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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 56, Issue 11, November 2003, Pages 899–906
The explosion of new technologies is revolutionizing the retail environment. Yet, not all consumers choose to use the new technologies nor do all consumers see these changes as improvements. In this research, we explore usage patterns and benefits of using self-service technologies (SSTs) based on a sample of 823 consumers. We also assess the influence of individual characteristics, specifically technology anxiety (TA) and particular demographics, on SST usage patterns and satisfaction levels. The findings indicate that respondents with higher levels of TA use fewer SSTs and that TA is a better, more consistent predictor of SST usage than are demographic variables. In addition, TA was found to influence overall levels of satisfaction, intentions to use the SST again and the likelihood of participating in positive word-of-mouth for those consumers who had an initially satisfying experience.
The growth of new technologies is revolutionizing the retail landscape with firms using technology both internally and externally to improve operations, increase efficiencies and provide functional benefits for customers. “There is hardly an industry that is not undergoing an upheaval in how it deals with customers” (Hof, 1999, p. 86). This discontinuity is especially evident in how service firms, including retailers, relate to their customers Lovelock, 1995 and Parasuraman, 2000. Many service providers and retailers have begun to use a wide range of technologies, including the Internet, to allow customers to produce and consume services electronically without direct contact from firm employees. These technological interfaces have been called self-service technologies (SSTs) (Meuter et al., 2000). Examples of SSTs include applications such as automated phone systems, ATMs and transactions via the Internet such as Federal Express' package tracking and Internet shopping. The wide range of SST alternatives available to retailers illustrates that not only is the Internet revolutionizing retailing, but there are also numerous other technological applications such as in-store kiosks and interactive phone systems that can be utilized by retailers to compete in the E-Retailing marketplace. Despite increasing availability, very little is known about factors influencing customer usage of these SSTs options. With most SST options, customers choose between an interpersonal and a technologically based encounter (i.e., deposit money through an ATM vs. with a teller inside the bank or shopping on-line vs. visiting a physical retail store). Because a choice is available, customers will not use a SST option unless they perceive an advantage for using it and feel comfortable with the technology. For example, consider a quote from our preliminary qualitative research on consumer SST usage: I'm very hesitant of those machines, I haven't gotten comfortable with the ATM. I just have a little hesitation using them. They (the bank) actually encourage it but I keep saying no. I just always, for some reason, I always have the comfort of going to a teller and seeing my check or money actually going into someone's hand. I'm getting better about it, I just have this fear. (26-year old single male) Even when customers can see the benefits of using a particular SST, they may avoid it if they are not comfortable with using the technology as in the example above. The main focus of this study is on the role of technology anxiety (TA) influencing both SST usage and the experience of using an SST. To explore these issues, we pose three research questions. With increased understanding of these issues, retailers and service providers will be better equipped to offer SST options to customers and to manage the implementation of electronic commerce applications more effectively. • How frequently are SST options used and why do customers use these alternatives? • Do TA and/or demographic characteristics influence usage of SSTs? • Does TA impact overall satisfaction with SST interactions, attributions, and future behaviors such as word-of-mouth and repeat usage intentions?