Technology And The Customer Role Essay

1975 words - 8 pages

BSAD 431" Technology and the customer role"IntroductionIn Canada, the service industry contributes significantly to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates employment. Services are unique due to the quality of inseparability in production and delivery taking place simultaneously. More importantly, it is during this stage that the customer participates in the service process by contributing effort or information, making the customer an important part of the process. In recent years, service providers faced with high labour costs have considered alternative methods of service delivery. These alternative methods usually require the customer to participate in the service process more. Also, ...view middle of the document...

In opposition Bateson argued that customers participate in the service process merely to feel "in control" of activities (Bateson, 1985). "Customer participation is central to services marketing due to its proven positive relationship with the evaluation of perceived service quality and willingness to stay with the service provider" (Cermak, 1994). Perceived service quality is the outcome of an evaluation process where consumers compare their expectations with the service they perceived they have received."Service encounters are now conceptualized as the dynamic relationship between employees, customers, and technology" (Bitner, 2000). Accordingly customer encounters can now be classified according to their technology based delivery mode (Dabholkar, 1994). The growing implementation of technology in services may be advantageous to both the provider and the recipient. Increased opportunities for flexibility, customization, recovery, and spontaneous customer delight have been identified as the main drivers of customer satisfaction influenced by the new technologies (Bitner, 2000). Other advantages are the possibilities to develop new innovative service strategies, higher consistency in the delivery of standardized services, lower costs, and an increase in customer choice (Heim and Sinha, 2000). In addition to outcome related factors, customer evaluations of technology based services may also depend on the customer's role in the service delivery process (Dabholkar, 2000). In case of a traditional after sales service, a service employee might visit the customer for example for servicing or repairing an appliance. The customer's role in this situation remains fairly passive, customer participation will be low and service quality performance will be the main determinant of customer satisfaction. With the development of technology, however, customers become more involved in the service delivery process. Services are now often initiated and delivered by customers themselves, without direct or indirect contact with a service representative (Barnes, 2000). In banking food, traveling, brokerage and many other godds and service industries successful self-service business models have already been developed. One of the consequences of increased customer participation may be that satisfaction is increasingly based on the customer's attitude towards the technology employed. Barnes questions the receptivity of consumers to new technologies in his research (Barnes, 2000). Dabholkar has been able to successfully demonstrate that SST's due influence overall service evaluations (Dabholkar, 2000).Banking Industry (SST )Human interaction (between client and provider) is a special feature ofservices marketing that is being challenged due to self-service technology,especially in the banking industry. Banks face the increasing challenge of restructuring and fine tuning their retail delivery systems to facilitate self-service. Chief components of restructuring include...

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