The impact of technology-based self-service on consumer satisfaction and commitment

Rowe, Amanda Tracy (2004). The impact of technology-based self-service on consumer satisfaction and commitment PhD Thesis, School of Business, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Rowe, Amanda Tracy
Thesis Title The impact of technology-based self-service on consumer satisfaction and commitment
School, Centre or Institute School of Business
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004-01-16
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Coote, Leonard
McColl-Kennedy, Janet
Drennan, Judy
Total pages 282
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subjects L
350204 Marketing and Market Research
780199 Other
Formatted abstract Technology-based self-service is changing the landscape of services management and marketing. The widespread use of technology-based self-service has the potential to reduce face-to-face interactions between customers and employees. This represents a challenge for marketing scholars and practitioners because much of services research is based on customer-employee interactions. By contrast, little is known about the impact of technology-based self-service on consumer satisfaction and commitment. This thesis addresses this gap. The research question that motivates this thesis is:

To what extent does the use of technology-based self-service add to the consumer's overall satisfaction and commitment to the organisation?

Three studies were designed to address this problem. Study I is a qualitative study consisting of four focus groups and twelve depth interviews. The objectives of this qualitative phase were to gain an initial understanding of the research area. A key finding was consumers' experiences of service-delivery modes and their satisfaction with them varied widely. It was also possible to identify attributes of personal-service and technology-based self-service that consumers considered important. This information became the basis of two subsequent empirical studies that examined the impact of technology-based self-service on consumer satisfaction and commitment. Note that hotels were selected as the research context for this study and the subsequent studies.

Study II was a large-scale quantitative field survey of 350 hotel guests. The survey was distributed to business guests at four participating hotels. The aim of Study II was to determine if technology-based self-service contributes over and above personal-service to overall satisfaction and affective commitment. For this study, the outcome variables were overall satisfaction and affective commitment. The results of the study revealed that personal-service satisfaction was a much stronger predictor of overall satisfaction and affective commitment than technology-based self-service satisfaction in the current setting. As expected, there was a strong positive relationship between overall satisfaction and affective commitment. Additionally, it was found that social competency moderated the relationships in the study. Study II was successful in examining the impact of technology-based self-service satisfaction on consumer satisfaction and affective commitment and the impact of four moderators on these relationships. However, the impact of key service attributes remained unresolved.

Study III was a large-scale field survey of 241 hotel guests. Study III included both leisure guests and business guests at three participating hotels. The objectives of Study III were to identify the key attributes of technology-based self-service and personal-service, and to examine their impact, on overall satisfaction and on a multidimensional measure of commitment. The multidimensional measure captured three dimensions of commitment: affective commitment; temporal commitment; and instrumental commitment. The analysis revealed that personal-service attributes were stronger predictors of overall satisfaction and commitment than self-service attributes in this context. Interestingly, there were also direct paths from the attributes to some of the commitment dimensions. The results also revealed that instrumental commitment was less important to the measurement of the commitment construct than the other two dimensions. Frequency of staff interactions moderated the relationships in the study.

This thesis attempts to make several contributions to the theory and practice of services marketing using both affective and cognitive investigations. It presents a test of the contribution of technology-based self-service in determining consumer satisfaction and commitment in a hotel context. The studies use both transaction-specific measures of satisfaction and measures that capture key service attributes. The impact of the service attributes on a multidimensional measure of consumer commitment is also tested. A main conclusion of this thesis is that although usage of technology-based self-service does add to overall satisfaction and commitment, it is personal-service interactions that largely determines consumer satisfaction and commitment. This finding challenges the emerging view that technology-based self-service is a successful substitute for personal-service across all service contexts.

Keyword Consumers -- Effect of technological innovations on
Consumer satisfaction -- Evaluation
Hospitality industry -- Customer services -- Evaluation
Additional Notes

Variant title: Technology-based self-service and the service encounter


 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:23:18 EST