory, perceived control is proposed to be a key factor in customers’ decision towards using SST-based recovery. The central proposition is that customers who perceive a heightened level of control towards the SST-based recovery believe that they can exert power over the process and outcome of SST-based recovery, and will show a greater intention towards the recovery option. Furthermore, when customers believe that they have control over the SST-based recovery, this reduces perceived risk, which, in turn, increases intentions to use the SST-based recovery process. Results from an online panel database provides support for the research model. The theoretical and managerial implications of this study are discussed. Consistent with paper 2, paper 3 further explores the role of perceived control as a key factor in a customer’s decision to use SST-based recovery. The findings from paper 2 are expanded on through an investigation of the dual impact of personal control, a state of being, and the contextual circumstance of perceived control of the SST recovery process. Drawing on learned helplessness theory, the study’s proposition is that customers who have a low degree of personal control will exhibit a low perception of control towards SST-based recovery; the opposite is true for individuals with a high degree of personal control. In turn, the customer’s perception of control over SST-based recovery will have a positive impact on efficiency and positive anticipated emotions associated with SST-based recovery, both of which ultimately drive customer intention towards the recovery option. The empirical results support the research model. By investigating both the antecedent and the impact of perceived control of SST-based recovery, this paper enriches understanding of this essential concept in the SST recovery context. Additionally, the identification of personal control as an important predictor of customer perception of control towards SST-based recovery provides the first step in the application of individual difference variables that can aid SST managers in managing customer perception in the SST recovery domain. The collected data were analysed through SPSS, PROCESS, and SmartPLS. The empirical results provided by paper 2 and 3 indicate that perceived control, risk, efficiency and positive emotions have a direct impact on customer intentions towards using SST-based recovery. Perceived risk, efficiency, and positive emotions demonstrate mediating effects on the relationship between perceived control and intentions towards using SST-based recovery. Additionally, personal control exhibits a positive effect on perceived control. Overall, the conceptual framework (paper 1) together with the empirical results (paper 2 and 3) unravel the processes by which SST customers come to their recovery decisions. The research sheds light on the set of variables that shape customer intentions to use SST-based recovery following SST failures and, in particular, the importance of a customer’s perceived control of the SST-based recovery process. The current thesis highlights the need for a customer-focused perspective in explaining customer decision-making on using SST-based recovery. Service firms can utilise the research findings to improve their recovery strategies and derive successful tactics for encouraging customer use of SST-based recovery.
Advisor: Hill, Sally Rao
Troshani, Indrit
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2020
Keywords: service failures
service recoveries
sense of control
perceived risk
anticipated positive emotions
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