Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research Agenda

Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                              Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

         Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                      Wan-I Lee, 1Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, 1Chia-Chi Liu, 2Cheng-Wu Chen
             Department of Marketing and Distribution Management, National Kaohsiung First
                     University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung 811, Taiwan, R.O.C,
          2 Corresponding author
                                 Institute of Maritime Information and Technology, National Kaohsiung
              Marine University, Kaohsiung 80543, Taiwan, R.O.C,

        With the popularity of self-service applications increasing, technological advances in the service
     industries have led to the transformation of service delivery, in addition, self-service technologies has
     become a mainstream of service encounters, and widely accepted by self-service customers. A total of
     178 usable SSTs researches were selected, and we propose a chronological review of our synthesis
     work. Importantly, we propose a new path to illustrate self-service technologies research agenda for
     academics and practitioners.

                              Keywords: Self-Service Technologies, Literature Review

     1. Introduction
        Since 1990s, SSTs issues are rapidly growing in two decades, and SSTs research insights and results
     are abundant for academics and practitioners. Curran and Meuter [7] indicated that SSTs are an
     exciting opportunity for many firms and expect to see many SSTs advancement over the next few years,
     and the researcher might provide some insight as to the relative importance of these factors over time.
     Moreover, SSTs findings should integrative review which primarily interested in inferring
     generalizations about substantive issues from a set of studies directly bearing on those issues. However,
     rare comprehensive work has attempted to assess the general findings across SSTs academic studies.
     Furthermore, rare available synthesis work integrates the different types of SSTs researches, and to
     summarize the evidence supporting extant knowledge of SSTs research. Therefore, the objectives of
     this paper are to summarize findings from past and present SSTs research, and to suggest promising
     directions for future research. Based on our research gap, we seek to fill that void by conducting
     synthesis work of finding on SSTs research. Another contribution of this synthesis work is the proposed
     a research agenda, around which the review is organized.

     2. Method and Materials
        The first phase of synthesis review was to determine the research scope and relevant source. Since
     SSTs researches are cross the multi-discipline, such as marketing, information system, education,
     tourism etc., our data source is concentrates on these multi-discipline databases. The article selected
     had to meet several criteria: (1) We searched in all available academic computer databases, such as
     ABI/INFORM, EBHOST business source completely, PscyINFO, Elsevier ScienceDirect, Emerald
     Management Xtra, SpringerLINK, WilsonWeb. Moreover, Google Scholar, and library catalogues
     were consulted; (2) We searched the computer databases using the following key terms: self-service
     technology, self-service, self-service kiosk, SST, TAM, technology-based self service, TBSS, telephone

       The authors would like to thank the National Science Council of the Republic of China, Taiwan, for
     their financial support of this research under Contract Nos. NSC 100-2221-E-022-013-MY2, NSC

Advances in information Sciences and Service Sciences(AISS)
Volume4, Number20, Nov 2012
doi: 10.4156/AISS.vol4.issue20.26
Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                      Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

banking, IVR, online banking, online shopping, Internet shopping, mobile shopping, kiosk, multi-media
kiosk, MMK. An interactive search of the references from relevant articles identified from the keyword
search until no new references could be identified; (3) SSTs researches had been assessed in the
conceptual or empirical study, including the conceptual paper, empirical paper, viewpoint, and case
study. In addition, we are not limit the scope of the SSTs, but the study topic and subject matter must
be addressed on the SSTs setting; (4) The search pattern is addressed on the “Paper first” and
“published” database. Generally speaking, unpublished working paper and conference proceeding is
not first consideration. In total, we identified 178 usable studies that reported one or more antecedents
and outcomes of SSTs research; of these, 2 were unpublished article or conference proceeding.

3. Synthesis review of SSTs research
   Over the past 60 years, more and more researchers proposed the conceptual, empirical, viewpoint,
and case study of SSTs research in the self-service setting (e.g. [3,8,11,14,15,20]). In this study, we
presented a chronological review of the literature that divided into the five stages of progress: (1)
1960-1990, (2) 1991-1995, (3) 1996-2000, (4) 2001-2005, (5) 2006-Current. A brief statement of the
chronological review of SSTs was as follows.

3.1 1960-1990
    Since 1960, essentially, Regan [19] had already been stated that the self-service principle is partially
accepted in the form of the “self-selection” and “simplified selling” program. That principle is laid the
basis for the future direction. Regan’s [19] study also proposed some implications and insights to the
three roles: organization, salesperson, and customer. However, as for the technology was not
modernization in this stage, most researches about the SSTs were used exploratory study to understand
the self-service customers’ behavior. Most representative of the researcher is Bateson [3], who used
exploratory study to understand customers’ behavior when choosing to use such self-service options.
This research was focus on the six types of kiosk, such as pay at the pump and ATMs etc.. Bateson [3]
found that the importance of “perceived time taken” and “perceived control of the situation” as choice
criteria. Both dimensions have a firm theoretical foundation outside the consumer behavior field.
Therefore, the point to observe is that some research techniques are used qualitative research to
exploratory the SSTs from 1960 to 1990. For the companies, how much cost can be saved and how
much efficiency can be increased when the companies use SSTs? For the customers, how much time
can be saved and how fast the technology can complete the task when the customers’ adoption?
Observably, this stage is SSTs exploratory stage, and there are some questions exist in the companies
and customers whether use the SSTs or not. As the technology gradually progress, companies and
customers will be find the answers these doubts.

3.2 1991-1995
   Since 1991, the research stream of SSTs is gradually from description to conceptualization, and the
most researchers discuss the body of SSTs factors and both customers and service providers view. The
most representational is Globerson and Maggard [14] suggested that the conceptual model of SSTs
should establish performance measures, of which long-tern profit is a very common one. There are
three major sectors are proposed: the consumer, the environment, the organization. The potential
market for self-service is dependent upon consumer demand, the organizational ability to offer
self-service activities, and environment factors which affect both the consumer and the server.
   Dabholkar [9] address on technology-based self-service (TBSS), includes “on-site” options such as
touch screen, information kiosk, self-screen, it’s also includes “off-site” options such as telephone or
online banking, online shopping. The original attitudinal model of the TBSS is developed by the theory
of reasoned action [1]. However, this model met with several conceptual challenges. Shimp and Kavas
[23] also explained that cognitive elements regarding the consequences of a behavior may be
qualitatively different and are likely to be organized into different categories; they may have separate
impact on attitude. Thus, Dabholkar [9] has presented modified attitudinal model. Beliefs and
evaluations are grouped into separate expectancy-value components by schema to represent the
multi-dimensionality cognitive component of attitude. Collectively, expectancy-value components may

Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                      Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

be thought of as valence beliefs clusters that hand together in the individual’s mind in categorical
representations [9].

3.3 1996-2000
   The most representational is Dabholkar [10] proposed the alternative model of service quality of
TBSS. Service quality is a critical issue for both consumer and service provider [24]. However, before
the 1996s, no conceptual framework has been developed to study service quality for self-service or
technologies-based self-service in particular. Therefore, Dabholkar [10] proposed attribute-based model
to evaluation of technologies-based self-service options.
   Another effort in this stage is Meuter et al. [18] has presented a clear classification of SSTs, which is
based on the prior research findings, trade process, observation, and their work company. In the
classification matrix, the technology interface includes telephone/ interactive voice response,
online/Internet, kiosk, and TV/CD software, and the other axis is user purpose that is includes customer
service, transaction, and self-help. Simultaneously, Meuter et al. [18] also has utilized a critical incident
technique (CIT) to understand of key determinants of satisfaction and dissatisfaction of SST. In the
satisfaction incidents, the customer feeling satisfaction was driven by the SST’s ability to bail
customers out of a difficult situation or solve the acute problem they were experiencing. In contrast,
technology failure is the largest incident in the dissatisfaction incidents. Technology failure was due to
the machine or technology not working as intended, and there was a breakdown of delivery ay the point
at which the customer interacts with the technology. In addition, Meuter et al. [18] also stated that the
insight and logic path of SSTs customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

3.4 2001-2005
   Similar to researchers who insisted that most SSTs conceptual model or framework are in the early
stage of development and thus require a rigorous validation of their measurement instruments
[6,8,11,16,17]. The robust instruments greatly enhance the value of research, researchers wanted to
confirm that SSTs truly uses an accurate measurement of the user’s acceptance behavior under
different technologies, situations, and tasks.
   Bitner et al. [4] shows in full detail that a theoretical model to which is capture the consumer
decision process involved in trying a new SST for the first time. Consumer readiness is a condition or
state in which a consumer is prepared and likely to use an innovation for the first time [4]. In this
model, consumer readiness is a key factor and its impact on trial which include three important factors:
ability, role clarity and motivation. Bitner et al. [4] concluded that customer adoption of new SSTs
depends on some very important fundamentals and alternative delivery channel is available. Therefore,
in their recent study on SSTs, Bitner et al. [4] has taken some important steps in model validity
direction. Meuter et al. [16] also suggests that model establishes a more concise set of construct s as
better predictors of trial.
   At the same period, Curran and Meuter [6] discussed the three technologies of self-service adoption.
In order to explore a deeper understanding of the process by which consumers decide whether to use a
service provider’s SST, model has four antecedents beliefs (ease of use, usefulness, need for interaction,
risk) as predictors of attitude toward an SST. The empirical results of the three self-service
technologies (ATM, bank by phone, online banking) shows that inconsistent results in the three model.
ATM model shows that only ease of use and usefulness significant to attitude; bank by phone model
shows that only usefulness significant to attitude; online banking model shows that only risk significant
to attitude. Therefore, the conclusion indicated that differences among self-service technologies that
must be carefully considered by those firms intending to important SSTs as part of their customer
contact strategies [6].

3.5 2006-Current
   In the past, rare researches explored the variables of perceived value, satisfaction, loyalty,
continuance intention or etc to discuss the SSTs context. Recently years, some researches are addressed
on these variables progressively in service encounters. It’s representatively that the issue of perceived
value is take account of SSTs [15,27]. What dose they pay and what dose they get in SSTs operation

Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                      Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

process is very important for marketing strategies of companies.
    Currently, more and more variables adds in the model extend to which is critical issue in the
self-service context (e.g. perceived value, satisfaction). For example, Shamdasani et al. [22] proposed a
conceptual model which combination the antecedents by Dabholkar [10] and consequences by Cronin
et al., [5]. Cronin et al., [5] supported that the positive relationship among the service quality, perceived
value, satisfaction and behavior intention. Moreover, perceived value and satisfaction plays an
important mediator role in this mode (e.g. [15,27]).
    In Shamdasani et al.’s [22] model, the empirical result shows that all relationship of variables is
supported and consistent with prior literature, only ease of use has not significant relationship to
service quality. A possible reason could be due to the bias of sample characteristics in the study.
Moreover, unlike Dabholkar’s [10] findings, reliability is significant antecedent of service quality
which is due to the degree of the involvement and reliability is an important consideration [28].
    Curran and Meuter [6] concluded that differences among SSTs that must be carefully considered by
those firms intending to important SSTs as part of their customer contact strategies. Salomann et al. [21]
also indicated that current self-service theory is heterogeneous. Moreover, Meuter et al.’s [16] study
shows that they only focus on consumer evaluation of SSTs, but others studies (e.g. [6,9,10,11]) only
focus on the basis of technology acceptance model of SSTs. Shamdasani et al. [22] also focus on
combination the basis of technology acceptance model and service evaluation constructs like service
quality, perceived value, satisfy to discuss SSTs issue, but not discuss consumer evaluation process.

4. Research agenda
   SSTs research insights and results are abundant for academics and practitioners from past to present.
Based on our review and synthesis, we want to emphasis an agenda which we believe are important for
conducting SSTs research in future. Based on our synthesis work, we propose the SSTs evolution of
past, present and future in Figure 1. In past, SSTs was highlight on the customer interaction with
machine or system to complete task. In early phase, the maturity of SSTs market was relatively low,
and most of researches were focused on the questions of what was the key impact factor in the
customers’ adoption or what were the major factors toward customer intention to use and actual use.
Furthermore, this phase of the study also focused on different types of SSTs and industry, and
compared these results to get more precise insights. Model specification in this phase was often used
TAM model [12], TBSS attitude model [10] and extend or revised TAM model.
   With the rapid growth of SSTs market, the concept of self-service evolved gradually transferred to
the “self-service 2.0” from the past to present. The term of “Self-service 2.0” is derived from Arussy
[2], and it implied that not only give the customers control over managing such functions, but also
customizing and even controlling SSTs. In this phase, most of researches were focused on the questions
of what were the key impact factors in the customers’ satisfaction and toward customer continuance
intention. Furthermore, this phase of the study also focused on the issue of SSTs failure and recovery,
because the SSTs failure is more serious than the physical vendor. Thus, the effective recovery from the
SSTs failure is vital in order to secure customer satisfaction. Model specification in this phase was
often used extended SSTs model, which was tried to achieve the best explanation for the phenomenon
of SSTs. Perceived usefulness, enjoyment, perceived value and service quality are the most important
factors in present.
   From the present to future, the SSTs market has been maturity and we called this phase as
“self-service 3.0”. Based on our synthesis work synthesis work, we want to emphasis three aspects
which we believe are important for conducting self-service 3.0. One critical theme is that we suggest
the core practice purpose in self-service 3.0 is toward the direction of co-creation. General speaking,
encouraging customers to be “value co-creators” is considered the next frontier in competitive
effectiveness and reflects a major domain shift from goods-centered to service-centered logic in
marketing [25]. This emphasizes the shifts from value-added to value co-creation, products to
experiences, value delivery to value propositions, and exchange of operand resources to operant
resources [25]. Therefore, customer co-creation of value benefits during using the SSTs customers as
well as firms. For example, the application (APP) in smart mobile phone is most popular all over the
world, and some software companies or individual workers of the continuing development of new
APPs. Customers need to complete their task use APP software via mobile phone service, relatively,
service providers require the customers to participate in some other services to achieve the co-creating

Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                           Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

value, such as the way customers can use “check in” for service providers to perform location-based
marketing or click “like” on Facebook of service provider to increase the value of red-hot and
word-of-mouth. Therefore, the co-creation is occurred that the customers get the benefits of complete
their task at anytime and anywhere, then, the companies get the benefits of offer greater service value
and located-based marketing. The perspective of co-creation is to focus the direction of future SSTs
research. Figure 1 show the white box is indicates a practice purpose where no previous research was
found. This box also is to stress the future direction toward the self-service 3.0.
   Second, in this phase, SSTs researchers need to focus on the questions of what are the key impact
factors in intention toward future co-creation. Dong et al. [13] pointed that the key impact factors of
customer participation, ability, role clarity, perceived value and satisfaction were influenced the
intention toward future co-creation in SSTs research. In addition, the white box is indicates a research
purpose where no or rare previous research was found. We hope that researchers will open new paths of
research addressing the other purposes related to SSTs.
   Finally, we consider that the unified view of SSTs model is important direction in self-service 3.0.
As Venkatesh et al.’s [26] research, they proposed the unified model of user acceptance of information
technology, but this model did not used widely by researchers. Thus, we hope that researchers will
toward the unified model and get more insights in this phase. Furthermore, based on our synthesis work,
perceived value is played a critical role in self-service 3.0. Therefore, established part of the perceived
value is an urgent issue. The white box is indicates a model specification where no or rare previous
research was found. We hope and believe that more theory-based empirical study is needed to enhance
the current understanding and to explore the new paths of the self-service 3.0.

5. Conclusion
   This study proposes a research agenda that uses a synthesis review to discover SSTs trend in
academics and practitioners. We undertake more and more empirical studies using a prototype built
upon this agenda to verify its feasibility. This knowledge is valuable in fostering informed decision
making for effective SSTs applications and understanding the SSTs customers. In addition, we hope
and believe that sustained and in-depth study is needed to enhance the current understanding and
development of a mature self-service 3.0.

 Past                                          Present                                Future
              Self-service                           Self-service 2.0                      Self-service 3.0

 Market maturity: Low                          Market maturity: Rapid growth          Market maturity: High

 Core practice purpose:                        Core practice purpose:                 Core practice purpose:
       Customer service                             Managing functional                   Co-creation
       Transaction                                  Customization
                                                     Controlling SSTs                
       Self-help                                                                                        ?
 Core research purpose:
       Intention to use                       Core research purpose:                 Core research purpose:
       Adoption                                     Continuance intention                 Intention toward future
       Actual use                                   Satisfaction                           co-creation
                                                     Loyalty
 Core model specification:                                                                           ?
      TAM model (ease of use,                 Core model specification:
       perceived usefulness, attitude)              Toward extend SSTs model.        Core model specification:
      Extend or revised TAM model.                 Core antecedents (customer            Toward a unified view
      TBSS attitude model (speed of                 service, control, service             perceived value
       delivery, reliability, ease of use,           quality, perceived value,
       enjoyment, control)                           trust, perceived usefulness,
                                                     enjoyment)                                     ?

                             Figure 1. The SSTs evolution of past, present and future

Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                      Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

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Self-Service Technologies: A review of Extant Knowledge and Research
                     Agenda Wan-I Lee, Yen-Ting Helena Chiu, Chia-Chi Liu, Cheng-Wu Chen

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